Thanksgiving. Holy hell. Carb overload. Meat sweats. Pants that no longer fit.
You’d think after an enormous meal and a day of leftovers, no one would want to even look at still more meat and potatoes. In deference to our out-of-town visitors, however, we rolled up our sleeves one last time on Saturday night and took our guests across the river to Jim’s Ribs in Rock Island, Illinois before they left for home the following day. Don’t call us gluttons, we had to do it; my brother-in-law was deprived of a good rib joint as a child and is trying to make up for lost time. We did it for him. It was a completely selfless act. And, yes, I am talking about the French Canadian brother-in-law. How did you know?
Founded by James Overton, Sr. in 1967, Jim’s Rib Haven is a staple in the QC Area. Jim started with a tiny smokehouse in Rock Island that took carry-out orders, but his ribs were so popular, he quickly had to expand, putting up another smoker across the street with a dining room attached. And, you guys, it is soooo good. In 2002, the Food Network put Jim’s Ribs on their Best Of list.
High quality meat, an impeccable mix of seasonings, cooked to perfection – just barely hanging on the bone, with little charred bits on the end for me to gnaw on and pretend I’m a lion that’s just brought down a gazelle.
Unfortunately, Jim died this past year at the age of 85, but Jim Jr.’s been running the business for a few years and is doing very well. He’s made improvements to the menu while maintaining its essence, and there’s now a Jim’s Rib Haven in East Moline, Illinois as well as one in Omaha, Nebraska. According to Jim Jr., however, he’ll never be able to fill Big Jim’s shoes.
If you go: Get the back rib dinner. You shan’t regret it. It’s actually big enough to split between two people if you really want to. I have never wanted to. The dinner comes with 7-8 big, meaty ribs and two sides. I recommend the fries and the green beans (they put rib seasonings on the beans – you’re a mad genius, Jim Jr.!).
Like all good rib places, Jim’s is BYOB, so bring a giant cooler filled with whatever beer you want, or pick some up at the Circle K next door, OR:
BONUS!! A micro-brewery has opened up across the street from Jim’s! Bent River Brewing Company is fan-freaking-tastic, with imaginative recipes and a big ol’ tasting room. Also, the staff is amazing. They’re pleasant and helpful without giving you undue attitude – unlike the staff at some other local eateries with extensive drink menus. (I’m looking at you, Van’s. Sort out your nonsense.)
Bent River is hosting Toys for Tots events tomorrow and this weekend, so it’s the perfect time to head over there and taste some awesome beer – best consumed after a satisfying meal of the best ribs in the Tri-State area.