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JR's BBQ at Creekside
[closed, no longer in business]

4444 Hollister Ave, Goleta
Phone: (805) 967-4538

  • Category: BBQ
  • Hours: Winter Hours - Lunch Friday, Saturday and Sunday/Dinner Tuesday through Sunday
  • Chef: Jonathan, Rubin and Saul
  • Price: $10 - $20
  • Serving: Lunch & Dinner
  • Reservations: Yes, but usually not needed
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Reviews by the General Public

Great food, friendly but not great service
Reviewer: Chase from Santa Barbara, CA
so i love myself some BBQ and this place is the best i have had in Santa Barbara. The Smoke pillows in the small parking lot and make me hungry. it is out of the way which i like, peaceful and filling. the price is a bit much, but the portions are good. much better then Woody's, i use to live walking distance to Woody's and would still drive past it to go the JRs. service lacks some, not the best at refills, or ready for an order, but it is laid back and people are friendly. not open mondays..but luch time specials are help it be a little cheaper


Best BBQ in Santa Barbara
Reviewer: Karen from Santa Barbara, CA
My husband and I had been wanting to dine at JR's for months, and we had the opportunity to go last week. We sure weren't disappointed! I had the "award-winning baby back ribs" and let me tell you, there is truth in advertising at JR's! Tender, fall-of-the-bone, tangy...just want you want in a rib. My husband is a fan of beef ribs (me, not so much), and he said they tasted like "prime rib ribs - just amazing". The sides are great, too -- the steak fries are really tasty, and the salad (often just an afterthought of iceberg and red cabbage in some BBQ places) was generous and sort of "upscale". Come on ladies, if you're gonna chow down on ribs, you have to be sort of virtuous and have a salad, right? Our server Shu (sorry, not sure if I'm spelling her name right!), was friendly and courteous, and the service was really speedy. We're planning on going back and bringing the whole family -- my Dad and brothers are gonna LOVE the place!


Pulled Pork
Reviewer: G from Santa Barbara, CA
OUTSTANDING!!!! I have not been able to find a good (GREAT) BBQ place since I moved out here. The pulled Pork ROCKS!! I just wish there was a good place to get a real philli cheesteak?!? G


Tasty
Reviewer: tonie from Santa Barbara, CA
We were excited to go to JR's for our second time last weekend. Unfortunately, they don't take our discount card even though they are listed on the discount card website. If there is some discrepancy then get your company off of their website. I think it makes your restaurant look bad and it stinks that your servers have to explain situation to discount card customers. The food was as good as the first time but the portions seemed smaller. The service was wonderful. We most likely will go back.


As good as the best BBQ joints in TX
Reviewer: randy and audrey from Santa Barbara, CA
We moved back to CA from a decade in TX where we were able to eat at all the famous (and good) BBQ restaurants you always see profiled on the Food Network. You know the names ... Dickeys, Sonny Bryans, Cousins, Interstate, etc. JR's is as good as the best ones in TX. When we 1st returned we'd always go to Woody's 'cause it was where I'd gone when I attended UCSB 20yrs ago. A friend mentioned JR's and we just never got around to it (too late, not in the mood for BBQ, you know all the reasons !!). One day we got up in the morning and while at breakfast we both said (almost at the same time) ... "today's the day for JR's". I'm a beef ribs fan and my wife likes the baby backs so of course that was our 1st meal at JR's. We were blown away. In TX the sides are almost as important as the meat and JR's sweet potato fries, cole slaw, and beans are very good. Now we probably go to JR's 2x a week and still enjoy it every time. I always liked the buffalo ribs at Woody's so we do "cheat on JR's" every once and a while. JR's is still #1 in SB by a pretty good margin. The service is great as well. Always cheery and glad to see you. A great atmosphere with the 60's music playing, too There was one comment re "puled pork" being more like "chunked pork". I'd have to agree that it's certainly not what most would consider pulled. Most people would be expecting a pile of pork. The meat's still very tasty, though. Keep up the good work !!!


Pulled Pork?
Reviewer: Darnel from Santa Barbara, CA
I've ordered the "pulled pork" a few times. What I was served each time was pork, but it wasn't pulled, it was chunked pork. There is a difference folks. JR's may be the best in Santa Barbara. For real BBQ that I truly enjoy, I go outside of Santa Barbara.

