The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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June 30, 2012

Wally Kennedy: Jim Bob’s coming back, Grand Fortuna closed

A few columns back, I hinted at the possibility that a Range Line restaurant that was blown off the map by the tornado might be looking at the Cabo del Sol restaurant as a new home.

I couldn’t say anything at the time about the identity of the restaurant because a contract on the property had not been signed. The worst thing you can do is announce something is coming and then have to retract it because the deal fell through.

Thankfully, this deal did not fall through — Jim Bob’s Steaks & Ribs is coming back. Steve and Stacy Gamble, the owners, are planning to reopen the restaurant in the Cabo del Sol property on or about Aug. 1. This is going to be welcome news for the fans of Jim Bob’s, a Joplin original.

The new restaurant will tap into the highway market, the hotel market and the potential for overflow from two of Joplin’s best restaurants, the Olive Garden and Cheddar’s. But then again, Jim Bob’s was a successful operation at 2040 S. Range Line Road despite its small parking lot, small bar and awkward layout. It could be that once the Gambles get their game on, they could generate some overflow of their own. I’m just saying.

“We’re fixing it up nice. We’ll have a gigantic bar now. We want this to be a destination place,’’ Steve Gamble said. “We are shooting for Aug. 1. I don’t know whether we will make that date but it’s conceivable we could be done by then.

“You know, there was a time we weren’t sure whether we would come back. We just want to say thank you to the people who stayed with us through this process.’’

Gamble gave a big shout-out to Ron Pence at Arvest Bank for going the extra mile.

“We will employ 95 to 98 percent of the people we had before and we’re hiring a few more,” Gamble said. “Basically, we’re going back to the old days where you could throw peanut shells on the floor, and have some fun with your family.’’

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