Jimmy's Is The Place To Be For Food and Fun In New Buffalo
November 23, 2006
Harbor Country News
NEW BUFFALO - Harbor Country has a great new place to eat, drink and be merry.
It's called Jimmy's Bar & Grill, and you'll find it at 18529 LaPorte Road across the street from the Wheel Inn.
"Jimmy" is Jim Frye, who many have come to know as the owner of Art & Image, a state-of-the-art sign company that happens to be located next door to the new business.
He's also the owner of Shoreline Development, the construction company that built the building, as well as a number of custom-designed homes in and around Sawyer and Harbert.
His partner in this new venture is his wife, Tracy, who works as a marketing manager for Whirlpool Corporation in addition to helping her husband promote his ever-growing business empire.
Tracy brings a lot more than marketing skills to Jimmy's. Her father was a restaurateur by profession, and like most kids of parents who own restaurants, she grew up working for him, learning the business from the ground up. Together, they make a formidable team.
"What we wanted to do," Jim said, "was to create an elegant environment that was relaxing and upscale at the same time."
It doesn't take long to see that they have accomplished that. Start with the decor: mahogany-fhushed booths and tables, Venetian stucco walls, a beautiful black-granite bar, a cozy fireplace area fronted by leather Paris chairs, two 46-inch plasma TVs, and on and on. It seems no expense was spared to ensure the comfort of patrons.
Not even in the bathrooms, which, thanks to the magic of photo-cell technology, are virtually hands-free, from the soap dispensers to the faucets to the you-know-whats. (The fixtures, by the way, are Italian porcelain.)
One truly unique feature of the bar & grill is its black ceiling, which is studded
Jim and Tracy Frye spared no expense to ensure the comfort of patrons at their new business, Jimmy's Bar & Grill, in New Buffalo Township. The business opened its doors on Tuesday, Nov. 21.
with tiny fiber-optic lights that make it resemble a night sky. See if you can find the Big Dipper, which points north, just like the real one does. Another effect, visible every 30 seconds or so, is that of a shooting star that zips diagonally across its surface.
One more example of Jim's inventiveness and attention to detail is the 8-foot-wide mirror in the bar area, which has a waterfall cascading over its surface. In another display of fiber-optic magic, the name of the business, which is etched into the glass, is slowly but constantly changing from one color to another.
To make sure that the restaurant's food offerings are as tantalizing as the atmosphere, the Fryes hired two chefs with proven track records: Scott Schroeder, formerly of Brewster's in New Buffalo, and Jurrien [load-ley, formerly of the Pump House Grille in St. Joseph.
The result of their pairing is a menu that features a wide-ranging variety of appetizers, salads, specialty sandwiches, steak burgers and desserts.
In the appetizer category, the selection includes beer-battered Portabella mushrooms, calamari rings, zucchini strips, spinach & artichoke dip, onion peels, and bruscetta served with toasted slices of baguette bread.
Among the salad offerings are familiar favorites like
Caesar Salad and Italian Salad, as well as a few more imaginative selections, such as the Southwest Blackened Chicken Salad and Jimmy's House Salad, a combination of chopped mixed greens, pecans, crimini mushrooms red peppers, grape tomatoes, feta olives and mango vinaigrette. The long list of sandwich
options includes Italian Beef, Italian Sausage, Gyros, five different chicken sandwiches, a Chicago-style all-beef kosher hot dog, and a Portabella mushroom sandwich, all served with bottleneck fries and cole slaw.
The restaurant's steak burgers, of which there are eight varieties, are sure to become a customer favorite. Charbroiled to perfection, each is made from 8 ounces of top-of-the-line Black Angus beef
If there's room for dessert, you have a choice of Bananas Foster, Double-Chocolate Brownie or Chocolate Chip Cookie-Dough "Bites," which, as the name implies, are delivered in bite-size portions for easy eating. There's also traditional apple pie and the decidedly non-traditional "Xango," a deep-fried cheesecake that's rolled in cinnamon and topped with a caramel sauce.
Hungry? Thirsty? Check out Jimmy's Bar & Grill. The business is open every day from 11:30 a.m. to midnight on weekdays, and until 2 a.m. on weekends.
For more information. phone (269) 469-2100.
Restaurant Has Contemporary Flair Built In
February 25, 2008
South Bend Tribune
HOME-GROWN RESTAURANTS SHARON DETTMER -Tribune Correspondent
NEW BUFFALO – You often hear restaurant owners saying they “built their business from the ground up.” But for Jim Frye, co-owner of Jimmy’s Bar & Grill in New Buffalo, that statement is entirely true.
That’s because Jim is also owner of Shoreline Development Co. in Harbert. He is a custom-home builder, who defines himself as an “independent entrepreneur.” He built the strip mall on LaPorte Road in New Buffalo where the restaurant opened for business in November 2006.
His wife, Tracy, is Jimmy’s Bar & Grill’s other co-owner. “It’s been good; very, very good,” Tracy said of the business at Jimmy’s. That’s due, in part, to dedicated local customers who have adopted the restaurant as their favorite place to unwind.
In fact, Jim said, business has been so good that he is building another restaurant on Main Street in downtown Benton Harbor. The new, spacious 5,000-square-foot facility, with private dining rooms, will be built in 2009.
“Our focus has always been to have a relaxing atmosphere and affordable prices,” Jim said. “We have a very dedicated local crowd. They d enjoy our price points and food.”
Take, for example, the lobster ravioli entree – lobster-stuffed saffron ravioli covered in homemade vodka tomato cream sauce for $15.95.
