About Rib City Grill
You know you’re in a great place to eat when your mouth starts watering seconds after you walk in the door. Chalk that up to the great smell of old fashioned barbecue coming from the kitchen at Rib City Grill in Fruita. That’s where it seemed half the neighborhood showed up for our superb dinner, generously provided by owners Mike Spradlin and Sara Martz. The two opened their first Rib City location in 2004, in Grand Junction, Colorado. The Fruita restaurant was opened in 2005, and the Rifle location has been open since August 2008.
When everyone showed up, it was a Wednesday night, a night where most restaurants wouldn’t expect a big crowd. However, you combine delicious fare with quarter draft beers, and to nobody’s surprise, it looked like a Friday or Saturday instead. With neighbors getting the chance to meet one another and settle into their seats, Mike, Sara, and their exceptional wait staff, brought out a great spread of appetizers to get things going. There was Tasty Fried Okra (seemingly everyone’s favorite of the appetizers), served with homemade Ranch Dressing.
There’s a funny story about the Okra, AND the fresh brewed, Sweet Iced Tea. Sara remembers, “Nobody would order either of them when they first opened. We used to give away free samples trying to convince people this stuff was great”. Now, their Rib Citys’ go through nearly 20,000 gallons of sweet tea, and 5 tons of okra each year!
Another one of the delectable appetizers, were the Buffalo Chicken Tenders. They were made from fresh, breast meat, had just the right amount of spice, and were accompanied by some delicious homemade Bleu Cheese Dressing. (This same chicken recipe can be found on the Award Winning Kickn’ Chicken Sandwich). Finally, the Three Cheese Fries were way too delicious to pass up, especially when dipped in the homemade Spicy Ranch Dressing.
We finished up our appetizers and were presented with a family-style arrangement of some of Rib City’s most popular main dishes. There was Carolina-style Pulled Pork, mixed with Rib City’s homemade Tangy BBQ Sauce, made with a splash of vinegar, crushed red pepper and mustard. The BBQ smoked, sliced Beef Brisket, was dry rubbed with Rib City’s own blend of seasonings, and smoked low and slow for up to 12 hours. Then there was fresh, never frozen BBQ Smoked Chicken. While all of these were crowd-pleasers, the big winner of the spread seemed to be the Baby Back Ribs. These ribs are always tender and flavorful! They are imported from Denmark, smoked, braised, and then finished on the grill to order. One of our diners expressed what everyone else seemed to be thinking, describing the ribs simply as, “Yum!” All of these dishes were served with Garlic Texas Toast, and two homemade Signature Sides. We were asked to choose from; BBQ Baked Beans, Potato Salad, Coleslaw, Mac N Cheese, or Southern Style Green Beans. Each side dish scored high praise, especially that “Creamy Mac N Cheese” and “So Tasty!” Baked Beans.
With everyone’s appetite satisfied, there was one more delicious piece of the meal left. Our attentive wait staff brought out slices of homemade Key Lime Pie… “The perfect amount of sweet and sour.” I can’t wait to come back and try the homemade Chocolate Cake, Carrot Cake, Coconut Cream Pie and Nanny’s recipe of Pecan Pie!
Maybe the best review of the night came from a distinguished gentleman, who spent a great deal of time living in Texas. He described the food as “Excellent in its quality of taste… equivalent to the high barbecue standards you’d expect to find in the Lone Star State”.
Mike and Sara will tell you running a successful restaurant is never easy. However, they enjoy taking the time to walk the restaurant, check in with their clientele and form relationships, making customers feel at home. They take pride in describing how the BBQ meats are smoked on-site, and how the Sauces, Dressings, and Desserts are all homemade daily. In short, the food is fresh!
Good news for those with kids, if they’re under 4, they always eat free!
Wine, cold Beer, Jim Beam and Choice, and Margaritas are also available. Don’t forget quarter beer on Wednesdays!
Along with the delicious food and excellent service in house, Rib City offers Delivery and Full Service Catering for 20-2000 people, from “Whole Hogs to Hot Dogs”.
In spending time at Rib City, it’s clear they’ve really found their niche, providing “A fast, casual, dining experience, in a family friendly environment, with value priced items and above average service.” That, they say, is guaranteed!