Monday, September 23, 2013

Brother Jimmy’s BBQ Murray Hill: The Perfect Place For Weekend Family Fun!

By: Anne Raso

The Brother Jimmy’s BBQ location in Murray Hill is considered their “flagship store” and one of the few eateries in NYC with permission to smoke meats in their basement. On top of that, they are one of the few restaurants able to spit roast a full size pig, something they did in honor of their fifth birthday recently. VIPS from the food press as well as longtime neighborhood customer came to eat the hog “on the house”! (Bet you can’t name too many people who would have a party where anyone in the neighborhood could turn up and eat for free.)
Wooden Pigs Hanging

I love the casual atmosphere of Brother Jimmy’s including the vintage Southern roadside art and signs that are hanging up all over the place. The Murray Hill location features an upstairs Skeeball machine in mint condition, as well as two downstairs by the private dining rooms. I recently went on a Sunday afternoon with my sister Carolyn Blocher, niece Charlotte Blocher (who came up from Northern Virginia on the Amtrak train and wanted to celebrate her tenth birthday with some good BBQ), as well as her best friend Celina Glenn, also 10.
The girls were asked if they wanted balloons after checking in at the front desk (reservations are not necessary at Brother Jimmy’s, though). All kids are asked if they want balloons, whether they are celebrating a birthday or not. I warned my sister, niece and her friend that the food portions would be giant here, so it would be hard to fit in appetizers--unless they wanted to take food home to Virginia on the train with them. Brother Jimmy’s Dry Rub Ribs—also know as Northern Style Ribs—are my favorite pork ribs in the entire city. Since everyone else in my party was new to Jimmy’s, I suggested the dry rub ribs for all and mentioned that there are four types of barbecue sauce put on the table if anyone felt the ribs needed sauce.
Southern Ribs with Brussels Sprouts, Cornbread and Sweet Potato Fries
These pork ribs are thick and juicy, simply seasoned with salt and pepper, and you get about eight in a serving. Unless you have a gargantuan appetite, you always winded up taking them home. One order is enough for two ten-year-old children, no question. There is also a kids’ menu with half sizes of most of BJ’s most popular dishes as well. Most dinner entrees are $16 to $21 with the two sides included. Sides themselves are usually $4.50 each.
Northern Ribs with Regular and Sweet Potato Fries
Brother Jimmy’s offers a great selection of down-home “comfort” sides, and diners get two with each entrée. Diners get choices including their now famous Macaroni & Cheese, Sweet Potato Fries, Brussels Sprouts, Mashed Potatoes With Gravy, Tater Tots, Black Eyed Peas With Bacon, Fried Okra, Spiced String Beans, French Fries and Collard Greens. I am particularly fond of their Fried Brussel Sprouts. Each sprout is simply cut in half lengthwise and fried in canola oil. They are crisp on the outside, soft on the inside and simply packed with flavor. In general, the food comes quickly and service is attentive. Everyone is so friendly here that it’s hard to believe that you are in The Big Apple and not in North Carolina somewhere.
Apple Pie with Max & Mina Vanilla Ice Cream
Brother Jimmy’s desserts are simple and homemade on the premises—except for their wonderful ice cream which is hand-churned out at Max & Mina’s in the Kew Garden Hills area of Flushing, Queens. So even if you order vanilla ice cream as you dessert, it will be packed with giant fresh vanilla bean flavor and be super-creamy. Most likely it will have been made the previous day. The standout dessert at Brother Jimmy’s is the Apple Pie. It is more of an apple tart with French crumbs. The crumbs on top have a cinnamony taste, the apples are sliced as thin as paper and the crust is soft, warm and fresh. I say it rivals any apple pie served in the big apple even though the Brownie Sundae is the big favorite of diners. Most desserts are priced at $7. Kids love not only the food at BJ’s but the many large screen TVs—and, of course, the beloved Skeeball machines (which are very hard to find outside of the Jersey Shore). There are crayons in a cute wooden pig holder on each table and an interesting paper placemat with pig themes for kids to color.
Brownie Sundae
It would be hard to find a place more kid-friendly than Brother Jimmy’s in Manhattan. They don’t even care if your kids are loud, LOL. Another plus for parents is that there is a tremendous amount of space between tables to put in a high chair or lay down the shopping bags you have been carrying all day.

We here at hope to see you and your rugrats at Brother Jimmy’s soon—especially if you need a really big Southern drink after chasing your kids around all day. The alcoholic drinks at are served in mason jars, so you not only get quality, you get quantity. (Let me add that for teetotalers, they have the wonderful Boylan’s Sodas here including the famous.

Brother Juimmy's Murray Hill
181 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10016
(212) 779-7427
Cuisine: American BBQ

Brother Jimmy's BBQ on Urbanspoon

Photos: Anne Raso

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