Jacks By The Tracks Looks to the Future
An Article by Brenda Germany
Photos by Stephen Anderson & Brenda Germany
Descriptions such as “one of a kind”, “welcoming” and “not-to-be-missed” from visitors and locals alike attest to the well deserved reputation Jack’s By The Tracks in Pascagoula, MS has earned as one of the Gulf Coast’s favorite restaurants and nightspots. And, yes, “Jack’s”, the name of which was inspired by the family’s beloved dog, does indeed reside by the tracks in Pascagoula’s historic district.
Returning from a trip to New Orleans, Mark and D’Juana (D. J.) Garrison were struck by the realization that many local residents often traveled to other cities to find sushi restaurants. That evening, the concept for a “Southern-Sushi-Juke-Joint-Fish-Taqueria-Neighborhood-Pub-Deli” was born and the long sought answer for what would the best use of the shotgun, turn of the century building they had purchased on Krebs Avenue after Hurricane Katrina was found.
Jacks by the Tracks at 709 Krebs Ave. in Pascagoula, MS
Mark took the experience gained from owning and operating a restaurant on Dauphin Street in Mobile, AL and, with D. J., began the project that would become Jack’s By The Tracks. Reclaiming timbers of an 1870’s pier warehouse rescued from the watery depths of the Mississippi River in New Orleans, they laidout and constructed the spacious bar and top including the generous mirrored bartender’s station where innumerable bottles of wine and spirits would sparkle in the front dining room. Early 1900’s church pews brought from Sumrall, MS flanked the entrance beneath original cypress wainscoting. The “little red stage” constructed in the front window alcove would come to host such talented musicians as Sugarcane Jane, Phil Proctor, Stan Foster, Mark Pfaff, Truitt Williams Band, Molly Thomas and the Rare Birds, Blue Mother Tupelo and many others. The walls would later be lined with the artwork of music painter Robby Amonett depicting the numerous musicians and bands who performed there. After training in Memphis under Marisa Baggett (California Sushi Academy), their labor of love, heart and soul opened in October 2011 with a 10 item southern sushi menu.
Mark Garrison opened Jack’s by the Tracks in 2011.
The above prelude to Jack’s existence may be well known to long-time customers and friends but deserves mentioning as illustration of the unique characteristics that have made this gathering place an esteemed location for special celebrations, birthdays, weddings, meeting new and old friends, collaborations and pleasant evenings. One such collaboration occurred in 2012 when photographer, Stephen Anderson and music painter, Robby Amonett invited friend and music journalist, Johnny Cole, to hear a husband and wife duo that featured someone he had seen perform with such artists as Neil Young, Steve Winwood and Dwight Yoakam. From that evening spent listening to Anthony and Savana Lee Crawford as Sugarcane Jane at Jack’s By The Tracks, The Southland Music Line was formed.
In late December 2019, Mark and D.J. celebrated his birthday at Jack’s By The Tracks surrounded by loyal customers; now friends, family, favored musicians and two new faces. Having accomplished their intention of creating a successful restaurant in his hometown and ready for a new chapter, Mark and D. J. passed the ownership of Jack’s to Chris and Izzy Batterman.
Chris Batterman, the new owner of Jack’s by the Tracks (photo by Brenda Germany)
A native of Meridian, MS who grew up in Nebraska, Chris Batterman describes himself as a military brat with the good fortune to have traveled extensively. Also having a background in the restaurant and culinary service like Garrison, Batterman became interested in acquiring Jack’s By The Tracks as a way to apply his experience and continue in that field. Chris appreciates the special connection that Jack’s patrons and friends feel toward the venue and is committed to maintaining its traditions. When asked what he would most like fans of Jack’s to know he replied, “Jack’s is still Jack’s; same wonderful attentive staff, great menu of local fresh ingredients and, of course, outstanding live music.”
During the eight years of its operation, Jack’s By The Tracks has been the genesis of many memorable moments for local patrons, musicians, visitors and The Southland Music Line; our sincere thanks to Mark and D. J. Garrison, Bobby Rayborn and the entire staff. We wish Chris Batterman much success and look forward to many more enjoyable evenings at Jack’s By The Tracks.
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