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Jack’s Porch Restaurant Opens in Southlake With a Lawsuit

A couple of months ago, a Disher in Colleyville asked me if I knew where Jack’s Porch was opening in her area. I did what most reputable reporters do, I Googled. I did find job listings for a Jack’s Porch but no address. Then I forgot about it. This morning a Disher with a head for the law and a bod for Law & Order sends word that Jack of Jack’s Porch is Jack Layman, the former manager of Rockfish in Southlake, and he has been slapped with a lawsuit for violating his employment contract. Layman quit his job at Rockfish and opened Jack’s Porch across the street with a Rockfish-rip-off menu. Rockfish is claiming Layman has violated his employment contract which prohibits him from working at another restaurant within 10 miles.

35 comments on “Jack’s Porch Restaurant Opens in Southlake With a Lawsuit

  1. I don’t know this but I heard that employment contracts are not enforceable in Texas as it is a right to work state and that the only reason companies have them here is to tie you up in court. Thinking the threat of a law suit is usually enough to stop you.
    All in all, shame on Mr. Layman for opening across the street.

  2. Curmudgeon is incorrect, but what is true is that it is very difficult to enforce the noncompete provisions of those contracts because they operate as a restraint of trade. Chances are good that Rockfish’s contract won’t be enforceable and they’ll try to bleed him dry through litigation.

    In most cases first restaurant wouldn’t wait for him to open, and would seek a restraining order while the former employee was getting finished out across the street.

  3. I was surprised by the DIFFERENCE IN Jack’s Porch Menu, nothing like Rockfish. In fact, there is something for everyone. Try the Portobello fries, sinfully good. I’ll be back.

  4. I could not help but laugh when reading this blog! It’s rather funny to find people posting misleading information about Jack’s Porch. Nancy perhaps you should have visited Jack’s Porch previous to your post and had taken a look at the location and menu. However due to your lack of proper reporting skills I will post the facts after properly doing my reporting duties for you. (FACT #1) Jack’s Porch is NOT across the street from Rockfish. Across the street from Rockfish you will find Crate and Barrel not Jack’s Porch. (FACT #2)You CANNOT stand on any corner of Rockfish’s property and see Jack’s Porch. Jack’s Porch is located one block over. (FACT #3) The menu consists of FOUR and only FOUR seafood items at Jack’s Porch compared to an entire seafood menu at Rockfish. The four items include Crab Cakes, Salmon, Ahi-Tuna, and Shrimp. Which I am sure were added to be able to offer a diverse menu like any restaurant. (FACT #4) After speaking to a “Disher” from the Rockfish in Southlake, the lawsuit against Jack Layman is incredibly petty and is just a way for Rockfish to try and get out of paying Mr. Layman for his contracts. (FACT #5) My recent trip to the Southlake Town Center was rather enlightening when I was speaking to another “Disher” whom happens to be an employee from Rockfish. I was informed that Rockfish is also facing another lawsuit right now that a recent former employee has filed against the company regarding SEXUAL HARASSMENT in the workplace. The former Rockfish employee is being represented by a very well known firm from Grapevine that previously won a very similar sexual harassment case for a former waitress at Waffle House. The waitress was rewarded by a Tarrant County Jury $4,000,000. I don’t believe Rockfish has $4,000,000 to fork over and they are scared out of their minds with a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit that they will lose. Therefore in my opinion they are simply being petty and putting a lawsuit on Jack Layman to try and save the money they have now before it’s handed over to the former Rockfish Employee that suffers from a sexual harassment incident.
    Moving on, I decided to go to both locations and ask for takeout menu’s so I could personally see the “Rockfish-rip-off menu” and this is what I found.
    Comparison 1: The crab cakes at Jack’s Porch are mixed with fresh onions and a variety of peppers. Rockfish crab cakes consist of crab and breading. According to a Southlake Rockfish employee, they have been having problems with their canned crab supplier recently and the cakes have a very strong odor. HOWEVER, were still being served to customers. I personally would rather not be severed something from a restaurant if they know it’s not up to 100%. Shame on them. Perhaps they will have another law suit on their hands like a few years back when a man died after eating oysters on the half shell at Rockfish.
    Comparison 2: The Salmon offered at Jack’s Porch includes a Salmon BLT sandwich not offered at Rockfish through the menu, according to a Rockfish employee it’s only offered on the special boards occasionally. A Salmon Entrée from Jack’s Porch is served with a blackened 10oz piece of salmon topped with a tomato jalapeno salsa, green beans and rice. A salmon entrée at Rockfish is 8oz and the customer choosing their sides and sauce. Lastly, a Salmon salad is offered at both locations however at Jack’s Porch they prepare a Salmon Cobb. Rockfish offers a Salmon Salad. The preparations of both salads are entirely different.
    Comparison 3: Jack’s Porch offers Tuna nachos with a tomato-ginger relish. Rockfish’s tuna nachos come with a mango-ginger relish. I have had both and the recipes are out of this world different. Jack’s Porch offers a ahi-tuna entrée complete with a sesame crust, asian vinaigrette, pickled onions, rice and spinach. Like the salmon entrée at Rockfish the tuna is offered by the customer creating their own meal. According to a Southlake Rockfish employee a sesame crusted tuna entree is not offered through the menu at Rockfish and only through select times as a special. Lastly, both Jack’s Porch and Rockfish have a Tuna salad. At Jack’s Porch they offer a Ahi Greek Salad, Rockfish offers a regular tuna salad.
    Comparison 4: Finally to the Shrimp. The ONLY shrimp offered at Jack’s Porch is offered through a Shrimp Pomodora Pasta made with angel hair pasta, tomatoes, kalamatas and seasoned with basil. Rockfish has a shrimp basket, shrimp salads, shrimp appetizers, shrimp entrees, and shrimp pasta with penne pasta, sausage, onions and red bell peppers in a rich spicy creole sauce.
    To conclude my blog Jack’s Porch is a great addition to the Southlake Town Center. Everyone that knows Jack supports him and is so happy he has reached a point in his life to finally play out his lifelong dream of opening up his own restaurant. I wish the best of luck to Rockfish as well, however with the current under qualified ex-blockbuster manager Daniel Gouldman aka General Manager (Hired only because he is friend of a man that is part owner)I personally see that place failing miserably because I quote from a Rockfish employee “Disher” he doesn’t listen to employees or customers. Good businesses succeed with good managers.

