|Posted by Anne Siren on December 14, 2012 at 2:30 PM|
July 2007, Steve Mark Wilson opened the doors of J. Mark’s Restaurant in a free standing, specifically designed building on the Copans side of Pompano Citi Centre campus and it became an instant hit. The design, the ambiance, the menu and the service captured and kept the attention of the public because, as one of the first customers said, “It has all of the elements that matter to those who want a versatile menu in an upscale setting, served by an attentive wait staff to discriminating diners.”
At the time, Wilson explained that his brother James was an investor, but that he, with a successful career in the food industry, had carefully planned this restaurant with its well designed kitchen that can produce orders for up to 260 guests. The elevated bar and lounge seats about 72 people and the restaurant itself seats about 190 patrons.
“Chef Rico [Rodrigo Copeland] is a gem who has been with us since opening day,” says Wilson. “ He’s talented, open to suggestions and executes our food to perfection.”
Wilson and his partner Ariel Ayala, have since opened a second successful J. Mark’s at 1245 N. Federal Hwy. in Fort Lauderdale and installed Fabian Gomez as general manager and operating partner in the Pompano Beach location. The Pelican sat down with Fabian to talk about what goes on behind the scenes to make J. Mark’s the consistent success it is.
“We have four daily staff meetings, one for each shift, to keep our employees informed and on their toes when it comes to efficiency and service,” Fabian explains. “Our menu is carefully planned to appeal to every taste and budget from a soup and salad combination at $8.99 to certified Angus beef tenderloin at $29.99. What’s great about this is the fact that people can dine together without compromising any taste or diet. We often see families at a table where Dad orders prime rib, Mom orders a chopped oriental salad, and the kids order cheese burgers. J. Mark’s can satisfy the entire group in one restaurant and that is just one of the reason’s for our popularity and success.”’
He goes on to say, “Every item on the menu has been taste tested and compared to the best offered by our competition. If ours isn’t better, it’s not on the menu.”
Some of the best selling appetizers are Bam-Bam Shrimp and Spinach dip with artichokes.
Our prime rib sliders were named “Award Winners” by YoLo, a restaurant critiquing group. The Oriental Chicken Salad is the most popular salad, especially on the mid-day menu. Fabian adds, ”Our prime rib is outstanding; the Hawaiian rib eye steak is to die for; and the Mizo glaze salmon is a winning fish selection.”
Making the most of the “slow period” between lunch and dinner, J. Mark’s features its Mid-Day Menu. During this time slot between two and five p.m., high quality items are offered at big discounts. On this menu are Oriental Chicken Salad, Five Cheese Pasta, ½ Rack of Ribs, 8-Oz. Prime Rib, Walnut Shrimp on a bed of rice and Fish and Chips. “People who want a lighter meal, mid-day are grateful for this option and for the savings,” says Fabian.
Fabian says. “At our staff meetings, we review our commitment to excellence and to providing the best product and service possible. The RAFT taste [recipe, appearance, flavor, texture and temperature], gives servers the chance to taste a seasonal special drink and one food from the kitchen.
The point of doing this is to give servers first hand tastes of what they serve and describe to patrons.”
One server, Olivia Parker says, “RAFT is a terrific idea. It familiarizes the staff with everything on the menu and allows us to give customers an honest, personal opinion.”
J. Mark’s has a loyal following. Jean M. McIntyre, branch manager of iBeriaBank drops in often because she says, “It’s a great place to bring a client for lunch. I personally love the Oriental Chicken Salad. The quality of food and service is always up to expectations.”
“My friends and I manage to dine at J. Mark’s at least twice a month,” says Geri Gunderson. We’ve never been disappointed. One friend always chooses the Prime Rib. Another always orders the salmon salad. I love the cheeseburgers and sweet potato fries. We all appreciate Happy Hour between two and six p.m. when drinks are half price.”
About Fabian Gomez
He laughs and says, “I started in this business as a dish washer at 13 in New York and worked my way up the ladder, getting experience in a McDonalds, and moving up from being a bus boy to a server in a fine French restaurant in Manhattan. I was honored to become the manager of a fine Manhattan Italian restaurant and eventually became a food and beverage director. I moved to Miami as The Manager of Reflections on the Bay. When it went out of business, I opened my own place in Plantation which I had for two years. The hours are terrible for a guy with a family and I have one. I’m married to Luz and we have five children ranging in age from 14 to 27. Three are still at home. I miss the pace of New York but I’m glad I traded it in for the easy life style of this paradise. I wanted to lighten my load and spend time with my family so I sold my business and took a job as a server at J. Mark’s. When my background became known, I was seduced into management once again. I admit, I love it.”
J. Mark’s is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sun. through Thurs.; Fri., Sat. from 11 to 11.
Call 954-782-7000 Pompano Beach or 954-390-0770 Fort Lauderdale for information, reservations, gift cards, and private dining room for parties.