Jim ‘N Nick’s, Shuttlesworth Airport, Birmingham, Alabama

Our visit to Dear ended, so Nancy and I headed to the Birmingham Airport.  I’m a big fan of the Birmingham airport.  It is small, rental cars are on site, and if you’re picking someone up, you can park within a hundred yards or so of the baggage claim.  And the first hour of parking is only a dollar.

You also can get barbecue there.  Before the airport was remodeled, the Golden Rule had a place there, and the barbecue was really good.  Now that the airport has been upgraded, the Golden Rule has been replaced by Jim ‘N Nick’s.  That has proved unfortunate.

Jim ‘N Nick’s is a good, solid barbecue chain.  You just read about my favorite, the one in Homewood.  They’ve expanded from Alabama into six other states, including Colorado.  I’ve eaten at a bunch of them, and they’re very dependable.  You can almost always rely on good if not great barbecue, although there are some misses as well as hits.  Hint: don’t eat barbecue at the one in Tuscaloosa the morning after a Game Day.  My favorite is the one in Homewood, which they opened before they got designers to make the decor more upscale.

But beware the one at the Birmingham airport.  I’ve had breakfast there a couple of times, and the results were, at best, mixed.  See here and here.

My most recent visit was on a Sunday morning.  We had a 12:15 plane to catch, and sat down a few minutes before 11:00.  That should have been plenty of time, especially since the place was nearly empty.  Barbecue places have very fast service, usually within five minutes of ordering.  After all, everything has been cooking for hours.  I ordered a Carolina-style pork sandwich and a side of greens, and Nancy ordered deviled eggs and a side salad.  Five minutes, easy.

We got up and left at 11:35, never having been served, although other tables that arrived after us had begun to eat.  I’m sure the staff had lost our order.  The place is obviously very poorly run.  The wait staff, which, with the exception of one waitress who spent a good 10 minutes trying to punch an order into the computer, filtered in gradually after 11:00, seemed not to have assigned tables.  At least four different people asked if we had ordered.  No one seemed concerned that we had not been served.  So we left.

Nancy was able to get a bowl of gruel at Starbucks, and I survived on stored fatty tissue, which I have in abundance.

I know that the options in the Birmingham airport are limited, especially on Sunday when Chick-fil-A is closed, but you can get a good bagel or a pretty good sandwich or burger.  Before you try Jim ‘N Nick’s, you should scan the place for signs of competence.  Your best bet may be to just drink coffee and try to let your body burn off some of the weight you gained eating barbecue during your visit.

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