Venue Review: Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q
The Charlotte Observer
13840 Steele Creek Road
I've spent a little time in restaurant bars. You never know what people want to talk about.
But not until I went to Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q have I had people carry on conversations about their favorite things on the menu. After overhearing me tell the server I had never eaten at the Steele Creek-area restaurant, the guy on my left said, "Everything is good, but you gotta make sure you get the cheddar muffins."
Then the guy on my right said, "You have to order the collard greens and the macaroni and cheese. If you don't like them, I'll pay."
It turns out they were both spot-on with their recommendations. And my pick: the Double Decker brisket and pork sandwich as well.
Jim 'N Nick's is a chain out of Birmingham, Ala. The Charlotte location, owned by Troy and Jenne Taylor, celebrates its second anniversary in June. The dining room is sizable and cozy at the same time.
Jim 'N Nick's smokes its own meat, so the air inside the building is heavy with the smell of hickory. It's quite intoxicating, which is why I think I broke one of my cardinal dining out rules: Don't order a drink other than water.
When the server asked if I wanted to try the fresh-squeezed lemonade, I said yes without thinking. The lemonade was $3, but went perfectly with the food and was worth every penny.
To really enjoy the Double Decker sandwich, use every bit of the spicy barbecue sauce that comes alongside. Otherwise, the generous portion of pulled pork and chopped brisket can be a little dry.
Jim 'N Nick's chicken, with its peppery skin, was succulent, and needed no additional sauce.
Ribs come three ways (riblets, spare and baby back) and in three sizes (four bone, half and full rack). I opted for the four-bone spareribs, which had a lovely caramelized exterior and had been lightly brushed with a sticky-sweet barbecue sauce. The meat wasn't exactly fall-off-the-bone tender, but it didn't take much effort to pull it away either.
From the surprisingly sweet cheddar muffins, to the buttery collards with nuggets of ham to the cinnamon-laced apples, Jim 'N Nick does sides well. Do try the macaroni and cheese with its stretchy crust of cheddar on top of creamy noodles. The pork-studded baked beans also don't slack.
I busted my $25 for two budget by a mile - mainly because I couldn't control myself. But I'd do it all over again.