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Rivah Visitor's Guide

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Jessica’s On Main serves up big flavor

Jessica’s On Main

by Audrey Thomasson

Better wear the stretch pants with the elastic waistband if you’re headed to Jessica’s On Main. This restaurant is not for frail and wimpy eaters—portions are hearty and will satisfy the ravenous appetites of even the most manly men.

Just a few steps away from the historic courthouse circle on Main Street, the building glows with charm. Lights on the facade invite diners to stop in—whether in the pre-dawn or evening hours. Yes, it’s open that long.

The interior, with its high ceilings and walls clad in dark woods, is softened by station lights that wash over booths and hang suspended over the bar, making the place stylish, cozy and unpretentious.

Jessica’s began life in 2002 as Jessica’s Sweet Shop, a popular bakery across the street, which the proprietor named after her daughter. Ten years later, owner Melissa Jane Hartman opened the restaurant and soon after combined the two into Jessica’s on Main.

Fresh baked
The real draw, of course, is the baked goods, so it’s only fitting to start on a sweet note.

The place opens at 6:30 a.m. weekdays, giving early birds a chance to enjoy fresh baked sweets with coffee or espresso before facing the day. There’s also a variety of scones, muffins, cinnamon rolls and breakfast combos such as eggs Benedict, French toast (four slices) and pancake platters.

Jessica’s fresh baked breads include dinner rolls and sandwich buns.

House-made breads complement sandwiches, like the popular crab cake.

Desserts, also house-made on the premises, include a decadent chocolate bread pudding…with large, lightly spiced bread chunks oozing with thick, sweet chocolate and white syrups and topped with whipped cream. Pie lovers will be happy to see this pastry on the menu. The Key-lime pie is mild-flavored and served sandwiched between mounds of whipped cream. Desserts change daily, but you’ll always find a cheesecake, like seasonal pumpkin, and an unexpected treat such as deep fried Oreo cookies.

Lunch and dinner
There’s nothing delicate or skimpy about many of the menu items. Whether you’re in the mood for a sandwich or entreé, Jessica’s On Main serves up big-flavored, stick-to-your-ribs meals that nearly spill over the plates.

Mid-day or evening, fill up on a doorstop of grilled crabcake sandwich or salmon burger. Choose from a variety of half-pound Angus hamburgers, Carolina pulled pork and grilled reuben. Don’t overlook staples such as toasted panini, turkey and swiss and egg salad.

If You Go
6553 Main St
Gloucester, VA 23061
(804) 693-2020

Mon-Thu 6:30 am - 9 pm
Fri 6:30 am - 10 pm
Sat 11 am - 10 pm
Sun 9 am - 3 pm

Parking: Street

On the Menu
Breakfast, lunch and dinner—from cinnamon rolls and espresso to prime rib and a full bar. Featuring fresh house-made breads, pastries and desserts.

Did you know?
Jessica’s began life in 2002 as Jessica’s Sweet Shop, a popular bakery.

A light menu includes quiche and vegetable pizza.

Nachos with beef or chicken or a very rich crab cheese dip are large portion appetizers that are sure to spoil your appetite.

Entreés include a creative variation to the usually staid shrimp and grits. The chef fills a large bowl with grits which is then smothered with a buttery-rich cheddar and Parmesan cheese sauce tossed with jumbo shrimp, thick slices of Andouille sausage and strips of red bell peppers. A dinner salad is included.

Other seafood offerings include clams and linguini, salmon served lemon-peppered or blackened, a large seafood platter and meaty crab cakes.

A friend said her husband can’t pass up the grilled rib-eye steak. Other meat dishes are tender prime-rib slices, grilled pork tenderloin, chicken Cordon Bleu and a 10-ounce slice of prime rib on weekends.

While the place boasts a full, sit-down bar, we perused—what else—a variety of beers on tap before settling on Dogfish. This brew has a hint of orange and was richer than Blue Moon, not as heavy as ale, but strong enough to hold its own.

Jessica’s On Main is a quaint eatery in a perfect location for those who love the historic district. There’s easy parking on the street in the evenings, and we found the staff helpful and attentive.

Check online for daily specials and weekend entertainment.

posted 10.03.2013

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