Claim Jumper Restaurants, started in 1977 by founder Craig Nickoloff, now consist of 46 locations in 8 states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin. The restaurants serve a selection of more upscale, American style food, including baby back pork ribs, steaks, fish, salads, pizzas, and burgers. The bar, or “saloon” as it is called, serves a wide assortment of drinks, and has an extensive menu of cocktails.
I was recently at an Illinois-based Claim Jumper restaurant for a birthday party. The 13 of us arrived around 7PM on a Saturday. Claim Jumper was moderately packed, so it was a good thing we had a reservation already. Stepping in, we encountered a very expansive area complete with high ceilings, log furniture, fireplaces, pictures of gold prospectors, and even several antler chandeliers. However, the place had more of a prairie-style architecture than log cabin, so I wasn’t sure how certain items fit in, especially those antler chandeliers. Still, the place looked good, and I found its aforementioned log chairs to be quite comfortable (and heavy!).
I looked at the place’s menu for appetizers to order. Claim Jumper offers several intriguing appetizers, such as Crispy Shrimp Taquitos (spicy jumbo shrimp wrapped in corn tortillas), Avocado Rolls (wrapped and deep-fried avocado, chilis, red peppers, and spices), Cheese Potatocakes (mashed potatoes, plus parmesan, cheddar, and jack cheeses, mixed with cilantro, onion, dill, and breading, then deep-fried), and Oven Roasted Tomato Flatbread (flatbread covered with a garlic cream spread, mozzarella cheese, oregano, tomatoes, spinach, and gouda cheese). We ordered the Appetizer Combo, which consists of roasted artichoke, buffalo wings, zucchini, mozzarella sticks, parmesan garlic rings, loaded potato skins, southwest eggrolls, and cheese potatocakes.
The appetizer came to us in about 10 minutes and consisted of a fair amount of food (but it did cost almost $20). Although many of the items on this appetizer were deep-fried, nothing was overly greasy or overcooked. Even the artichokes were still crispy and fresh.
We then started looking at the dinner offerings. Claim Jumper offers many different items as main entrées, from pizzas and burgers to soups and huge salads, as well as steaks and fish. Some entrée examples include salads such as the Salmon Caesar Salad (blackened or broiled salmon, romaine lettuce, parmesan, and Caesar dressing), and the Citrus Chicken Salad (charbroiled or Jamaican jerk chicken, mandarin oranges, green apples, avocado, raisins, cranberries, pecans, bleu cheese crumbles, green onions, and citrus dressing). Soups include New England Clam Chowder, French Onion, Vegetable Soup, Creamy Tortilla Chicken Soup, and Baked Potato Cheddar.
Larger entrées are the Shrimp Skewers, Cedar Plank Salmon, Prime Rib, Lobster, New York Strip, BBQ Baby Back Pork Ribs, Beef Ribs, Rotisserie Chicken, and Porterhouse Steak.
I ordered the Oaxacan Style Sea Bass, which consists of sautéed sea bass served with a spicy tomato herb broth over rice and asparagus. Other members of my party ordered Chicken BBQ pizza, Baked Potato Cheddar soup, and even a Giant Stuffed Idaho Potato (topped with chicken, squash, broccoli, carrots, and melted cheddar and jack cheeses).
Our food took about 20 minutes to arrive, which I thought was pretty amazing for a party of 13 individuals. I found my sea bass to be quite tender and juicy, though not as fatty as I’d expected. However, the tomato herb broth that had been used for the fish made up for everything, and actually added some significant flavor to the rice. I ate a lot of my rice, something I really don’t do when there is sea bass involved.
For dessert, we had brought our own cake- otherwise, I would’ve been tempted to order the place’s 6-layer Chocolate Motherlode Cake. The staff at Claim Jumper provided additional forks and plates for us, without an added charge.
In summary, I would definitely eat at Claim Jumper Restaurant(s) again. While a bit on the pricey side, the place does an excellent job in terms of prompt service, and quality food. Click here for more information on Claim Jumper Restaurants.