By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register — CARLTON — A family’s passion and a menu of comfort foods made with locally-sourced ingredients has created early success for Ho-Jack’s Bar & Grill.
The Oak Orchard Road restaurant opened in October after a quick but thorough remodeling process. Located three miles north of Ridge Road in Carlton, Ho-Jack’s has proven popular with the waves of fishermen, snowmobilers, hunters and other outdoors-minded people.
“It’s been incredible, a lot busier than we thought it would be,” said Dan Conrad, who bought the the restaurant in September. “There’s a lot of history, people have a connection to the place ... most of the locals have either worked here or gone here.”
It’s a family business, with a staff largely made up of Conrads — his wife, son, daughter and daughter-in-law all have an active role in the restaurant, along with “right hand man” Josh Bowman.
“We’ve got a great staff,” beamed Conrad, a former Kodak employee who got a bachelor’s degree in restaurant management after being laid off. “We’re a family committed to serving the community.”
On a visit during a busy Saturday dinner rush, the restaurant was filled with many other families, conversation and the mouth-watering smell of barbecue and chicken wings.
Conrad said many of the popular items on the menu go through a smoker, a unique approach to provide a strong flavor.
“It adds more flavor, moistens and tenderizes (the chicken),” Conrad said. “It’s a whole level of flavor.”
Much of the restaurant’s menu is made fresh from scratch, be it breads or pastas to the hand-pressed hamburgers.
Conrad said he hopes to expand this summer, with more outside catering, receptions and a sub shop in the back. For now, he’s got his hands full with four-seasons of diners.
Ho-Jack’s Bar & Grill, 1750 Oak Orchard Road, is open Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. or later.Contact reporter Jim Krencik at 798-1400, ext. 6327.