Saturday, March 20, 2010

Yumbo’s Southern Style Grill

376 Elmridge Center Drive, Greece
Visited March 5, 2010
Written by Tyler
Yumbo's on Urbanspoon

You often have to dig deep to find the buried treasure, which is just the case for Yumbo’s Southern Style Grill in Greece.

Elmridge Plaza is always fairly busy, but Yumbo’s often gets overlooked by neighboring giants like Walmart, Sam’s, Tops, Chili’s, etc., not to mention the rest of the commercial adventure land that is Greece.

But if your eyes are wandering around the signs at the plaza, they will eventually catch the small purple and yellow one for Yumbo’s.

I had noticed Yumbo’s before since its Greece location opened a few years ago, but I had never thought to stop there. Only after my friend Chad told me Yumbo’s had good food, and my recent burst of interest in southern/barbecue food, did I make my way around to dining there.

While running errands with my grandma, who offered to take me out to lunch, I suggested Yumbo’s, wanting to go to some place casual.

Not really sure what to expect, I was just hoping my grandma wouldn’t be disappointed. It was a risky choice, as my grandma doesn’t exactly shy away from sharing her opinions on restaurants.

(Image courtesy of

Upon our entry into the restaurant and subsequent wait, I grew a little skeptical. There was only one worker, owner Bernie LoBello, running the operation, trying to do seemingly everything at once. I had to wait 10-15 minutes before I could order at the counter, even though there were only a handful of people inside.

But if you read our review of General Hoock’s you know I can be very understanding and patient in such a situation.

It turns out one of the customers before us had six orders to go, so that was mainly the cause for the wait, but nobody was in a rush and seemed rather patient.

Our patience was rewarded, and the wait was well worth it.

For one, it gave us just enough time to dissect the menu, which was full of about any Southern comfort food you can imagine. I don’t know where to begin to describe these mouthwatering options, so take a look at the menu yourself.

Once we ordered it didn’t take long at all for the food to arrive. I went with the Smokey Chicken BBQ, a sandwich whose main feature was a rather interesting concoction I have only seen offered at a few places: pulled barbecue chicken (as opposed to pork).

Pulled chicken looks just like pulled pork, and this particular chicken was doused in deliciously sweet and smoky homemade “Twangin BBQ Sauce,” giving it a fairly similar taste to pulled pork, but obviously leaner.

The sandwich’s components – the chicken/sauce, lettuce and roll – blended together very well, none overwhelming another. It was delicious from start to finish, with a slice of cornbread a perfect complement. Toward the end of my “Smokey Chicken” experience, I realized another sauce applied toward the bottom of the sandwich. I hadn’t picked up on it until then, but whatever it was, it worked. I think it was Yumbo’s Buttermilk Ranch, which is their house dressing.

And thankfully, my grandma was very pleased with her meal as well. Her sandwich, the Sow Tower, was similar to mine, except pulled pork rather than chicken. I don’t believe it had anything else on it, but we both agreed that the sauce – which wasn’t exactly lagging in its presence on our sandwiches – added great flavor.

There are so many items I’d like to try, especially some interesting sides like the Cajun Homefries and Sweet Potato Mash. My dad and I are big fans of both home fries (see HFR review) and Cajun spices, so I really want to try the Cajun Homefries, which Yumbo’s was unfortunately out of during my first visit.

Our lunch at Yumbo’s was a success, and I was glad that we both enjoyed and were pleasantly surprised by it. The only things that could have used improvement were the wait time, the supply of menu items and the atmosphere.

LoBello was very friendly and apologetic about the wait, which we completely understood, given it was a one-man show. He even offered us free cookies (the oatmeal raisin wasn’t bad, by the way).

Some items were unavailable, including (strangely enough) ice. There also wasn’t much of a Southern or home-style atmosphere inside to speak of. But who cares about those two when the food hits the spot? I sure am willing to overlook those factors.

I’m not positive if LoBello has any helpers, but I would assume so, because there is a second location; downtown in the Monroe County Office Building (39 West Main Street), which I believe is only open for lunch (8-2:30) on weekdays. The Greece location is open 11-8 on weekdays and 11-5 Saturday (closed Sunday).

I also don’t know if the wait we had is typical, but nobody seemed to be bothered by it. The other customers inside when we were had nothing but praise for the restaurant, and I’ve only heard positive reviews from other sources.

I do know that I will dine at Yumbo’s again.

Service/Atmosphere: There was a bit of a wait, but we were served very quickly once we ordered. It doesn’t exactly feel like authentic Southern dining, but still a very friendly environment.
Food: Absolutely delicious and so much to choose from. The sauce adds great flavor to the meat.
Value: Prices were right around the same, if not better, than those of similar dishes elsewhere. Very satisfying “bang for the buck.”
Overall: A hidden gem, even if it is in a busy plaza. The food is as good, if not better, than any barbecue place around. Only reservations are the apparent lack of supplies and atmosphere. I’m willing to overlook the wait because it was well worth it and gave us time to look over the extensive, appetizing menu.

Grade: B+

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1 comment:

  1. Hey
    You have more patience than I do. There is no way I would have waited for 15 minutes just to make an order, even if it was gran who was paying.

    For you it sounds as if the wait was worth it, and if gran approves then all the better.

    I do like a bit of souther style food and if in Greece will visit if it is still around.