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Claim Jumpers, What is good to eat?

I am going to the Claim Jumpers in Lombard, Illinois as an afterwork function with my team. Claim Jumpers won the vote (darn democracy..). I have never been, and am wondering what is good on the menu, I visited their website, and saw what appeared to be the typical ribs, steaks, chicken, and burgers. I also have heard some people compare it to Cheesecake Factory which really makes me not look forward to going at all. Our group will start in the bar for some drinks & appetizers, and move to a table for dinner.

Any recommendations as far as what to eat (appetizers, or main course dishes)? I did a search on Chowhound and didnt really see and answer to this question. Please refrain from the responses of: dont go, or eat nothing, etc. I am going to eat there, as I am not going to stick out as a "troublemaker" among my coworkers. What have others tried and liked? Thanks for any responses

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  1. Welcome to a temple of big food, huge portions. Great selection of beers on tap and in bottles, and the bar snacks are pretty good (I love the shrimp tacquitos available at my local Southern California Claim Jumper). Steaks are decent, I like their prime rib on the bone (weekends only, I believe). Some of the fish and chicken dishes are not too bad.

    Salad bar is decent, in addition to the usual greens my local has pasta salads, with shrimp in them. Be careful quantity wise, you could OD on the salad bar, and then not be able to eat all of your entree.

    Baked potatoes are usually the size of a box car and the desserts are huge (if you take a slice of their chocolate cake home, you will need a shoe box for it) but not very good.

    1. I like their Frisco Burger. We had the shrimp taquitos last Friday and they were delicious. Also, their avocado rolls are good to share as an appetizer. Love their garlic bread, too. Salads are usually pretty good.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Kaisgraham

        I agree on the Frisco burger, it's very good. I've also had their Mother Lode sandwich a few times. This is the mother lode of all sandwiches! It has everything in it, and is about 12 inches tall (OK, I might be exagerrating, it's only 10 inches tall). It has roast beef, turkey, ham, etc. You won't be able to finish it, but at least the leftovers are good enough for 3 more sandwiches.

      2. thanks for the replies folks,

        I am going to go in with an open mind, and enjoy the company of my coworkers out of the office, and good food will be a bonus. I can always enjoy a good burger, and the large selection of beer sounds good as well.

        1. i consider myself a foodie, and i actually like claim jumper. i love soup and salad, and they seem to excel at both. i get the crunchy spinach salad (86 bacon and onion add raspberries) with either the vegetable or french onion soup. the citrus dressing on the salad is really quite phenomenal and their french onion really is one of the best i've ever had, and the veggie has pesto in it which makes it really great tasting veggie soup. it comes with choice of bread, and i really like their corn muffin (great for dunking in the soup.) my claim jumper doesn't have a salad bar, so i'm not sure about that.

          other things i've had there (and liked) on the rare occasion i steer from my usual: chicken pot pie, cashew chicken sandwich with shoestring fries (their fries are very tasty!), raspberry white chocolate cream cheese pie.

          happy eating. i want to hear about your experience!

          5 Replies
          1. re: abbefaith


            Went with the group from work last night, and had a really good time. Started at the bar, and had a few drinks. Decent tequila selection(a few Patrons, Cazadores, etc.. not just Cuervo like many places.), I had a shot of Cabo Wabo Reposado tequila, and my staple bottle of Budweiser, I was tempted by their Honey Blonde beer on tap though. We shared a few appetizers, for a group of 8 we had the crispy prawn snack, and the appetizer combo, the shrimp were different and ok, the other appetizers were all good bar food.

            As for dinner, I had the 8 oz filet done medium rare with the cheese potato cakes as my side. The filet was done perfect, not the prime beef I spoil myself with at home, but still melted in my mouth as a filet should, the potato cakes were good, mashed red potatoes fried with chives, and cheese. I also had a cup of french onion soup, not the worst I have had but not the best, too many croutons soaked up most of the broth.. Others in my group had the cobb salad, the porterhouse, the crab wedge salad, and a couple had ribs. No complaints from anyone. At the table I switched to the Honey Blonde beer on tap, it is vey similar to one of my favorites Leinenkugels Honey Weat beer, also a shot of Patron.

            All in all a good chain experience, a place I would return with a group from work, or for a lunch.

            1. re: swsidejim

              thanks for the report! i'm glad you liked it. bummer about the french onion soup. i guess i like a lot of croutons, although for some reason i feel like when i've had it there's just been one big crouton under the cheese. i don't remember for sure though. i just know that if i go there and someone else orders it i get envious just smelling it. yum. if you like salads, i would suggest trying one of theirs sometime. =)

              1. re: abbefaith

                the salads did look excellent, especially the cobb salad.. I was intrigued by the crab wedge salad, I love crab, but really wanted a steak last night., Perhaps next time.

                thanks for the input.

                1. re: swsidejim

                  even just the side salads are good. they have one called "the small green salad", and it's their smallest salad (they also have "appetizer salads" which are bigger and then of course dinner salads). there are delicious cornbread croutons in it. it's great with honey mustard or your favorite dressing. wow i really need to get my cj fix.

                  1. re: swsidejim

                    Their BBQ chicken salad is really good, too. They have finely chopped cabbage, lettuce, and jicama, which makes for great texture. Very crisp and refreshing. Corn, black beans, tomato, scallions, and cilantro contribute the flavor part and it's topped with a light drizzle of BBQ ranch. The chicken is tender, which is a nice touch, because I usually hate chicken on salads because tough chicken kills it. It's one of those salads where the flavor of the ingredients are nicely balanced and doesn't even need the dressing, which fits my criteria for a great salad.