    ++Note to SLTS++ I agree the Portobello fries are outstanding. I also have tried the Chicken Fried Lamp Chops and the Chile Dusted Bone-in Ribeye and they were so amazing I am reserving a table for a party of 15 this week to spread the word of the excellent food and classy,inviting atmosphere.

  5. MLN perhaps it is you that needs to get some more facts. I had heard that the whole harassment suit was also due to Jack’s poor leadership. Servers state that he created that environment by sleeping with his servers having an illigitimate child and not holding himself to a different standard. I guess Mr Layman felt he was above the rules again. By the way you failed to notice the part about recruiting employees. Mr Layman needs to be held responsible for his commitments that he AGREED to.

  6. Also of note…Layman did not build a restaurant rather he took over an existing operation and proceeded to change it.

  7. MLN:
    I reported the lawsuit:

    “Rockfish Seafood Grill Inc.
    Jack Layman; JP Restaurants Ltd.; Layman LLC
    10/29/2009 352-241333-09
    Suit for injunctive relief and declaratory judgment. Plaintiff hired defendant Layman to manage its Southlake, Texas, restaurant. Defendant quit his job with plaintiff and opened Jack’s Porch Restaurant across the street, which serves the same food as plaintiff’s restaurant. Defendant Layman has violated his employment contract with plaintiff, which prohibited him from working at another restaurant within 10 miles of plaintiff’s.”

    Across the street or down the street, it isn’t 10 miles away. Petty or not, it is a lawsuit. That’s just the facts.

  8. To answer your question Nancy no it is not on the same side of the street as Rockfish. Jack’s Porch is on Main Street. Rockfish is on State Street.
    Ate dinner at Jack’s Porch last week and the food was great.

