News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

April 14, 2014

A side of casual

J. Ford’s undergoes renovations, offers new bar menu

TERRE HAUTE — Care for some waffles with your chicken? If you answered “yes,” then J. Ford’s Black Angus is for you.

Chicken and waffles, an unusual but not unheard-of dish, is just one of five special meals offered on the new bar menu at J. Ford’s, which is reopening today after undergoing significant interior renovations.

The restaurant, long known for its top quality steaks, seafood and other items, closed for two weeks to install a totally new, custom-designed bar, new flooring, new lighting and more. To top it off, the restaurant is now offering a nightly “bar menu” with dinners priced from $11 to $16 each.

The goal was to broaden the restaurant’s appeal from its loyal regulars and those visiting for special occasions to anyone looking for a great dining experience at an affordable price.

“Maybe [the new bar menu] will give new customers a reason to try us,” said Kelly Ford, who runs the restaurant with her husband, Jeff, a certified executive chef.

Each night, folks eating in the bar will have a special item on offer. Tonight’s bar menu fare is flatbread pizza. Chicken and waffles is offered on Wednesday, with Italian beef on Thursday, a special BLT burger on Friday and a fried green tomato BLT on Saturday. The restaurant is closed Sunday and Monday.

“It’s a Yin and Yang of flavor,” Jeff Ford said of chicken and waffles. Those eating in the bar may also order off the regular menu, he noted.

The remodeled bar area, which seats more than 30, has a classic look with a gleaming granite bar top, rich, dark wood floors and high ceilings. The bar area also has its own entrance off Third Street, while the dining room is traditionally entered by a door off Oak Street.

The restaurant’s dining room, which seats more than 60, has also undergone a major transformation. New carpeting, new walls, new lighting, new Indiana walnut table tops and new curtains are just the most obvious improvements, the Fords said.

“We have updated the look,” Jeff said. “Our customers deserve a nice place to hang out.”

The Fords are not the first new owners to make changes at the Black Angus, a business started by the neighboring Travelodge Motel in the 1960s, according to building records obtained by the Fords. But this may be the first time the business has been owned and operated daily by a certified executive chef, one of the highest certifications offered by the American Culinary Federation. Ford is one of just a handful of such chefs in the state.

“If we’re open, we’re here,” Jeff said.

Long-time Terre Haute residents may believe nothing great can be offered here, Jeff said. “We want to kind of fight that,” he said. “We want to provide as much greatness to Terre Haute as we can.”

The Fords pride themselves on offering only the best quality steaks and other items.

“We pride ourselves on quality,” Jeff said.

For a list of menu items and other information about J. Ford’s Black Angus, visit the restaurant’s website at

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or

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