Jimmy’s Restaurant and Lounge is a nice little bar with a lot of food flavor that’s worth checking out.
A few weeks back Jen and I attempted to eat lunch at Jimmy’s Restaurant and Lounge in North Canton, but instead ended up in Akron at Lindsay’s Amber Restaurant. It’s a somewhat comical story that I already told in my Amber’s review so I won’t get into it here. This Sunday we gave Jimmy’s another shot and I have to admit to being very surprised. I’m happy to say that my first impressions of Jimmy’s was way off-base.
From the outside Jimmy’s Restaurant and Lounge doesn’t look like much. It almost gives the impression of a biker bar or perhaps some country bar out on Podunk Highway in the middle of nowhere.
Jimmy’s Restaurant and Lounge isn’t in the middle of nowhere, it’s right off portage a couple of blocks from the strip. Nor is Jimmy’s a biker or country bar that serves up sub-par food to a bunch of hicks. If that’s your impression as it was mine, just get that out of your head right now.
We got to Jimmy’s around one in the afternoon on a Sunday. There were half a dozen over-40 folks at the bar drinking and eating with another half dozen people spread out over a few booths. The bar centers the room and is the main focal point with booths and tables lining the walls. There is a sunroom section of the restaurant with another dozen tables enclosed in three glass walls and glass ceiling.
We took a seat and started looking over the menu. We were approached by none other than Jimmy himself, working his restaurant on a Sunday afternoon. He asked if we’d like him to make some recommendations and he ran down the list of some of his favorites. Throughout our meal Jimmy worked is way around the restaurant talking to patrons, having a few laughs and drinking beer.
There were at least five TV’s placed in the main room with at three visible at any one time. Three different football games played with another couple of screens showing Keno. Our waitress wore a Steelers shirt but assured us Browns fans are welcome too, often mixing at the bar.
I asked Jimmy about their Philly Cheesesteak Pizza. I’ve only seen those at Domino’s so I was curious. Jimmy said it wasn’t his favorite but he’d take on the challenge of beating Domino’s Philly Pizza in taste test. If I thought Domino’s version was better then I wouldn’t have to pay for my lunch at Jimmy’s. I couldn’t pass that up.
I can’t say for certain who’s is better. They are both good, but very different from each other. The best way to describe it is this: you can often find a great hamburger at a restaurant but sometimes you just want a Whopper from Burger King. Does that make the Whopper superior? No, it’s just fast food candy. Domino’s philly cheesesteak pizza is fast food candy. The philly cheesesteak pizza from Jimmy’s offered a more refined, mature taste that required a little salt to bring out it’s full flavor.
Needless to say I never ask for my lunch to be comped, and gleefully took half of my large pizza home for later.
Jen ordered the lasagna with garlic bread. All of Jimmy’s pasta is home made and you can tell the difference. The noodles were thicker and much more tender than you get from the store-bought stuff and that made the lasagna that much tastier.
We were also served a couple pieces of bread that tasted like home made. It wasn’t fresh-from-the-oven warm and the bread itself was average but the sesame seed crust was extremely flavorful. The only negatives at Jimmy’s was the spotty silverware which I hate, the house red Italian dressing which Jen felt was flavorless.
If I had to describe Jimmy’s Restaurant and Lounge I’d say it’s Cheers in the latter years. It’s not a bar for the young, hipster crowd, but more for the mature sports loving adults that like to get some great food with their friends or family while they watch the game. The wait staff is very friendly and they do a lot of chatting up the guests at the bar and tables.
During the day time hours Jimmy’s gets a lot of regulars, but a varied crowd in the evenings when they have their events: karaoke on Wednesdays, Frick and Frack on Thursdays and other live music on Fridays and Saturdays.