JR's BBQ at Creekside writes: Hi Darnel, We do appreciate you coming back to try us a few times, I was concerned after the write up from you when we first opened and were having issues with one of our cooks. Thank you for the support.
Awesome BBQ with a homey atmosphere.
Reviewer: Randy from Santa Barbara, CA
I am so glad that Santa Barbara / Goleta now has a true BBQ restaurant. After so many years of so little choice, JR's is a real breath of fresh oak smoke. We saw the sign and finally stopped in and had, hands down, the best BBQ I have had since a place in Oxnard. The staff is friendly and make us feel at home when we are there. We are regulars now and have yet to be disapointed. The wife is on the way to pick up a Sunday bucket special as I write this. My only real disapointment is that the restaurant is not as packed out as it deserves to be. I imagine as time goes by, it will become more than a local's favorite, but draw crowds from downtown too. Enjoy it now while there's hardly ever a wait for a table or booth.

JR's BBQ at Creekside writes: Randy, Thanks so much for the great review! We will have been open one year October 12th and looking forward to a great and busier 2nd year.
THE BEST FOOD AND COOK IN SANTA BARBARA
Reviewer: Elizabeth Jimenez from Santa Barbara
I love JRS the food is excellent. The sevice is excellent. All the food is very good. I have tryed most of the food on the menu and it is all excellent. They also have some Mexican food. They got a new cook about 4 months ago. He is a excellent cook. I think the best in Santa Barbara, He's name is Ruben. If you went some good food come in and see Ruben. Ruben hour are 11:30 am to 6pm Tue to Fri, and 5pm to 10pm Saterday. Ruben has alot of experience in the Restaurant business over 23 years. JRS is lucky to have him. Thank you JRS


Fantastic food, even better atmosphere
Reviewer: Emily from Santa barbara, CA
Jr's is honestly the only barbecue restaurant in the Santa Barbara area worth eating at. The food is amazing (you can't beat their brisket or pulled pork) and the atmosphere is homey and fun (who doesn't like a full bar!). Even their sides are delicious! They put chains like Woody's to shame. We go almost weekly to get our fix :)


Pretty Darn Good
Reviewer: Krista and Tony from Goleta
Now I'm not from Kansas City or Memphis or even form Texas so I don't really know (or care) what "traditional" BBQ is supposed to taste like. What I do know is that JR's BBQ tastes pretty good. We've been to JR's twice now and the quality seems consistent and service is good too. So far we've tried ribs, brisket and the pulled pork and all have been very good to excellent and the portions quite generous. One thing to note though is that the pulled pork sandwich here bears no resemblance to the on served at HBC. This is not a criticism in any way, I simply mention it because some folks may be a bit surprised if they come thinking they're going to get stuff like Gouda cheese and onion spirals on shredded pork. At JR's its all about the big chunks of meat and the great smoky flavor. Oh yeah, the sauce is good too. If you have any desire at all to dig into a great big pile of meat, this is the place to start. T.


good quality bbq
Reviewer: Matthew from Santa Barbara, CA
I read the review from the other Memphian and tried this bbq place. The pork spare ribs pulled away from the bone clean, but the meat was not overcooked and held its shape. The sweet, delicious gristle and fat were cooked tender and melt-in-your mouth heaven. The sauce was actually decent. I didn't add any to what I was given but what was on the meat was adequate... not too much but richly flavored. I am impressed. Our server was sweet but she seemed a little confused about the items on the menu and how the place ran. It was endearing but technically a little novice. It certainly didn't detract from our experience. I think this may be the best bbq in the area, with smokin' jacks running a still impressive but clear second. Keep up the good work.


WHAT ARE PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT
Reviewer: Don from Santa Barbara
I have been there many times to eat and you do not order at the counter, you have full sit down meals with great service. The food was out of this world and the service made me feel right at home.


Finally Real BBQ in Santa Barbara
Reviewer: Ledbetter from Goleta
I was raised in Memphis and I have been waiting 15 years for true bbq to hit this area. I heard alot about JR's and finally went to see for myself. I had the combo plate and immediately knew this guy knew what he was doing. I was not surprised to find out they use a Southern Pride smoker (That is the cadillac of smokers) that gets started early each morning. The incredible sauce is made daily on site and you can taste the difference. Anyone writing a bad review about this place obviously doesn't know anything about real bbq. I will be back on a regular basis. Thanks JR.


