JN’s Original BBQ Pit House, 1180 N. White Ave. (at Orange Grove), Pomona
When they say house, they mean house: It’s in the front portion of a single-family home. But JN’s — I know, it looks like NJ’s on the sign, but the menu and website is JN’s — has done a decent job with it. Once you’ve turned the doorknob and stepped inside, you see a tile floor, wooden booths, high tables, a flat-screen and a counter, just like a regular restaurant. You just have to get past the feeling that you should ring a doorbell.
My first visit, the day before the Super Bowl, they were sold out of almost everything, having only chicken, hot links and tri-tip left. I got a tri-tip sandwich ($7), which came with a side (I chose slaw) and soda. The tri-tip was a little tough and with a few too-large pieces that I had to tear off with my fingers. It might be heretical to say, but I could have had a better sandwich at a Dickey’s. But I resolved to go back on a typical day for a truer test. I was glad I did.
Two friends and I met for lunch and ordered three dinners: rib tips, beef links (both $9) and pork ribs ($10). We shared everything, including the sides: slaw, beans, potato salad, hush puppies and collard greens. We were all impressed. My least favorite was the rib tips, but the one who ordered them liked them best, so there you go. The service was also exceedingly friendly. We liked the whole vibe.
For Pomona barbecue, I might give the edge to J&J’s, but JN’s is pretty good too. (Imagine if they merged. What would they call themselves: J&JN’s?)
Sidenote on JN’s home-like look: If you use the bathroom, there’s a scale under the sink. I pulled it out and found, no surprise, that I weighed a couple of pounds more than before my meal. Last time I use that scale.