Last Saturday Traci and I were craving some barbecue so we headed to Jimbo's Pit Bar-b-que on W. Kennedy Blvd in Tampa. Now Jimbo's isn't the same caliber of 'cue as we had last week at Newberry's Backyard Bar-B-Q, but Jimbo's has usually been good in a pinch. Saturday was no exception.
Jimbo's has been serving up good no-frills, home-style barbecue in the same location on Kennedy since the seventies. There is a sister location in Lakeland. I was told on a previous visit that Jimbo's was started by two brothers- one opened and managed the Lakeland location, the other opened up the Tampa location a few years later.
On this visit I ordered a Jimbo's salad with barbecue chicken on top (I like using Jimbo's warm barbecue sauce as my salad dressing but their homemade blue cheese is good, too), while Traci ordered an oversized hamburger and fries. I've tried their barbecue pork, beef and many of their side items (the hush puppies are particularly tasty, gotta love fried dough) and all of them are pretty good, although the homestyle fries are mediocre.
The menu is simple, as any good barbecue place should be, prices are inexpensive and service is quick and friendly. Again, Jimbo's won't knock your socks off, but it does the trick when we're in the mood for barbecue.
Other Tampa Bay area barbecue joints that are on my list to check out are Big John's Alabama BBQ on N. 40th St and Hickory Hollow in Ellenton. One local place that barbecue-wise I found mediocre was Kojak's House of Ribs on Gandy near Bayshore. The outdoor patio seating at Kojak's is nice and I know the place has been there forever like Jimbo's, but the food needs to at least be above average and Kojak's certainly wasn't.
Bottom-line: While Jimbo's barbecue may not be award-winning, it's better than average and certainly does the trick in a pinch. There's also a drive-thru if you'd rather get your 'cue to go. Keep in mind the drive-thru isn't "instant", which is a good thing.
Inspection Scorecard: Last inspection: May 2006 violations - Critical (4), Non-Critical (4).