  9. Redraif- What you are stating is simply hearsay and in no way has any merit towards Mr. Layman. If a sexual harrasment lawsuit was filed against Mr. Layman, that would be different, but it was filed against another Rockfish employee. It would appear Rockfish is desperate and is using any attempt to slander Mr. Layman. And I believe any child of a person, illegitimate or not, should be off limits. That has no credibility towards what time of manager Mr. Layman was, and should only be dealt with on a personal level, through his family and the mother of his child. It seems to me that Rockfish had no problem signing Mr. Layman to a new contract and not bringing up any personal information at the time. So, why should it be brought up now. It is my understanding, that under Mr. Layman’s management, Rockfish in Southlake did extremely well. Mr. Layman is a professional and hardworking business man that just decided to explore a different avenue. It would be best for Rockfish to just accept they have lost one of their best employees and move on.

  10. I agree with d. Jack made the Rockfish successful. And if he had poor leadership shouldn’t you have fired him Redraif? your posts tell me you are the source of the lawsuit and you have just lost a customer simply by voicing your opinion in a public forum.

  11. Shame on you Rockfish. Taking Jack Layman to court is the biggest PR disaster you have EVER made. You will NEVER see the very large community of friends we have ever grace your restaurant again…

  12. Thank you SLTS for your support. You will be happy to hear many people will be following your path and will never step foot in Rockfish again. Your exactly right when you say Rockfish has created the biggest PR disaster ever. Karma will get them in the end.

  13. MLN, if you are going to toss all this stuff out, it would be nice if you identified yourself. Or if you know Jack, he is welcome to tell me his side of the story. But since we don’t know who you are and you are blasting away, you could lend some credibility to your cause. Thanks,N

  14. Nancy, I will continue blasting away and I would identify myself but at this time the ones that need to know, already KNOW. When this is no longer a court issue I will have a lot more to say and I will identify myself. As far as Jack telling you his story I’ll leave that up to him to decide.

  15. I would like to add that Jack did not recruit employees from Rockfish. Jack Layman built what was once a great restaurant in Southlake Town Canter. Jack was then promoted, he must have had very poor leadership skills, to open a store in Dallas. Some employees followed him to Dallas because of his leadership. How could you expect a man who has run a successful restaurant for eleven years to not have employees who are loyal to him. Rockfish has undergone many changes in the past year under new corporate management. Many of those changes should never be seen at the server or bartender or host or cook level. All Rockfish seems to care about is the numbers and the money. When were employees no longer important to a company. Since when are employees not allowed to build customer relationships. Shame on new management for running a successful business into the ground. As for those who left Rockfish to open Jack’s Porch, they were not recruited, they ran. And good for them. They deserve to work for somebody that cares. Now that the lawsuit has been settled, six former Rockfish employees are out of a job. Way to be HUMAN corporate Rockfish. You did not punish Jack for stealing employees. You punished former employees for wanting something better.

    As for Redraif, you are a pathetic excuse for a human being. Children should never be brought into an issue like this. If sexual harassment was an issue under Jack’s management at Rockfish, don’t you think there would have been a lawsuit under his management at the Southlake store? There has been one settled and another pending since he left. Looks like you are the one who has poor leadership skills.

  16. Redraif and any other Rockfish blogger:
    With Jack’s wide circle of LOYAL friends, you are getting SLAUGHTERED IN THE COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION ALL OVER THE METRO-PLEX! I have been a —-fish customer for a long time but I finally tried Jack’s last night and had a GREAT MEAL AND A WONDERFUL TIME. I’m finished with you along with my group of business associates. Finally, Thank you Nancy Nichols for exposing —-fish for who they really are although you were wrong about the ‘Rip-off Menu’.

  17. Just from my own experience as a Southlake resident and avid diner-outer ;) … My family ate at Rockfish maybe once in the last 5 years. We just didn’t care for the menu choices, the food, the hard wooden benches ;), or the environment. However, we happened to be fans of the restaurant previously occupying the site of the new Jack’s Porch, so when the gradual change took place, we willingly went along with it to see what was up. I can say flat out that the menu is nothing like Rockfish’s as far as I can tell, and that the environment is completely different. I’ve met many of the people involved in opening the new JP, and wow, they have great hearts, incredible passion for what they do, and absolutely no malice or deceit involved. I was appalled to learn about this lawsuit, and I feel sorry for them. I wish Jack’s Porch and all its crew years of success. The opening party last night was amazing, and in my past 5 years in Southlake, unrivaled by any restaurant!

