Diners are a special kind of place.
Head to a chain restaurant, and you’ll probably see new faces each time. And the menu? Well, count on trendy dishes that might not be available the next time you stop by. But diners are different. They’re the places you go for a waitress who knows exactly what you order to drink, and has it at your table before you open the menu. And while specials may come and go, the standards are always there. Best of all, the faces you see at the tables (and especially at the counter) are familiar ones.
Jim’s Restaurant is one of those diners. When I went for breakfast this morning, there was a table of older men solving the problems of the world over eggs, bacon and coffee. I met a chimney sweep named Charles after I commented on his awesome top hat. And a man at the counter handed me half of his newspaper, so I would have something to read while I waited for my food.
The food at Jim’s is reliably good, with standard diner choices like eggs, potatoes and toast, meatloaf and burgers, plus Austin favorites like migas and breakfast tacos No micro-servings or tasting menus. Just good food in large portions.
Not only is it a friendly place to grab a quick meal or a cup of coffee, Jim’s is one of those classic business stories you seldom see now in these days of heavy-handed zoning and licensing. The restaurants got started back in 1941 when G. Jim Hasslocher opened a bike rental business. Recognizing that his customers were often hungry after their ride, he added burgers to his stand. That lead to a drive-in which eventually became Jim’s Restaurants.
Now how can you pass up a restaurant with a back-story like that?