            2. go for the fried zuchs! best i have ever had that are not from my nonna!

              1. I also think Claim Jumper is pretty good for a chain. They don't take themselves too seriously, they stick to their forte of simple fare with big portions at a fair value, and in my limited experience here in California they manage to instill a good customer service priority to their staff. Keep it simple -- have fried starters with your drinks, enjoy a trip to the salad bar if that location has one, and then enjoy some meat and potatoes. I've enjoyed the ribs -- you won't get a smoke ring and its not a Texas BBQ-joint specialty, but pretty good. Not the place I'd order pasta or anything requiring a subtle touch.

                1. for dessert, get their bran muffin!!! it's like pieces of bran suspended in caramel and then they put a bunch of butter on it (i ask for the butter on the side because it's just too much). man - i haven't had one in years... i need to go get one!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: arifa

                    i love those muffins but i wish they didn't put raisins in it.

                  2. You better have a big appitite as the portions are huge. Actually quite good IMHO. Recommend: Cheese potato cakes, The blue cheese wedge salad is excellent I ask for it chopped, Widow maker burger, Calzone,

                    1. I like the iceburg wedge, with real bacon bits and lots of bleu cheese. *thanks for the tip on asking for it chopped...it can be a daunting salad otherwise

                      They have a decent chicken enchilada soup as well.

                      I only ever order soup and salad there because the portions are scary big.

                      a closet claim jumper fan

                      ETA: I think the reason Claim Jumper puts people off, and can't say that I blame them, is the over-the-top excess there. It's the epitome of big portions/fat America. And the apple on the plate...seems like such a waste since noone ever eats them.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: mamamia

                        I like the apple, but you are sooo right. While working at a japanese restaurant as a waiter I always noticed that the perfectly ripe piece of fruit, be it melon, orange etc included as dessert on the bento box was 8/10 untouched upon clearing. Sad. ("What kind of Mochi Ice cream d'ya got?")

                      2. for lunch the personal pizza/caesar salad combo is pretty good.

                        1. Claim Jumper exists for only one reason ... to serve the "Widow Maker Burger" on unsuspecting diners.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            i just looked it up after reading your post... sounds delicious!

                            1. re: abbefaith

                              Here's a picture ... although a 2-D photo hardly does this thing justice.

                                1. re: calabasas_trafalgar

                                  Yup, supposed to be "double-thick" as well ...

                          2. They used to serve a sandwich called the 49er Stack, as well as a pasta dish called the Black Tie Pasta. After they pulled them off the menu, my friends and I would still order it and be served anyway, sort of like a secret menu deal (Black Tie eventually came back).

                            1. Meatloaf Sandwich, less lettuce & tomato. Yum.

                              Also mozzarella sticks could sub for baseball bats. Yum again.

                              Take home caramel apple crumb cheesecake for dessert.

                              1. Chicken Tenderloins with the shoestring French Fries

                                Blue Cheese Wedge - CHOPPED

                                California Citrus Salad with extra Bleu Cheese - MY FAVE

                                Little House Salad - Corn Bread Croutons are soooo good

                                Chicken Tortilla Soup or French Onion Soup

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: KellBell

                                  i love the french onion and i love the cornbread croutons!!!!

                                2. yes on the meatloaf! cheese potatocakes (how can you say no??). crunchy spinach salad. their lunch combos are also a great deal.

                                  1. One of our vendors is taking us out to drinks, and dinner @ Claim Jumper tomorrow night for Christmas. I have gone 2 or 3 times in the past, and the food was ok for a chain. Both times I had the filet, and each time it was a decent steak.

                                    I am curious about the 24 oz. Porterhouse aged 28 days, has anyone tried it, or the Filet and Lobster Tail Combo? Those are the two menu items I am leaning towards, and was curious of any feedback.


                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: swsidejim

                                      You usually HATE chains!. :-} This must be some good place to have lured you over to the 'Dark Side' :-}

                                      1. re: Tay

                                        I did not choose Claim Jumper for this dinner, but with it being a work function I had to try to make the best of it. This seems to be a popular place for my co-workers, and the vendors that take us out to eat sometimes.

                                        Well I ordered the Porterhouse, and this steak I do not think was dry aged, as their website states. The steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare, but the N.Y. Strip side had a large band of fat on it, and the filet side was small. An average steak, I was not expecting prime beef for $30, and I didnt pick up the tab so I was not totally disappointed.

                                      2. re: swsidejim

                                        My phone rang at 9pm one evening and it was my boss. Turns out he was at Claim Jumper enjoying the porterhouse and he wanted to curse at me for introducing him to it and causing more need for Vytorin (all jokingly... that's how we work). Anyway, he enjoyed it and I trust his taste, so it's probably worth a try. May not be the best steak you've ever had, but it might be pretty decent.

                                      3. I love the jambalaya (no thank you on the shrimp, though) at CJ's. I always get the large so I have a few days of leftovers to look forward to. I always get it over rice and I love the sausage they use in it. Delicious. I agree with everyone else who mentioned the cornbread...delicious stuff that! I used to like this bruleed lemon bar, but it is just waaaaay too sweet for me these days.

                                        1. I don't enjoy their food that much but their desserts are notoriously huge and great!

                                          I tried their green tea and ginger creme brulee once and it was delicious.