The sign out front says it all: “22 Pool Tables – 22 Burgers – 22 Beers.” But when you walk into Jimmy’s Pro Billiards, all you see is an ocean of pool tables. Where exactly does one go to eat?
… To the back corner, by the bar, where there are a few tables and chairs set out. This could lead some people to believe that the “22 Burgers” is just hype, that Jimmy’s is really only about the billiards. But that’s not the case at all. Beyond the rows of pool tables, behind a movable wall that shields the grill from the diners, Jimmy’s is frying up far-better-than-average burgers — burgers worthy of a stop, even if you’re not a billiards fan, as a recent installment of the Central Avenue Checklist explained.
There are indeed 22 burgers on the menu: everything from classic burgers (plain, bacon and cheese) to novelties like Taco, Reuben, and Italian. There are also rumors of a burger number 23, an off-menu concoction involving mozzarella sticks. Sadly, it was unknown at our recent daytime visit, but the staff said that it might be a creation offered by the night crew. “And anyway, we’ll make any kind of a burger anyone asks for, as long as we have the ingredients,” the day cook told us.
That willingness to please is another reason to visit Jimmy’s. Can we get some mayo? “No problem!” How’s the seasoned sour cream ($1.50)? “Excellent — I used to work at Champps, and I use their recipe.” The day we visited, our server was also our cook, and he honestly seemed to care whether we were pleased with our meal.
And boy, were we. We tried the Bleu Burger ($10), a burger slathered with blue cheese dressing, Cheddar cheese and bacon. The freshly made burger (or, as the sign out front says, “Hand Patted”) was thick and juicy. The blue cheese dressing didn’t overwhelm the burger, but added a nice tang to the gooey Cheddar, and the bacon added both a welcome salty-smoky flavor and some crunch.
The Grinder ($10) gets its name because the chopped onion and bacon, and grated cheese is mixed with the meat. The patty is served with thousand island dressing, lettuce, and tomato. With no bacon sticking out from under the bun, its flavor became less noticeable, more of an accent, and that’s just fine. The buns were sturdy, yet soft, a fine match for the heavy-duty patties. The accompanying hand-cut fries were crispy and greasy, and meltingly soft in the middle, the way fries should be.
Our only (slight) complaint was that no one asked how we wanted our burgers cooked, and they turned up medium-well. If you like your burgers less well done, be sure to point that out when ordering.
But the final judgment came from a dining companion, who said, “I ate every single bite, every crumb, and I would have growled at anyone who tried to take my plate before I was finished.”
Jimmy’s Pro Billiards
Burgers, beer, and billiards
4040 Central Ave NE
Columbia Heights, MN 55421
Hours: 10 a.m.-1 a.m. daily
Vegetarian / Vegan: Yes / No
Entree Range: $5-$10