  18. Guess what ya’ll Jack’s porch is amazing! The food is incredibly fresh, and has no resemblance to Rockfish whatsoever. It is a place to dine casually or if you wish on Fri or Sat nights stay for the awesome bands. Jack and his wife have worked really hard to create a place for good food and casual ambience. Then a place for fun on the weekends. Lawsuits are for people who cannot come to terms with their own issues. Jealousy and control are of the forefront. And, the people who work for you are directly a mirror. It is a win win situation if your employees are happy and respect their employer…am I right? Jack is a good guy and I don’t believe that he had any sexual issues with his employee’s whatsoever!

  19. Oh, and I have to add in kudos for the Loaded Porch fries! They’re not exactly “light,” but when you’re ready for a great snack during a game or before your dinner, these are perfect for spicing things up. Fresh jalapenos with a solid kick, and fresh cilantro…these are decadent and WORTH the splurge!

  20. Jack was a great boss – I know that he didn’t want to fire us but Rockfish made him. Now 7 people have to find jobs but we’ll be ok. I think its a real low blow to bring up Jack’s daughter. He and his wife were going through tough times but they are still together and strong as ever. That’s a really low blow.

    I think Rockfish is scared of Jack and that’s why they sued him. That’s why they forced him to take seafood off the menu. They are scared of him. He knows everyone in Southlake and its just a matter of time. Why do you think his former customers who became his investors!?!? We have been talking about this day for 2 years and its finally here and Rockfish can not do anything else about it now that the lawsuit is settled. And I love the Portobello Fries from Jack’s Porch!

  21. As someone who knows, Jack is a man of integrity and great character. He has earned it and deserves the chance to follow his dream. Best of luck to Jack’s Porch!

  22. I couldn’t give a flip about this petty little dispute, but thank goodness something replaced that skanky X’s and O’s.


  24. Rockfish, regretably has gone lifeless. I was somewhat of a regular but I don’t recognize many employess anymore, but worse, even less of the regulars I could count on seeing while I was there. I haven’t been in this month but once,had a bad meal and worse service. Rockfish’s run appears to be over at least at this store in Southlake.

  25. Dawg: I agree there run is def. over. Head on over to Jack’s Porch where you are assured good service, good food, and a great time! Oh and the best part of Jack’s Porch is ALL the regulars are there! Stop by to see all your old friends!

  26. I am happy to hear that Rockfish sold and Jimmy and Henry lost their jobs! Karma has a funny way of always working out!

  27. Wow .. I googled Jack’s Porch and found this blog. I intend to become a FAN of Jack’s Porch and boycott Rockfish, JUST from reading this incredible childish crap from Redraif! How dare you put a “child” into the mix. Shame on you.

    I’ve heard NOTHING but GOOD things about Jack’s Porch and will take my $$ THERE !

  28. Josephine’s was the best – good food, good service, nice family. Unfortunately the Town Square Owners charge too much rent, no place will make it there. So far, a steak franchise was outed, Josephine’s closed, and now X and Os went out. Next to go will be Jack’s Porch. Wake up Southlake citizens!!!

  29. Ashley!
    Maybe you should meet the new owner Jack Layman of Jack’s Porch. He is very good at what he does. He’s a good business man, people person and knows how to run a great restaurant. As far as the Southlake citizens- They are AWAKE trust me, they are the ones that helped get Jack’s Porch started and they are there supporting it to make sure the doors stay open. Ashley, just have a little faith, the curse on the location ended. Rent is not to much if you can make the money to pay rent which Jack’s Porch is doing!

  30. Tarah, time will tell… I get cynical because so many businesses have closed in the Town Square. I am told by multiple sources it is the landlord. I am surprised they let him in there, knowing he managed Rockfish, but maybe not that a lawsuit was possible?