Jackson 20 (or J20 if you're a regular) lives on the internet HERE and the postman delivers their mail to 480 King Street, Alexandria , VA 22314. Yes, I know... it's in Alexandria. It's worth the trip, trust me. And the last time I checked, all roads leading into Alexandria have return lanes, so you're not stuck in 1998 forever.
This is going to be a rather short and sweet review. I enjoyed the place. I enjoyed the food. I enjoyed the simplicity and therefore shall honor that simplicity with something simplistic of my own.
Jackson 20 is adjacent to, or part of the, the lobby of the Hotel Monaco in Alexandria. This makes for a very international crowd. French men in capri pants are to be seen any time of year... if you're into that.
Like every other place not named "McDonald's," Jackson 20 prides itself on "locally sourced" food. Good for them. I really don't give a damn if it came from a farm down the street or one in Ixtapa, Mexico - as long as it's good. However, if the promise of local food makes a place high in your list, count J20 in.
The atmosphere is dark, loud and wooden. There's something middle ages about the place that I can't quite put my finger on. Maybe it was the leather and metal menus that were probably some of the coolest I've seen in a while. I thought about taking one for my collection, but felt it was actually valuable and didn't want to be met a the door by a cop wanting to know why I steal menus.
My wife found the walk from the front door to the table rather informative. She shopped every table she went by noting what looked good and her list was rather long. She wanted the pork sliders (a trio of BBQ, fresh bacon and pig head on sweet potato biscuits), the shrimp fritters (no longer on the menu for some reason), the ribs and the fried chicken. Not being one to tell my wife "no," I told our guests what they'd be having for appetizers and dinner. They ended up very happy.
I had the the Virginia Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese with Bacon and Country Ham (don't get the city ham, it's pretentious and prissy). It was a salty, saucy satisfying mac & cheese dish in a culinary era where the dish is done wrong more often than right. It had a perfectly plate-like bread crust on top that proved the to be the perfect partner to the creamy center (alliteration is annoying, sorry). Damn good. Even better the next day (big portions).
We also ordered the Pork Chop and were very impressed with the sweet and salty qualities of the perfectly prepared hunk of pork. It's smothered in this bacon and sugar infused molasses that was so good it would be worth bottling and selling by itself at the hostess station.
Overall they get an A+ for the food.
The other noteworthy item about J20 is the beer list. It's not the biggest, but it's big. It's split into to parts - "beer" and "big beers." J20 features five beers on tap with four being from Virginia (locally sourced!) and one from somewhere else. They've got 30 hoity toity hipster snob beers in cans in bottles with the most expensive being $8 and the majority being $6. Their "big beers" are actually the large bottled beers you're starting to see gain a little popularity - they run up to $30 per bottle and guaranteed to make you look like an asshole for ordering it.
If I were you, I wouldn't go to Alexandria. However, if you have to go to Alexandria, you need to go to Jackson 20. We went there on a whim - literally found it out of convenience and were very happy with place. We plan on going back to enjoy the lovely bar scene next month when we have friends in town staying at the Monaco because we don't like them enough to let them stay with us. I can not wait to have the sliders again.