Owners Mark Milestone With Improvements

T.K. Dickerson

Staff Writer

in Ocean City has come a long way since its beginnings 31 years ago as the
town’s first true rib house.

Though the restaurant is
growing and improving in many ways, owners Debi and Jerry Sinnott make it a
point to maintain the restaurant’s traditions of great food and friendly
Yesterday, the Sinnotts hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony at the 131st
Street location to invite the local and visiting community in to see their new
interior, celebrate over 30 years in business and enjoy refreshments.

This year marks an
important one in J/R’s history. In addition to the new interior, the Sinnotts
have added a new 40-foot oak bar at the 131st Street location, as well
as added lunch, increased the menu variety, added new flat-screen televisions
to the bar and lounge area and bettered accessibility.

Other than these
improvements, the Sinnotts are keeping things exactly the way they have been
since 1980, as original owner Jack Hubberman would have wanted before the
Sinnotts took over in 2007. The Sinnotts want to “keep his legacy” and “keep
his recipes as he wanted”.

Jerry had worked at
J/R’s for 17 years before he took the restaurant over, but the longevity of his
employment is not unusual for employees of J/R’s.

“The employees love it
here,” said the Sinnotts. “They support us as new owners.”

The Sinnotts have the
same fondness for their employees. “Tt’s nice to know management has been here
for years,” said Debi.

The family atmosphere
that makes J/R’s so special isn’t solely limited to the restaurant, but it is
also a quality held dear by the employees and management. Owners Jerry and Debi
met working at a restaurant in Baltimore in their teens. Their son, Justin, works
as a general manager at the north location. Debi’s mother, Dottie, makes the
soup of the day. Debi remarks that the employees at J/R’s are “like a family”.
“We have a good time when we are working,” she adds.

While Debi manages the
131st Street location, Jerry manages the 62nd Street
location (the original). Jerry noted that when the 62nd Street
location gets too crowded, he calls his wife up north to see if they can
accommodate a larger party.

Though there are two
separate locations, the commissary next to the 131st Street location
produces the spiral cut honey glazed hams that are sold whole and used for the
ham steak on the menu. The commissary also produces the “smoky” barbecue sauce,
which has not changed in Jerry’s 21 years with J/R’s. The commissary ships out
the items to both restaurants, to ensure no matter which location you choose
you are still getting the same quality food.

Customers of J/R’s can
also order vacuum packed ribs, made in the commissary, which are shipped out to
locations all over the east coast. People can also order the spiral cut honey
glazed ham, which is especially popular during the holiday season.

Though ribs make up
approximately 60 percent of the entrees on the menu, other items such as crab
cakes, steamed shrimp, prime rib, rockfish alla rosa and hand battered coconut
shrimp, ensure that there “is something for everybody,” says Debi.

It may be 31 years since
J/R’s opening, but the restaurant is maintaining the traditions that keep
families returning.

“We still do it exactly
the same way,” says Jerry.