Something was missing from Cortez. Along Main Street, a slew of restaurants could be found highlighting various cultural foods. Hungry townsfolk and tourists have been satisfied. Yet, something was missing. Barbecue.
Plain and simple. Spicy or regular. That was the missing piece of Cortez’s restaurant scene.
Now, there’s Barbecue.
Jimmer’s Back Country BBQ, located at 439 E. Main Street, opened to the public on Sept. 12. They feature a wide variety of country dishes and sides such as ribs, turkey, pulled pork sandwiches, coleslaw, cheesy potatoes and more. “I enjoy eating at other restaurants here (in Cortez),” said Jim LaRue, owner of Jimmer’s. “But we needed something different, a change and Cortez needed a good BBQ restaurant.” LaRue is no stranger to the restaurant business. His family owned and operated a restaurant in Michigan, where LaRue is originally from. LaRue said he spent much of his time growing up roasting pigs with the family. He’s been playing with smokers and deep-pit barbecues for a long time. Keeping with that family tradition, he has employed the help of his wife, two daughters and his son-in-law. His grandson Hunter can be seen roaming the eatery as well. Shanda LaRue, Jim’s wife, said she had no idea her husband wanted to get into the restaurant business but she is certainly glad he did. “We love to eat BBQ,” she said. “We love trying out different places and sampling new things. That was something we did when we started playing with this idea.” Jim and Shanda visited several BBQ restaurants in the Four Corners area, to try and figure out the different styles and tastes they would want to feature at Jimmer’s. “Jim already knew what he wanted to do but we played around with different spices and recipes,” Shanda said. “I would tell Jim ‘try this and try that.’ That’s how we found our jalapeno sausage.” The sausage, is ground pork, spices and jalapeno wrapped in corn husks — a sausage tamale. And even though they don’t have any secret BBQ sauce recipes stuffed up their sleeves, they do have a side order secret. “Our coleslaw is a family recipe,” said Dylan Ferguson, Jim’s son-in-law. “It’s definitely secret. And we put our own spin on the way we smoke our meat.” Ferguson said they are still working out some kinks at the restaurant but they are getting the hang of it.
They made sure to hire employees that had previous restaurant experience. “Our main goal is to make people happy,” Jim said. “We want to make them smile and make them full.” LaRue also owns All Weather Storage Building east of town on County Road 29. The rustic furniture inside the restaurant was also built by Jim and his family. They gathered the wood, designed and made the chairs and tables and finished the furniture. Jimmer’s also offers catering and they hope to do some specials during the holidays. Right now, the restaurant has kept busy but Jim doesn’t want customers to be worried. “We are working through our slow points so when we have long lines, people don’t have to wait too long. We want to get them sat down with their plates. We are just out to do good business.” Jim and Shanda can be found catering to the masses Monday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. For now they will be closed on Sundays. To make reservations or for additional information call 516-1227.