Disappointed
Reviewer: malone from SB
I took myself to lunch at Jr's after hearing so much about it... I had the brisket sandwich... the meat was tough, the bread was cheap white bread grilled with perhaps butter, but tasted like cheap butter substitute... the sauce tasted like it had been poured over the meat not marinated with it. The restaurant on a whole was confusing, cold and disappointing. I was surprised to see as I drove off a large smoker that proved it was a true bbq place. I can't imagine recommending the place or going back.


carnivore's palace
Reviewer: Chris from Santa Barbara CA
We tried the pork, brisket, and beef ribs, as well as excellent sweet potato fries and beans (also sweet). Everything was tasty and service was fine. The pork sandwich had grilled peppers, something of a surprise. The mixed plate was generous - more like 1 1/2 meals - with choice of 3 meats and 2 sides. To like this barbecue you have to like sweet because it comes pre-sauced. For the ribs there were two sauces - one regular and one "spicy" - both sweet and neither pushing tangy very far. Hailing from Texas, I'm still looking for real brisket in CA - thick cross-grain slices with heavy marbling wrapped in a dark char followed by a layer of brown caramelizing and then a deep pink ring to demonstrate the TLC the brisket got while lazily basking overnight in warm oak or mesquite smoke inside an old propane tank riding on an F150 axle that was rigged up at the local welding shop. Sauce to be added by the consumer (if needed), not by the cook. Found lots of good roast beef, not much finely tempered brisket. This was no exception. JR's approach is to chop, shred, and sauce - a common southern style that deprives the diner of some control so the starring meat is overwhelmed by adornment that disguises its essential character. But a satisfying meal nonetheless. Based on the other reviews, we'll try the pork ribs next visit.


Move Over Woody's
Reviewer: Bob and Julia from SB, CA
Woody's used to be the place for ribs in SB, but a new sheriff is in town: JR. and he is smokin'. The baby back ribs were awesome, love the way they were smoked. The steak fries were solid. The green salad needs some help (more of it, and served on a seperate dish). An important note to locals: it is not part of the Creekide Bar so you don't have deal with that whole scene. The service was very good, primarily because JR came to our table to check on us himself, seeking genuine input from us. An old fashion touch that shouldn't be old fashion. Loved the oldies music playing while eating and the place is cozy. Would like to see mac n' cheese on the menu. In short, the new sheriff has a lock on the best baby back ribs in SB.


standard ok
Reviewer: greg from sb
The service was really good, the sweet potato fries were very very good but the BBQ was ok. Got the pulled pork sandwich, it was kinda of dry. Menu had very few items, i might give um another try.. but for pulled pork just go a little further up the street.


Accomodating and lovely
Reviewer: JK from Santa Barbara
We dined last night with a large party of 8 and they easily accomodated our group. We were able to sample quite a few choices off the menu and enjoyed nearly everything. Seems as Tuesday night is all you can eat ribs - your choice of beef or pork - both were tasty. Salads were crisp and fresh - a nice compliment to the smooth tang of the BBQ sauce. Excellent steak fries, onion rings, potato skins - only fair cole slaw. Would certainly recommend to anyone looking for a family friendly restaurant!


Great BBQ and Great Service
Reviewer: Ryan from Santa Barbara, CA
The food was great. I ordered the baby back ribs and my wife had the pulled pork BBQ plate. No complaints. Definitely the best BBQ joint in or around Santa Barbara. Because of the way the restaurant is organized, there is not much service required. You order your meal at the counter and they bring it out to you when it is ready. You get your own drinks, napkins, and condiments. Even so, we got better service at JR's than most other restaurants in SB. The staff came out to our table several times to ensure we had everything we needed, even offering to bring up the things we should have gotten ourselves. Good food, good service, good experience. We will definitely be back.


Big Hit For Goleta
Reviewer: Steve Walker from Santa Barbara, CA
Where else can you get killer bbq pulled-pork sandwich, live music with sexy cocktail bartenders and top shelf drinks and play a game of pool while your order is coming. The doctor of BBQ is in the house, way to go JR.


BBQ smoked 4 to 14 hours?
Reviewer: Darnel from Santa Barbara
I stopped by JR's this past Friday evening. I ordered the baby-back ribs to go. When I arrived home I discovered that the ribs were not prepared as advertised. They were also not tender (fall off the bone). I had to use a sharp knife to seperate the ribs. If I had not been going out of town later that evening, I would have taken them back. I took two bites and didn't eat the rest.


