Places to eat in Joplin Mo right off 44
Fri, 12/17/04 11:30 AM
Okay I am finally getting around to listing the places we frequent when in Joplin (as it's the largest "city within an hour drive we are there pretty often). All of the places I am telling you about here are accessable from exit 8B (Rangline Rd).
If you are coming to Joplin for a meal and like chain restaraunts, this is your town. Appelby's, Ruby Tuesday, Outback, Red Hot and Blue, just about all you can think of. The problem here is finding hometown grub that is decent and reasonably priced for the traveller. I hope this helps out.
My current fave in the area is Ichiban. Good solid Japanese food, with a bit of flair. The sushi is very good and pretty damn fresh considering we are almost 2K miles from the Pacific. The head waiter is phenomonal. He seems to know everybody walking through the door, and they know him. Service can be a bit slow, especially at lunch. But it's really worth the wait. The dish I was happiest to find isn't even on the menu. I have a fondness for sukiyaki that is a little bit obsessive. No only is it almost impossible to find out here in the midwest, but when you do find some it is almost to salty to eat. For the first time since moving away from the San Francisco area, I found a place that makes it sweet, with a dash of saltiness, and they even have the slight taste of hon dashi (fish broth), MMMMM MMMMM!!!! The usual salad with ginger dressing (again, MMMM MMMM) the miso was made from a package though. Otherwise it is a great place. My only other complaint is that they do NOT automatically bring you tea as part of your meal. They actually charge you for it.... FOR SHAME! Still a nice place for a good meal. A tad pricey in my opinion, but still plentiful portions and good dining for the buck! It's about $12 to $18 per person to be safe with appetizers. To get to Ichiban exit 8B go to the second light, 32nd St., turn left and immediately turn left into the strip mall there, look around it's there.
My wife and I also have another favorite in town. Not only is it about the least expensive of the places I am reviewing, but you get the most food for your dollar. The place is called Salsa's Grill, the food is Emixican with a lot of Tex-Mex thrown in. At first glance it seems like it should be part of a chain, but it's not....yet. Obligitory chips and salsa are served, while the chips are from a bag, the salsa is fresh and decent. Then you get the menu, and I hope you have a spare 1/2 hour to read it. It's HUGE! More choices than seems fair. I usually get a fajita combo of beef and shrimp, my wife goes all around the menu. I think I have tried all the mexican basics though. Enchiladas, tacos, and more, and it was all good. Food is prepared fresh with very little canned stuff in the kitchen. I even asked for, and got some DELICOUS fish tacos. If you haven't tried them, give it a go. Service is great, the staff is always right there anticipating you. Good thing too, since most do not speak or have very limited English. They really are a great place to go. Best part is that you will spend under $20 for 2 (including drinks and tip) and be taking food home. To get to Salsa's Grill exit go to the 2nd light, 32nd St, make a left, go up 2/3 mile look on your right, again in a strip mall.
Jim Bob's is a bit problematic for me. When we first moved out here almost 5 years ago the place was excellent. The food and service were great. Now that they are the big dog in town...well it can be hit or miss. The food is straight old fashioned meat and potatoes. Big steaks and decent, but not great BBQ. On a good night the food is solid and memorable. On a not so good or really busy night, it will take a couple of tries to get your order right. Usually the steaks are overcooked (they are pre cooking, leaving steaks on the grill too long make them...not too good). I have had to send back a couple of times. Ultimately it was handled. The one time I didn't time to wait to get it right they credited the bill with my meal and included a $5.00 off coupon for next time. If you are going to eat at Jim Bob's go in the middle of the afternoon. You will get better service, and the food will be just right. Ask for a dinner menu, and you may not get the baked potatoe, but the fries and onion rings are really good. Figure about $15.00 a person to be on the safe side. To get to Jim Bob's just stay on Rangeline for about 3/4 to a mile, and it's on your left.
Big R's is a place that is a real throwback. it is a BBQ shack that does geat steaks, and decent other stuff. The BBQ may not win prizes, but it is tender and the sauce and flavorings add to the taste, not overpowering it. The brisket is to die for though. Although I have my own touch. I order it sauceless, and always bring in Kikkoman teriyaki BASTE (not sauce, the baste is thick). The meat is juicy and tender and the addition of sweet and salty makes it incredible. Most everything is good. It is a lot like rib and steak joints in the panhandle of Texas. For Big R's BBQ go up to 15th St, make a left and go about 3/4 mile, it is literally just across the railroad tracks.
The Sultan of Smoke is the place you go when you want to start an argument about the best Que. Also this place is directly on the old Route 66, so you can follow it a ways, and still get back on 44 if you want a leisurely drive through Kansas and OK. I have been to most of the major places around the country for que. While I am not a fan of beans (I know that's sacriledge, but hey it's my taste)the rest of the menu is about the best que you will have, PERIOD. This is not HYPERBOLE, it's a simple fact. The owners of theis place are content to have a nice local following of their product, but if they were in a bigger city I am sure they would be all over the food and travel channels. Ther is NOTHING on the menu that isn't good. Best part is that even though this is the farthest from the freeway, it has a drive through and you can be back on the road in just a few minutes. Be careful driving though, food from the Sultan has been know to cause euphoria. Prices are low, portion sizes are big, great place with kids in tow (but think about the mess factor if you decide to keep on the road). To get to the Sultan of Smoke go to 7th St. Make a left and it's about 2.5 miles down on your left. It's a small place so keep an eye peeled.
Enjoy this, next time, I'll give you some places off the beaten path in S.E. Kansas, my adopted home.