New Jams owner hints at expansion for restaurantBy Sarah Baker Hansen / WorldHerald staff writer | Posted: Friday, September 11, 2015 12:30amIt’s been a year of change for Jams Bar and Grill, and the change just keeps coming: the Omaharestaurant has a new owner, again. Omaha based Cutchall Management has purchased 65 percent of the ownership of Jams, 7814 Dodge St.Greg Cutchall, president and CEO of Cutchall Management, said he plans no menu changes at Jams.In fact, he said it was important to him that chef Jeff Newman, who has been at Jams for 15 years,and manager Chris Wray, who came on at the beginning of 2015, stayed at the restaurant.The two will remain coowners. Aaron McKeever and Marcus Herbert also will remain partners inthe restaurant.Cutchall does plan some interior design changes, including the removal of some of the communaltables in the center of Jams dining room. He said two of the three tall communal tables will each bereplaced with four hightop tables. The change is rooted in the idea that Jams is a popular spot forworking lunches, and some diners don’t like to talk business next to strangers.A few of the finishes in the restaurant might also be swapped out, he said. Any other changes will beon the back end of the restaurant and have to do with computer systems and inventory.Cutchall also said he hasn’t ruled out another location of Jams — in Omaha, or elsewhere.“We have not identified a second location. The second one would likely be in Omaha somewhere,”he said. “But we don’t buy a brand unless we see an opportunity to expand, and there is a chance.”Cutchall said business at Jams is bigger than ever since the debut of its new look and menu at thebeginning of the year. “Since Aaron and his partners bought it a year ago, it is up 20 percent,” Cutchall said. “So it’s doing considerably better.”Cutchall said among the improvements that drummed up new business were the addition of Sundayhours and a brunch menu.Cutchall owns and operates 50 restaurants in five states under eight different brands includingParadise Bakery, Sonic, Dominos, First Watch, Rock Bottom, Famous Daves, Tin Star Taco Bar andLoLo’s Chicken & Waffles.
Cutchall's newest enterprise - Lolo's Chicken and Waffles will be opening 3 new locations in Omaha,NE; Las Vegas, NV and Dallas, TX very soon! Stay tuned for details.
CMC's Famous Dave's and the Twin Peaks Girls will be out at Dillon Brothers Full Throttle Thursdays and Band Battles this summer. Check Facebook for dates and times!
This time last year, the new Burger Star had a rockin' look - framed Rolling Stone covers, music videos, guitars mounted high, and a zip line that whipped orders to the kitchen. But it didn't have the licks.In a review last May, I suggested that the then-three-month-old restaurant, an independent concept from a chain restaurant veteran, needed to work on its headliners: the burgers and fries.After three recent visits, all I can say is someone must have been practicing. A lot.Burgers were craveably good, fries were fresh and sides were flavorful. Order takers and food runners were more engaged. And Burger Star appeared to have found its groove. Improvement was most noticeable in the burgers.Owner Greg Cutchall said he scrapped the 4-ounce machine-pattied ground chuck he'd started with, substituting 6-ounce hand-pattied 80 percent lean ground Angus. The cooked-when-you-order result is a flavorful, juicy, lacy-edged burger that seeps its goodness into a toasted bun.The fresh kaiser buns, though, defected. They had been my favorite part of the old burger. Cutchall said Burger Star's demand was an undue strain on Paradise Bakery, its sister restaurant and bun supplier. He's switched to Rotella's buns, and he said he is still tweaking that recipe. The new bun isn't a standout, but perhaps that's because a better burger rightfully upstages it. The fries, too, have come a long way.Cutchall said he replaced the old Joey's Seafood fryers (left in the building when he leased the space) with auto-draining, programmable, computerized fryers that take out some of the guesswork and potential for human error. And he has tweaked everything from the soaking and blanching time to the type of potato and the size of the cut to get a more consistent, fresh french fry.Other menu changes were few: Burger Star has dropped the triple burger (a double now contains the same amount of meat) and swapped in a grilled chicken sandwich. It also has added onion rings with crisp A&W-style crystalline coats and put pepperjack cheese on its list of five burger toppings you can have for a small extra charge and 18 you can have for free.We appreciated the free Guitar Hero game Cutchall added to one side of the central fireplace. It seemed to minimize the wait for old and young alike - and occupy a fair number of otherwise rambunctious kids while their parents ate. One other thing that's really noticeable: Each table now sports comment cards that invite feedback and signal that every order matters. I saw a lot of people filling them out. And I think they improved service. When I ordered a shake with a meal, I was thoughtfully offered a glass of water at the counter - before I could sit down and realize I wanted one. Order-runners seemed to connect a little more, matching the name on the ticket to the face at the table. And, on two of three visits, they came back to see if we needed anything and to clear away our burger baskets.Quibbles this time were few: Though the music was mostly cool, the rock concert DVDs sometimes get tiresome. Even if you love the Red Hot Chili Peppers, a live drum solo is torturous to hear at dinner.And it's hard to notice new options on the wipe board when you're filling out a ticket that doesn't list them. (I might have tried a veggie burger they were piloting, for example, or guacamole as an additional topping option, if I'd spotted them before I'd gone to the counter to pay.) You still have to write your own order and get your own beverage. You still have to wait a few minutes - or even a few songs - to get your meal. And you'll pay a tick more for the new, bigger burger - about $8 to $12 with a side and a drink. But the burger and fries now seem worth your modest investment.And that truly rocks.Burger Star/Big Cheese/Big Burrito Company/Famous Dave's Express21351 Nebraska Crossing Drive, Suite A101Gretna, 68028Mon - Sat: 11:00 am - 9:00 pmSun: 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
As a boy working in his father’s south Omaha A&W Drive-in, Greg Cutchall couldn't imagine anything else besides being a restaurateur. his dad, Ray Cutchall, and uncle Bob Cutchall, owned several A&Ws and Kentucky Fried Chickens.Helping out at his father’s A&W in the summers became a rite of summer for young Greg, who lived the rest of the year in Tucson, Ariz., with his mother and siblings. His folks divorced when he was small. He recalls working trash cleanup and dishwashing details at the restaurant. He wanted to be just like his dad when he grew up and run his own fast-food joint. By his late teens, though, he found a new passion in photography. He enrolled at the University of Nebraska at Omaha fully intent on staying one year and then furthering his photo training in California. But his studies took a back seat to earning money from the portraits he shot and from an Indian jewelry shop he and a brother opened at the Westroads Mall.Read More Here