Ribs Are Awesome But JR's Needs Slight Changes!
Reviewer: Robert from Goleta, CA
Went last night about 8:30 with my wife for dinner after hearing a great deal of talk about the food. The lady at the register told us that they got hit very hard with patrons about 5:30-6:00PM so they were out of certain combos. The menu is a little confusing and if JR could tighten it up a bit that could be a good thing. Also would love to see mac n'cheese on the menu. Anyway I actually told JR in person that the pork ribs are very good but that if i had to order them a second time it would be in the dry rub fashion without any sauce. JR was so sincere he said that because of my suggestion he would be coming up with a dry rub some time in the next couple of weeks. Wife ordered the tri tip sandwich which was also large and very good. Have to say that the decor inside is quaint and I particulary enjoy the quiet mood away from Modoc and Hollister road. Didnt mind the band that was playing at his bar/lounge next door. As for service I like that you just order,eat, and leave! Thanks JR and we wish you alot of success now that Smokin Jacks has changed owners...I think you know what we mean!!!


Good, and a few growing pains
Reviewer: lemonjelly from santa barbara, ca
I ate at JR's on a Saturday evening. The indoor seating was near full, and parking was quite tight. I don't think they were expecting this much business, as the woman behind the counter was also the one who brought our drinks and some of our food - leaving more customers waiting at the ordering counter. The baby back ribs were smoky tasting and the meat was falling off the bone nicely, I also liked the amount of sauce provided. The problem was that it arrived barely lukewarm and was cold within a couple minutes. The pulled pork was, sorry, a little disappointing. We were expecting soft shreds and it was chopped pieces, like stewing chunks. And, like the ribs, served barely warm. More on the plus side, baked beans had a great flavor and had big shreds of meat in it. Now if only the pulled pork could have same texture as that meat. :) The low-heat, long-cook method is something I really like, and this place will give other "bbq" style eateries in Goleta some good competition. I'd definitely want to return on a weekday evening, when they're not as busy and the chances are better that the food will be warmer.


Some things need wokring out, but not the food
Reviewer: David from Goleta, CA
I convinced two friends and fellow bbq-fiends to go try JR's with me for dinner this evening. The decor is quaint, nothing to write home about. The menus (one printed and one on the wall) are confusing; the lady behind the counter agreed. I ordered the Baby Back Rib combo with brisket, beans, and fries. The ribs were great and you can tell by the color that they smoke it. Best ribs in SB (though that isn't saying much. No seriously, though, they are good). The brisket was tender but that's about it. It was obvious that it was not fresh and was reheated in the microwave. How do I know? Half my pieces were cold and the others were lukewarm. Very little sauce on them too. The BBQ beans were good and had chunks of meat in it. The consistency was a bit too loose to me. It tasted like regular pinto beans with some BBQ sauce tossed in. Fries were big and tasty. In short: order baby back ribs, nothing else. If this place can get their menu and service together, it'll be a winner. As it is, their food is the least of their worries and in this business, that's a Godsend.


Mouth watering perfection!
Reviewer: Anna from Goleta, Ca
I am a big ribs fan and these a killer! The pork ribs were so delicious. The pulled pork was melt in your mouth and the baked beans the perfect blend of sweet and smokey. The portion size was more than enough. I was stuffed! I had to take some home, it was to good. I ate the rest when I got home. My mouth could not stop watering! I will be back for more! I am craving it now!


My new favorite BBQ
Reviewer: John Dickson from Santa Barbara, CA
At the suggestion of a friend I recently tried out the brand new restaurant "JR's BBQ." Perhaps the best Baby Back Ribs I had ever had. My only regret: I ordered a half-rack instead of a full-rack! One bite and I knew they were destined to be "Restaurant Of The Month" for November.


BesT
Reviewer: Harry Grumet from Santa Barbara, CA
JR's BBQ was so impressive I have been there 5 times in two weeks. The third time I went I was forced to take my wife because she was tired of me telling everyone how great and athentic BBQ food is. Baby back ribs- just as awsome as they are in the south. Smoked for hours to perfection and served with baked beans that melt in your mouth. The unexpected brisket we ordered was as good as it gets from any BBQ joint ever! The only thing I was not happy with was the garlic bread.. needs work. If anyone would like to call me for my opinion feel free to. If you love "real BBQ" food you will not be disappointed. I will be at JR's Friday night around 5 PM with my Mastiff puppy in the patio area.


FULL RACK PLEASE
Reviewer: John Wardlaw from Santa barbara CA
The Baby Back plate is great. Comes with two sides (I had the fries and beans). The Baby Back rib full slab is the way to go if you want to eat a lot of ribs. The BBQ sauce is just the right amount of sweet and spice and isn't too smokey either. Basically I'm just trying to say that the ribs were really good. Always happy when I try a new place and like it.


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