POSTED ON OCTOBER 21, 2009:
West Tulsa adds a little pep in its step with Jumpin J's
West Tulsa is not a section of the city I often head to when dining out, but Union Avenue around 51st Street is a hopping area both day and night. I have been to a few other places in this area as of late, and now I can add Jumpin J's to my list.
Jumpin J's doesn't stand out in the area; it's on the corner of west 51st Street and Union Avenue on the edge of a strip center. Tulsa native David Kinder is the owner and manager of Jumpin J's. Throughout the years, he has managed, owned and worked in the restaurant and fast-food industry in places such as Daylight Donuts and Dairy Queen.
One of his first questions to me was, "Did you have my sumptuous ribs?" Luckily, my friend and I ordered the ribs the evening before when we decided to check the place out. Let's revisit.
I wondered if the place was closed when we pulled up around 7:30pm. When we walked in, a young man behind the counter greeted us while we took a seat at a table. Jumpin J's is a no frills place: basic bar-like tables, two pool tables, bar area and an area for karaoke. (Wednesday is karaoke night until around midnight.)
We ordered a few beers, a Rolling Rock and a Miller Chill--$1.50 longnecks everyday until 9pm and $5 pitchers "most days." Kinder told me that although he now only has domestic beers, in a month or so he hopes to acquire a liquor license and have a full bar. He admitted his menu is simple, what one would often find at a bar and grill setting, "But after I have a full blown liquor license, I plan on having filet mignon dinners with a few vegetables on the menu for about 10 bucks."
The vibe here is chill, perhaps a good gathering place for friends to hang out, watch the UFC fights and other sporting events on any of the large three flat-screen TVs. Other options include playing pool, singing karaoke and even participating in poker tournaments.
During our visit for dinner and after a fun game of pool, people began pouring in around 9pm. Teens, children and young adults came in to rack up the balls at the pool tables, order a late-night snack and sing karaoke.
Jumpin J's was really jumping with activity now.
The restaurant has a menu that looks like something one would find walking down the fair's midway: hot dogs, fried mushrooms, wings, spicy fried pickles, jalapeno poppers, hamburgers, chicken strips and fries, rib dinners and BBQ sandwiches (all $8.95 or less). Along with these main items, side dishes ($2.50 or less) include okra, onion rings, coleslaw, potato salad, baked beans and fries.
My friend and I ordered spicy fried pickles ($2.50) to begin, and the rib dinner ($8.95) and a hamburger ($2.95) for our main meal. The pickles, sliced and lightly breaded, were fried to a firm crispness and were mildly spicy--just a little kick to jolt the mouth. They were addictive.
My rib dinner came with two sides, so I ordered onion rings and baked beans. (The coleslaw was unavailable.) The pork ribs filled the oval plate they were served on and were glazed with a sweet barbecue sauce that had diced onions. A spicier sauce is available, which I requested; it was a chili-sauce-based sauce with a significant hotness to it.
The ribs were overdone, falling off the bone and so tender that all the meat and surrounding fat was pleasingly edible; only dry rib bones were left on the plate. The small bowl of baked beans was sweet and smoky in flavor. The onion rings were lightly breaded and crispy--basic rings, nothing too special.
My friend's hamburger was a basic version of this classic sandwich. It was a well-done flat meat patty with mustard, onion, lettuce and tomato. As basic as it was, it was filling and ideal for what Jumpin J's is all about. He ordered a side of okra ($1.25). We guessed it right when we thought the fried okra was Stilwell brand. Kinder admitted that because of the limited kitchen space, he orders his menu items from vendors.
After time spent in Ocean Island, NC, where he managed a similar restaurant also called Jumpin J's, he returned 11 years ago to care for his aging parents. There's no special connection to the name of the joint, he said it's just catchy, so he decided to keep it when he opened this new bar and grill.
Kinder is a down-home, easy-to-talk-to kind of owner. He said he closes down in the afternoon around 2pm and re-opens around 5pm just to have a little break, but is quick to mention if anyone does come by during that time wanting a meal or a carry out or delivery, "Call me. I only live about a block away, and I will be right there to fill that order."
1630 W. 51 St.
Sun.-Sat. 11am-2pm, 5-midnight
URL for this story: http://www.urbantulsa.comhttp://www.urbantulsa.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A28295