Saturday, September 18, 2010

JR's Loghouse, Norcross, GA

JR's Loghouse, Norcross. JR's had been somewhere on the fringes of my bbq radar screen for a few weeks. I can't say that I was even familiar with JR's until a few weeks ago when they had catered a Johnny Isakson fundraiser that I attended. I thought the bbq and Brunswick stew I had were pretty good at the fundraiser, so Debbie and I thought we'd try it out on this beautiful late summer Saturday. JR's is really a quaint log building tucked in among some of the Northeast Atlanta area streets just off of I-285 on Peachtree Parkway. The inside of this place is quaint. You quickly figure out that in addition to bbq, they've got a reputation for great country style breakfasts. A little history on the joint is picked up from both their menu and off of their website

JR's Loghouse first started serving great barbeque and breakfast in May 1983. However, JR's history goes back more than 55 years to when "JR," Jerry Romano, started cooking and serving "real pit cooked barbeque" as a young teenager with his family's restaurant. The recipes we serve today have been handed down from grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Many of them were originally part of The Old Hickory House Restaurants, which were an Atlanta institution for more than 50 years. Along with our great barbeque, we serve many different vegetables daily, all cooked fresh. We serve breakfast 7 days a week with the biggest biscuits and pancakes you've ever seen. Today, you can still see some of the same employees here who helped us open our doors in 1983.

We found the place not to busy when we went in, but a good sign was that there were several "service" type trucks in the parking lot giving indication that local service workers found this a good spot. We perused the menu that was adequate, and I ordered up my typical first visit order of a bbq sandwich and Brunswick stew. Debbie ordered her usual bbq pork salad. The order came out fast, but I was hit with a little bit of a "red flag" when my sandwich came wrapped in a foil wrapper. I've got to figure that one out. Once I got it out of the foil wrapper, it looked pretty good with a good portion of bbq on the bun. The stew had good appearance, so I took a few bites of it first. The presence of tomatoes, onion, and corn among the stew gave it great taste and appearance. The stew got a decent ranking. The bbq was pretty good in its course chopped texture. Rather than having sauce on the tables, it was lightly pre-applied to the bbq. Points are deducted for that fact, but otherwise, the bbq was good despite lacking sufficient smoked flavor.

Debbie was not impressed with the salad and further disappointed with the lack of "crushed" ice. Her salad lacked a variety of toppings. The sauce was heavily ketchup based, and while it was ok, it didn't really do anything for us. Her first two bites of bbq found both bone and fat.

Though we left adequately filled, we both agreed that a ranking of 3 out of 5 was about as good as we could offer. Perhaps the best part of the visit was one of the waitresses. As she walked by, I quickly told Debbie that "she looks a lot like Laura (our daughter)". We then struck up a quick conversation with her and found that she was just as sweet seeming as our daughter. With that kind of encounter, we left with a sense of delight having enjoyed meeting a nice young lady that reminded us much of our girl.

JR's seems to have an active catering business, and if you need someone to do catering, you can't go wrong with their choice as your provider; however, there are lots of great caterers in the area including my friends at Jim 'n Nicks, Dreamland, and Fox Brothers!!!

Now, if Georgia can just pull off a win against Arkansas!!!

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