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Claim Jumper... Pretty Good.

f
Fussy Foodie Jul 20, 2007 02:24 PM

So, stuck in the middle of surburbia for lunch once again, the wife and I decided to try a new chain restaurant... well, new to our area anyway. We stopped by Claim Jumper for a late (3:30) lunch. The place is freaking huge, we estimated about 500 seats in the dining area and about 100 in the bar, it was about 10% full when we went. I asked the waiter if it ever gets filled up and he laughed and replied that weekend waits can run upwards of 3 hours!

The restaurant is brand new so it was very clean. Our server was great, effecient and relaxed, and knew the menu well. The menu, by the way, is huge. I had a tri-tip dip and the wife had a mini pizza and app salad combo. The salad was great, fresh mixed greens, walnuts, pears, some veggies and a nice light dressing. The pizza was what you would expect from a none pizza/Italian place, not too bad though. The tri-tip was super tender and well flavored, cooked just above med. rare. We also gave in to a red velvet cupcake. My wife is an expert on these. She said that the frosting was spot on, but the cupcake was slightly dry, still good.

Now, I've ripped some chains on this board before, namely PF Changs and Applebees. But this was a very refreshing chain restaurant experience. We never felt rushed, we were able to relax and we got some good food. Is this an above average chain in general? We did go at a slow time so maybe more attention was paid to our dishes. Anyone else care to chime in? We may go again, but I'm scared it can only go downhill from here.

  1. f
    Fog City Kid Jul 20, 2007 05:38 PM

    We live in the San Francisco Bay Area and have to drive over a hour to our nearest one.
    We do it a lot. Look in your Supermarket freezer for their Pot Pies and other dinners. They are all excellent. Enjoy...

    1. m
      malibumike Jul 21, 2007 09:12 AM

      I know a lot of people who like to put down Claim Jumper to show others their "superior culinary tastes" but I think Claim Jumper is great in its own catagory, gourmet? no but good value for the money. The atmosphere is great, and so are the servers and of course the quantity is enormous along with the quality being good. The wedge salads are also very good.

      1. m
        mlgb Jul 24, 2007 03:57 PM

        Used to go the location in San Pedro. The always got our group out of there in a reasonable amount of time and no one complained about their food. I was pleasantly surprised. I generally got salads and chicken dishes.

        1. MeAndroo Jul 25, 2007 04:27 PM

          The Claim Jumper by Knotts in Buena Park is sort of a staple of visitors to the park, and I still remember the first time I ever went. If you were under 12, they weighed you and charged you by weight at around 10 cents a pound, or something. I always thought it was a funny gimmick, though maybe a bit embarrassing for bigger kids.

          I always thought the food was decent. I love the cheese potato cake side dish and their desserts are enormous, but nothing else stood out as amazing. We go there now to have a beer or two in a restaurant when someone's not feeling too adventurous and we want food without the bar ambiance.

          2 Replies
          1. re: MeAndroo
            k
            Kari Jul 25, 2007 05:22 PM

            That was the first Claim Jumper I tried. I remember thinking how fun it was to be there as a kid. (teen). I remember the cheesy garlic bread and back then they brought you as much as you wanted at no charge...gone are those days.

            1. re: MeAndroo
              f
              Fussy Foodie Jul 25, 2007 05:39 PM

              Yeah, I liked the potato cakes and the slaw that was served with them was really good. On our second trip my wife had the tuna sandwich which was also surprisingly good, could only get through half. I had the rotisserie chicken and it was awful. Very dry and bland. We're still 4 for 5 though, and that's great for any restaurant, let alone a chain.

            2. s
              swsidejim Jul 26, 2007 07:08 AM

              I have been to Claim Jumper twice, and had a decent meal each time I was there. The first time I had a steak, and the second time a grilled cob sandwich. Each time the food was ok, the steak was cooked perfectly, and the fried potato cakes are pretty good.

              The one thing that was bad as with most chains was the price of their tequila, shote were around $7-$10 each for the same brandsPatron, tres generaciones, Cabo.) I order at bars that charge $5 per shot. I imagine it is to discourage people from going alot of shots and getting out of hand. Not a destination place but for a quick weeknight dinner, or a lunch it is ok.

              1. hotteacher1976 Jul 31, 2007 05:32 PM

                It's a pretty decent chain restaurant.

                1. Chew on That Aug 24, 2007 11:30 AM

                  I didn't have a good experience with Claim Jumper. There's a new one right by my house that I tried out. After about a month, I tried it out and the service stunk. They were fine about taking back food and everything - but things just took awhile and I literally saw busboys dropping food on the floor and not realizing it. The desserts were huge and amazing though, but the food was just ok. I wouldn't highhhly recommend it.

                  1. c
                    calabasas_trafalgar Aug 24, 2007 11:53 AM

                    It's not bad for lunch, but the wait at dinnertime can be horrendous.

                    1. Zizi Aug 29, 2007 11:01 PM

                      Their $20 appetizer platter full of fried foods is huge and delicious. Mozerella sticks are great. It's way more than enough food for 2 people to eat as an entree, if you can handle all of the fried foods.

                      1. f
                        flyerfan182 Aug 29, 2007 11:51 PM

                        how is claim jumpers pizza?

                        always wanted to try it

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: flyerfan182
                          c
                          calabasas_trafalgar Aug 30, 2007 03:52 PM

                          They make a great sausage/pepperoni combo with a salad for one of their lunch specials. One word of caution: Not all Claim Jumpers have pizza. They have some corporate restriction that if there is a pizzeria(even a Pizza Hut or Domino's takeout) within the same center or walking distance, that was already there when Claim Jumper came, then they won't sell pizza at that location. I've been shut out twice because of that.

                          1. re: calabasas_trafalgar
                            s
                            shanda013 Aug 30, 2007 05:47 PM

                            been there twice both times ordered the cashew chicken sandwich. first time good second time no flavor at all. the fries are descent. my dad ordered the club and it looked like it was harder then a rock and dry. my soup (creamy potato) was good, dad's soup was tortilla chicken and was almost too salty to eat. The prices are too much for what the food tastes like and the service was not that great we asked for ranch and ketchup twice and never recieved them. id prob go back but order something different to eat.

                            1. re: shanda013
                              f
                              Fussy Foodie Aug 31, 2007 04:11 PM

                              The asian pear and walnut salad is outstanding!!!

                              I have found everything with grilled or rotisserie chicken to be awfully dry.

                              PIzza's are okay, a bit soggy and overcheesed, but good toppings.

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