Restaurant of the Week: Joey’s BBQ

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Pomona and RC locations closed

Joey’s BBQ, 9538 Foothill Blvd. (at Archibald), Rancho Cucamonga; also 1964 W. Foothill Blvd., Upland; 117 W. 2nd St., Pomona; and 3689 Riverside Drive, Chino.

In June Joey’s, the Chino-based chain dating to the late 1970s, opened its fourth location, in the former George’s Burgers building a bit west of Archibald on Foothill in Rancho Cucamonga. Unusually, Joey’s retained the drive-thru, making it one of the few non-burger drive-thrus in the valley — and the only one where you can get a $28.50 filet mignon.

Inside the restaurant recently at lunchtime, our server wore a headset so she could double on the drive-thru. Not much business there yet, under a dozen customers per day, she reported. I suppose one benefit of the drive-thru is that you could order ribs and feel like Fred Flintstone, except that your car probably won’t tip over.

Other than that feature, and the slightly more fast-food feel to the place, this Joey’s is pretty much like the others. The menu features beef and pork ribs, steak, chicken, sandwiches and other items. The barbecue is smoky in the Texas style, except for the tangier St. Louis-style pork ribs. The meat is cooked in a closed-pit barbecue, whereas larger chains use a faster, rotisserie-like process.

I’ve eaten at Joey’s downtown Pomona location numerous times over the years, especially before concerts. The food is pretty reliable, although some carp about the prices, which for ribs start at $12. In a cute touch common to Joey’s, each table has a miniature wooden steer with a pole from which you can hoist a Joey’s flag when you need service.

Our table had pulled pork and turkey breast sandwiches ($12 each), which come with two sides. They were meaty sandwiches — my friend took home half the turkey — and tasty too. Our sides were a corn cobette, baked beans, cole slaw and sweet potato fries.

Almost any self-respecting valley resident has eaten at a Joey’s at least once. Your thoughts?

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  • Gavin

    This location has already gone from George’s to Greg’s, and now Joey’s. I certainly don’t want the new guy to founder. But as the server revealed—not much business since June.

    In the times that I drive by during daylight, the place always seems dark and gloomy inside. Even at night, the interior still looks dim and under-illuminated. I suspect the windows are heavily tinted to shield the summer sun, but there is just something missing in how it engages your eyes.

    There are other plights: The parking lot is under-filled due to the largely vacant shopping center; there are no stop signs or traffic lights nearby, and cars therefore whiz by at boulevard speed; the price point of Joey’s is out of step with other eateries in that part of Foothill, and so it doesnt compare well.

    [Perhaps, but I have to correct one point: The comment was only that the drive-thru was slow. The restaurant had several tables filled. I forgot about Greg's, although that was shortlived compared to George's. -- DA]

  • Linda Frost

    I have been to the one in Chino. The restaurant has been there forever. On the walls are pictures of Hollywood stars who have eaten there. The food is good, but it does not hold a candle to Lucilles Barbecue at Victoria Gardens, where they serve southern greens and fried green tomatoes along with the best barbeque I have ever had.

  • MV

    We have been fans of Joey’s forever. They serve yummy, tasty cuisine. Their bread pudding is good too and we always share. We were tickled to find out that the new one opened here in Rancho and have eaten there a few times and have not been disappointed. I know pretty soon the secret will be out and they will be “the place” to go for great food. They have the same consistency as the one in Upland.

  • robbie Larson

    Do you know if Joey’s BBQ in Pomona is closed? The last couple of times we’ve driven by it looks closed, and a friend of ours tried to go there for dinner and said it was closed. We hope it has not closed!

    [I'm not aware that it's closed (and hope it hasn't). Have you tried calling? -- DA]