Jimmy’s Roundup Cafe: OKC’s best chicken fry and a whole lot more
Jimmy’s Roundup Cafe is located at 1301 SW 59th Street in Oklahoma City (map). Call them at 405.685.1177. Jimmy’s is open 7 days a week.
Well I found myself cruising around SW 59th again looking for some shady wonders and stumbled upon a not-so-shady but wonderful place called Jimmy’s Roundup Cafe. There are lots of shady spots in the area around here. In fact, we had a gun pulled on us just down the road a few days ago, but that’s another review. Jimmy’s lacks too many shady qualities to be part of the prestigious Shady Restaurant club, but it does have a lot of qualities that make it a fantastic place to eat on the south side of OKC. Jimmy’s is family friendly, work lunch friendly, and very friendly to your stomach and taste buds.
Jimmy’s Round-Up Cafe has apparently been around for years and at multiple locations. He had a few locations on the north side that are no longer there but has since consolidated to just one location. Our first experience was fantastic. We were immediately recognized as non-regulars, and that prompted a visit from Jimmy himself. Jimmy was not afraid of his food or the quality. He proceeded to sell me on the selection I should have and offered to buy it back from me if I wasn’t completely satisfied. I respect that in a restaurant owner.
The decor has that good-ole’ country diner feel. Dark wood beams cris-crossing around, decorated plates, plus a load of cowboy and country decorations. They also have a crane machine to tempt you into spending several dollars in hopes of scoring that awesome 50 cent toy. And, of course, they have a couple candy dispensers. My favorite non-food items in the place however are the fiber-optic ball caps! That’s right, get your OU, OSU, or even Texas fiber-optic hat right at the register. If they start selling Jimmy’s Round-Up fiber-optic merchandise you may see me sporting a new hat around town!
The food offerings are actually pretty diverse. You have your standard country diner options (catfish, chicken fried steaks, burgers, and sandwiches), a fairly good-sized BBQ offering (claiming the tenderest ribs in town), and now some Mexican dishes as well.
I’ll start with what Jimmy sold me on. It was a dish that consisted of tender cuts of beef covered in his signature BBQ sauce. I was a little nervous, especially after the last couple of recommendations I’ve had, but this was a winner! The cuts of beef in these types of dishes are usually left over from the previous “special” and drowned in a sauce to hide the flavor and help you break down all the un-chewable connective tissue. Not in the case of Jimmy’s special. This was fantastically tender, full of flavor, and accompanied by two home-style sides (I had fried okra that rivaled Pappy’s and mashed potatoes with gravy). You also get a basket of homemade dinner rolls with every meal. I like to dip my rolls in the little puddle of grease at the bottom of the cup of fried okra, but that’s just me.
As good as my meal was, however, the shining star at Jimmy’s is the chicken fried steak. I will put myself out there and claim it as the best in OKC. I think it’s the best value in town, not to mention the best taste. For $4.99 you get chicken fried steak, two sides, and a roll. This chicken fried steak uses a very light batter, and it’s fork tender. Amazing. Too often the chicken fry’s in this town are heavy, thick batters — thicker than the cut of meat hidden inside. They also tend to be Texas-sized with a Texas price, and infused with all the flavors of the kitchen that have been dipped in the same grease. Not so here (oh, and don’t leave nasty comments about how Ann’s Chicken Fry is better until you have tried Jimmy’s).
There is a lot to try at Jimmy’s. There are other great deals including a Super Bowl Special for ribs (seasonal, of course) and all you can eat catfish for $9.99. I may never get past the chicken fried steak again, but if you do, you may want to try the cinnamon rolls that are the size of my head. And I have a big head.
There is a guy who sits right next to the cash register who is there every time I’m there, and apparently there for breakfast too. Don’t take my word for it, ask him. He will be happy to tell you about the great food offerings here. Plus, if you can’t decide on what to eat, Jimmy will be happy to make personal recommendations and back them up with a guarantee. The wait staff here is fantastic as well. They are sold on what this place has to offer. The waiter we had last time spent so much time telling us how we should be bringing back friends and spreading the Jimmy’s Round-Up gospel that we accused him of being the owner and having the other Jimmy as a stunt double. He said he was simply a loyal waiter and loved his job. Refreshing huh?
Our only complaint comes from a friend who went there and had some serious confusion on the bill. They have a lot of specials, and apparently can get confused on when something is on special price or not. He really had to go around and around a few times with his bill to figure it out. I have not had a bad experience personally.
Go try Jimmy’s Round-Up. Take your family, take your co-workers, or take me! You will find something here that you will find time to go back for, I guarantee it. Like I said, I may never make it past the chicken fried steak, so please let us know what else is good here and any other thoughts on Jimmy’s in the comments.