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Mar 8, 2007 08:58 PM

Claim Jumper Restaurant - Wheeling, IL

Hey all,

Across from the new Tramonto and Gand experience at the Wheeling Westin is now a Claim Jumper Restaurant as well. This location opened on Monday for the first time and Karen and I decided to brave it and try out this new restaurant on opening night.

I had noticed on their website that they have special dietary menus, which I really found attractive. I wrote into their customer service, who quickly responded with a list of items that I could eat and could modify (including what modification) in their restaurant with my dietary limitations. A huge stress relief!

When we got to the restaurant, it became clear it was very much a chain. It's a fairly large, nicely decorated place, with many friendly folks ready to greet you. One of the managers sat us at our table, who was more than happy to go speak with the head chef regarding which dishes he felt were a good fit for my specific needs. Before doing so, they did ask what type of meal I felt like having, as the menu is huge! The wait staff also asked if I would feel more comfortable if the kitchen staff used separate pans, utensils and changed their gloves while preparing my food. Again, much appreciated!

We started out with the ahi tuna, which was out of this world. It was one of the pricier appetizers, but worth every cent. A very generous helping of seasoned tuna, with asian slaw and so forth. Very enjoyable! Karen got the macadamia nut crusted halibut and I got the cedar planked salmon. Both portions were very large and the entrees were good. Karen thought her's was a little sweet and mine relied upon the bbq sauce a bit, but both were enjoyable. Karen's drink was excellent, huge and priced reasonably.

We'll probably be back again soon, so we should have a few more opinions. This was on day one and I felt they did an excellent job. We'll see how our second trip fairs!


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  1. Thanks for the report.

    This is their third location in the Chicago area (Lombard, Hoffman Estates). Any idea if they are all basically identical? (Some chains are more identical than others.)

    3 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy

      No problem! Happy to help out other frequent diners!

      This was my first experience with the chain, though I'd think many would be alike. They seemed to have a strong western motif and you realize that you are in a chain as soon as you notice the sheriff badge name tags. A nice touch! :)

      It reminded me a bit of Cheesecake Factory. Neither are "inexpensive" chains, but both have huge menus with many diverse items. Claim Jumper, I'd say, is very kid/family friendly.

      As illustrated in many other threads, I'm a pretty big fan of the restaurants they share their parking lot with, so I do have resist the lure a bit, but Claim Jumper really isn't trying to be in the same mold of the Osteria, Steak and Seafood or RT Lounge. Claim Jumper is a much more relaxed environment and, again, probably great for kids. I may give it another whirl tomorrow. It was a fun place and the folks really did take great care with the ingredients and were all exceptionally friendly.

      1. re: MDhaliwal

        You hit the nail on the head...Claim Jumper was born here in Orange County, CA and they have numerous locations here and throughout SoCal (hey, we got a Portillo''s!). Despite it being a chain, it is still new to the CHicago are and deserves to be talked about (good or bad) here.

        Like many mid-upscale chains, they tend to do most things well to very well, but few things over-the-top outstanding. Probably the thing they are most known for is the size of their portions...from the muffins and desserts to the overall portion size of the entree...I'd say a good number of patrons leave with doggie bags or a significant portion of the food remaining on the plate.

        Overall, something different for the Chicago area and a place that appetitites of all ages and types can be well-satisfied.

        1. re: RSMBob

          Yes, the portions were outstanding in size! The dessert they were telling us about could easily feed 2-3 folks after a meal that size.

          Like I had mentioned, the tuna appetizer, we both thought, was very good and the amount of tuna was greatly appreciated. The preparation was well executed, the tuna tasted great and the garnish was well thought out. The meals, again, huge, were pretty good. We both enjoyed the whole experience and I'd go back again. I agree with RSMBob in that they do lots of things well, but maybe only a few things truly outstanding. I felt the tuna was an outstanding choice and I am a pretty big tuna fan, so I really expect a good deal from my tuna dishes!

          The menu is huge, like Cheesecake Factory (as a point of comparison), but without advertising on each page. I'd guess one could probably go to this restaurant 4-5 times before hitting on the dish that's "just right" for them. Variety is nice!

    2. Well that was fast. Opened on Monday and reviews are already coming in. I had dinner there on Tuesday night with 6 other guys, most of whom were and are big eaters. I was the only one to take food home and that portion was enough for an entire dinner for my wife. I shared a barbeque combo platter with huge beef ribs, 1/2 a chicken and 1/2 slab of pork ribs, all excellent. The entree salad I shared was also quite large and excellent. We did not order appetizers but the selection was very large and not inexpensive. Portions on all dishes were huge and again all dishes were excellent. The service was attentive but they still have to work out some glitches such as bringing out huge salads and 3 minutes later the dinner entrees. As for desserts - as big as Gibson's!!! 7 layer cake about 12" long. A "D'eclaire" that you have to see to believe and only $8.95 was enough for our whole table. The place reminded me of J. Alexander's - it is large, woody and comfortable. Another nice feature is that we were able to talk and be heard. Carpets on the floor help keep the noise level down. I plan on going back and I know that my wife will like it as there is something for everyone. Don

      1. OK, I'm going to go get a lot of flack for this, but I think the portions at Claim Jumper are ridiculous. I ordered a brownie to go from there in the LA area once and I swear it was the size of a 9x9 brownie PAN. We should not be so happy about these portions given that our city is consistently voted one of the fattest in the US. Yes, people have personal responsibility, but knowing human psychology, it is not right to market these dishes as non-family style portions. Let the tomatoes fly at me now!

        2 Replies
        1. re: NDJ

          I ate at another restaurant with big portions last night, and the server was very clear about which portion sizes were sufficient for what (e.g. that the Caesar salad size was sufficient to be split three ways as an appetizer). And we brought home doggie bags of leftovers from our entrees.

          Just because it is sold as a single serving, doesn't mean it has to be consumed that way.

          1. re: nsxtasy

            I completely agree, but many people are not responsible enough eaters to do that. I presume your table was of reasonably fit people. Look around though, there are a lot of people without that will power. Or perhaps they have it in public, then go home and eat their leftovers same night. Places like this also lead a lot of people to resent getting a normal sized appropriate portion at other restaurants. It's what lead to Super Size Me. Even McDonalds has recognized this and got rid of the Super Size.

        2. Large portions can be nice-the restaurant usually gets a free ad when coworkers see you whipping out the doggie bag for lunch. I resent, though, having to pay for a huge protion that was never intended to feed one person and have to throw it away--I feel like I threw my money away. Why couldn't I PAY for one meal since that is what I ordered. I doggie bag in the home area but can't many times when traveling. And that's when I hate paying a large price for a 2-3 person entree.

          1. Did this Claim Jumper have a salad bar?

            3 Replies
            1. re: bryan

              That's a good question! I didn't really look for one. They did have a regular, alcohol serving, bar. That looked quite extensive!

              I'll keep my eyes open for a salad bar during my next trip.

              1. re: MDhaliwal

                Yes, Claim Jumpers do have a salad bar, not bad either. My favorite is a cup of their potatoe cheese soup and blue wedge salad plenty for a hearty appetite. Another favorite is their Black Tie Pasta, but again, the portions are huge and it doesn't reheat very well.

                1. re: Mommy2Bryce

                  Not all Claim Jumpers have salad bars. That's why I was asking about the one in Wheeling in particular.