City Paper is not for tourists
Jimmy’s Grille sells itself as a no-hassle, unpretentious place to grab fried food. The pavilion-style restaurant has bare picnic tables, plastic cutlery and mismatched barn siding for wall paneling – this ain’t a place to take your girl, it seems to say, but it is a place to get grease on your chin.
And boy, can you – if you’re willing to spend $9 on two pieces of dark meat. Jimmy’s Grille established itself in Bridgeville, Del. and quickly gained a reputation as a family restaurant and a great breakfast spot. Anyone who was expecting the same in Dewey Beach was fooling themselves – Dewey isn’t Bridgeville, and in calibrating the atmosphere and attitude of their Beach Jimmy’s, owners Highway One knew what they were doing. The open-air eating is fantastic, if you loosen up a little. You’ll have to shout a little, but those priming for a night on the town will get a good start slamming Coronas on the picnic tables.
But brace yourself, and your wallet: this is the beach, and nothing comes cheap. Sixty-six percent of the time, the $9 chicken meal is a good deal; my two companions got healthy white breasts, while I got a shriveled drumstick and a runtish ribcage that tasted somehow dank. Sampling the healthier specimens, I was impressed by the texture, grease saturation – just enough to blot a napkin, not enough to stop your heart – and salinity. I doesn’t beat Kickin’ Chicken in nearby Lewes, but it comes close.
The crabcake is unspectacular, full of stringy meat and soggy with filler. They made up lost points with the sides – the mac and cheese was fluffy but flavorful; the cole slaw was cold, sweet and crisp.
Though they could relax the volume – who needs to hear “Macho Man” at 85 decibels* while scarfing down soul food? – Jimmy’s Grill is an unfussy chicken joint where one can eat not well, but good. But eater beware: if fried food doesn’t give you heartburn, the tab might.
*An amateur estimate. 85 decibels is said to be equivalent to busy city traffic.