Jimbo’s Burger and Biker Bar: South Bloomingville
Posted by cmh gourmand on June 14, 2010
During my many years of roaming around the Hocking Hills I have driven by Jimbo’s countless times. I was always intrigued by the place but never stopped due to being too full, too hurried or too late to my next destination. Or maybe it was the 50 to 100 Harley’s parked in front of the place that made me hesitate to halt my journey. I deferred on each opportunity to drop in and drove on by.
Recently I found out that Jimbo’s likes hogs of both varieties – bikes and pigs. Jimbo’s is famous for their Hog Burger, a large, all pork sandwich that gets a lot of buzz on the biker boards. This was the tipping point for me and called for immediate investigation.
The drive from Columbus or Athens to Jimbo’s is scenic and serene (at least at the end) since the bar is located near Old Man’s Cave and Ash Cave. My Subaru sauntered into the gravel parking lot and felt a bit out of place even through there were only two bikes and a sports car in the lot. Walking inside, I was immediately pegged as a greenhorn/city slicker/cracker but accepted and welcomed in spite of my lack of credibility. My initial thoughts of the place channeled images of the Blues Brothers Band walking into the country and western bar in the Blues Brothers movie. Except this is a biker bar and I was clearly bikeless. I announced that I had arrived to try their famous big burger. One of the patrons asked how many I was going to get, since he described them as being “like White Castles”. Having a bit of forewarning on burger size, I played along and let him know that since I already had lunch, I was going to limit myself to two. I ordered a hamburger and a pork burger so I could give both a fair shake.
While I waited for the food, I chatted with the staff and the customers – all of whom are regulars. Jimbo’s is open Thursday to Sunday with reduced hours during the winter but a slightly larger menu when it is cold. The off season menu includes a fan favorite chili and a Texas style corn chip chili casserole, which reads as divine. The decor is a mix of motorcycle, NASCAR and hog themed (motorcycle and pig) chic, so I was somewhat out of my element. There is an impressive T-shirt collection affixed to the ceiling that took a long time for me to read (and appreciate). I learned the bar is packed most of the night and day on Saturday and Sunday. It often starts to fill up early Friday afternoons when the weather is good. Bands play during the weekend. The patio seats up to forty and the sprawling bar can pack in a good number as well. There is a great map in the main entrance which displays each large and small road in the region and highlights the best bike routes for customers.
The burgers are 1/2 pound, after cooking. There are over a dozen toppings available and several specialty burgers. The Jimbo Burger features grilled onions, cheese, mushrooms and bacon. The blend of pork for the Hog Burger is specially prepared by two different butchers just for Jimbo’s.
I tried both burgers. Lifting and looking at the burgers, each seemed to weigh much more than 1/2 pound on an extra large bun. Both were served open-faced with the bun top on the side. As a signature, when sour cream and/or other condiments are ordered, they are used to write out Jimbo’s in script on each burger. I liked both of my burgers. I might give a slight edge to the Hog Burger. It had a good pork flavor which was not fatty or greasy. Ultimately, the topping combinations may be the key to burger bliss here. I ordered Velveeta on my Hog Burger which took me back to my youth while taking it away at the same time. The burgers are priced at $5 and $6 which is an excellent value. (@CMHTobias gave the leftovers a hearty endorsement as well, eating them before the car left the lot).
Ordering the two burgers and eating (most of) each gave me significant street credibility with the the regular patrons and staff. I was on a first name basis with everyone by the time I walked out the door. I was asked to come back soon and to keep an eye out for some of my new friends when in Athens, as it turned out we knew some of the same folks.
If you are hiking the Hocking Hills set aside a little time and stomach space to try a burger from Jimbo’s before or after you hit the trail.
Jimbo’s Bar and Diner
23356 SR 56
(somewhat southwest of the intersection of SR 664 and SR 56)
South Bloomingville, OH