More plans for Jimmy’s are in the making. Jim is planning an outdoor arbor dining area in front of the restaurant that is slated for completion by Memorial Day. The arbor dining will provide more accommodations to serve seasonal patrons, Jim said.
It takes a team effort, though, to accomplish all of these goals.
Tracy grew up in the restaurant business in Illinois. That’s where her father, Louie Koutromanos, taught her the finer points of presenting fine dining experiences to patrons. She moved to Union Pier as a teenager, attended Purdue University, and then earned a master’s in business administration from the University of Notre Dame.
Tracy has worked in sales and marketing at Whirlpool Corp. in Benton Harbor for 12 years.
The couple has put their heart and soul into making Jimmy’s a comfortable place to dine.
“Jim brought a lot of his talent to the design process here. Jimmy’s is often referred to as ‘the new hidden treasure.’ People really seem to enjoy their dining experience,” Tracy said. “Everyone who walks through the door is important.”
Customers certainly can feel like stars on karaoke night, which is every Thursday at 8 p.m.
There are stars on the ceiling and on the walls. The ceiling has unique, fiber-optic lighting that allows patrons to “dine under shooting stars.”
The couple focused on providing patrons with a contemporary urban-styled dining experience. Framed portraits of glamorous and unforgettable Hollywood legends grace the walls, which have a rich-colored Venetian stucco finish. The bar features a waterfall and a fireplace.
The Fryes enjoy being involved in all aspects of the business from design to finish.
The light-hearted charm of the restaurant is evident from the cheerful welcome upon arrival to the last goodbye.
“On weekends, we roll up our sleeves and help out,” Tracy said. “We bus tables, wash dishes – whatever it takes.”
On Friday evenings, the entire staff is hopping to serve the all-you-can eat fish dinner for $9.95, served with bottleneck French fries and coleslaw.
“We travel a lot, and we like to try different foods. We thought it would be nice to have a small restaurant, so, I designed one. And, I’ve always loved to cook,” Jim explained. These days, however, he leaves the creativity of food preparation to the restaurant’s executive chef, Scott Schroeder, from Michigan City.
“When we first opened, we only served sandwiches. People began asking for steak or lobster,” Jim said. “We listened to them, and now serve a large variety of dinner entrees, sandwiches and salads.”
Tracy and Jim Frye are co-owners of Jimmy’s Bar & Grill in New Buffalo. The couple from Harbert designed their restaurant with contemporary urban flair and a reverence for the unforgettable faces of Hollywood legends.
Jimmy’s Bar & Grill
18529 La Porte Road, New Buffalo
• Hours: Winter months, closed on Monday; after Memorial Day, opened daily at 11:30 a.m. Dinner entrees served after 5 p.m.
• Seating: 70 in restaurant, and 15 in the bar
• Full-service bar
• Restaurant nonsmoking, smoking in the bar area
• Credit cards: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Debit
• On-site and off-site catering.
• Children’s menu available and nightly specials.
• Prices: Appetizers range from $3.50 for Bottle Caps (beer-battered, bite-sized red and green jalapeño peppers with ranch dressing) to $9.95 for Swordfish Skewers over mixed greens with tropical chutney. Salads range from $5.95 to $8.95. Sandwiches are priced from $5.95 to $9.95. Black Angus steak burgers from $6.95 to $8.50. Dinner entrees offered from $14.95 for Pasta Primavera to $24.95 for Filet Mignon.
Chef Program Spices Up School Lunches
January 28, 2008
The South County Gazette
By John Gunner Gooch Gazette Staff
NEW BUFFALO - Jim Frye, who owns the popular Jimmy's Bar & Grill on LaPorte Road with his wife Tracy, looked right at home in the kitchen of the New Buffalo High School/Middle School cafeteria as he demonstrated his culinary skills for the staff there by cooking up a couple of large pots of his cheeseburger soup while imparting some tips and sharing some of the secret ingredients he uses to get it just right.
"It's a good way for those involved in the food service and hospitality business that's such an important part of what Harbor Country is all about, to give back to the community that gives us so much support" --Jim Frye, owner of Jimmy's Bar & Grill
The affable and knowledgeable Frye had the honor of being the first local chef to participate in the New Buffalo Area Schools Food Service Department's unique Visiting Chef program that invites some of the area's best cooks lo visit the school and introduce some new flavors and trends, give some guidance on ethnic menus, and help develop some new recipes there that stay within the national recommendations for school meals, the school budget, and the timing of student meals.
"I think this program is a great idea, and if s a good way for those involved in the food service and hospitality business that's such an important part of what Harbor Country is all about, to give back to the community that gives us so much support," Frye says he writes down the recipe for one of his signature soups so the school's kitchen staff can offer it again.
"My time here has also been learning experience for me." Frye adds, "I've learned how different and regulated food preparation is in an environment like this where certain specific guidelines have to be followed every day. Here they have to prepare food in enough quantities to be able to feed hundreds of hungry students in a short period of time, and that's pretty impressive. You don't have quite the lime or freedom here that we have when we're cooking in the kitchen at Jimmy's."
As a final touch Frye recommends garnishing the bowls of soup with a little shredded cheese and lettuce to add some color and dress it up a little bit before it's served, and then he has the pleasure of ladling out his tasty creation to a steady stream of students who arc appreciative of his efforts and give him rave reviews.
"I know other chefs in the area will also be coming in here to participate in this program, so hopefully it's something that will keep going and growing from this point on," Frye says.
Jimmy's18529 LaPorte Road
New Buffalo, MI 49117 269-469-2100
Open Daily 11:30 am