The first inkling we had that J/R's may be the place for ribs came when we tried a rack at an establishment opened by former cooks of the well-known eatery.
There, the meat just fell off the ribs and melted in our mouths. The ribs we tried later at yet another popular restaurant didn't quite match what we found at the less expensive and more casual Beach House.
But J/R's the Place for Ribs doesn't disappoint. Plus you get your choice of two locations: 62nd Street or 131st Street.
We arrived early at the north beach address to avoid late dinner-hour crowds and find time to linger over a tasty onion ring loaf and barbecued baby back ribs.
We ordered a half-order of J/R's "famous French fried" onion ring loaf ($2.75) -- battered onion rings served in a loaf. While the batter was ordinary, the onions were sweet and tender. They won a hearty endorsement from a non-onion eating child in our family.
J/R's also offers "super garden salads" and soups as appetizersThe evening we visited the soup choices were chicken noodle and Maryland crab soup.
Suspecting that the ribs would be more than enough to satisfy our appetites, we passed on soups and salad (though the salads did look wonderful).
Of course, we ordered the specialty -- barbecued baby back ribs ($13.95). We were served a large rack of meaty ribs -- slowly barbecued with J/R's special sauce. They were succulent and could forever put to rest the perception that ribs are a lot of work for little reward.
Entrees are served with ranch fries -- nice fresh cuts of potato -- and a choice of cole slaw or applesauce. The homemade cole slaw was good.
Besides ribs, the restaurant features barbecued chicken, rib and chicken combinations, steaks and seafood.
While several entrees sounded appealing, we came for the ribs. And from the hordes of diners around us wearing plastic bibs, it was obvious others were there to do so, too.
The children in our party ordered barbecue chicken ($4.95), served with French fries and either cole slaw or applesauce. The children' menu also features London broil ($6.50), ribs ($6.95) and hamburgers ($3.95).
If you're as smitten by the barbecue sauce as one person in our party, you can purchase a quart ($3.95) from J/R's gift shop.
One of the nice features of J/R's menu is that beer and wine prices are listed and the prices are slightly cheaper than other
eateries. A 12-ounce draft, for example, is $1.75. Diners may purchase a beer in a take-home, 16-ounce boot glass for $5.25.
The atmosphere at J/R's is casual. And although the dining area is quite large, we felt comfortable. The restaurant is sparsely decorated with hanging plants and pictures of food and the beach.
J/R's also features ice cream desserts, such as a turtle pie, dutch chocolate ice cream on a black bottom crust and layered with caramel and fudge and pecans. It sounded delectable, but we had more than our share from dinner.
J/R's the Place for Ribs
62nd and Coastal Highway and 131st and Coastal Highway, (410) 524-RIBS.
Hours: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily, except Sundays, when it opens at 3:30 p.m.
Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard and Discover.
No separate area for non-smokers.