Hometown Eats: Jack’s Quick Snack

Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 5:21 PM EDT
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GRETNA, Va. (WDBJ) - Believe it or not, there’s a little place in Gretna that has a few things in common with Disney. It’s generational, full of memories, and has a cast of unforgettable characters.

“Jack’s Quick Snack and Walt Disney, celebrating 50 years. We a little up on Disney though,” joked Jack’s Quick Snack owner Jeff Shelton.

Like that guy in Florida, Jack’s Quick Snack in Gretna began as a dream for Jack Shelton in the early 1970s.

“He would tell all his customers that one day he was going to build a restaurant,” said Shelton.

Jack’s son Jeff, who owns and runs the business today, remembers like it was yesterday.

“I guess it must have been in 1971, ‘72, but I went to school and when I got home that afternoon the bulldozer was clearing off the land. I said ‘wow! we’re going to build a restaurant!’” Shelton exclaimed.

And just like that, a quick snack kingdom was born.

“I remember him telling me, if you have a restaurant and you put it on top of a tree, if you have good food, people climb up there and get it. He was right,” said Shelton.

Jeff came back after his dad had some health problems. To continue the family tradition at this joint, he even has help from his daughter Jessa on snow days.

“I come in every morning at 7 o’clock to make chili and I get about 200 hot dogs cooking in this pot,” said Shelton.

Not just any hot dog, a Jesse Jones hot dog.

“Everybody knows, the only thing better than a Jesse Jones hot dog, is another Jesse Jones hot dog,” joked Shelton.

And the burger meat comes fresh from the butcher shop, right across the street, every single morning.

On average, about 200 burgers and dogs go out the walk-up window at Jacks, keeping Jeff’s nephew Casey a busy man on the flat top grill, leaving customers craving more.

“At least three times a week, easy,” said regular customer Charles.

The secret? It’s real simple.

“Cause we put it right there. We believe in it. We like to eat good, and we know good,” said Shelton.

And they believe it. Just ask them what they recommend.

“The cheeseburger, man,” said Shelton.

“Cheeseburger. Hands down the best around,” Charles said.

Don’t forget to grab a soft serve cone to wash it all down. Just mind the brain freeze.

That other place might be known as the happiest on earth, but it’s hard to beat the joy you’ll find at Jack’s.

“The people, the food, you ain’t gonna beat it,” said Charles.

“Nobody is Jacks. No matter where you go, you can’t get Jacks but one place,” Shelton said proudly.

Jack’s Quick Snack, a magical hometown eat.

You can find Jack’s Quick Snack at 101 Shelton St, Gretna, VA 24557