Ramblin' Jack's is a bar and restaurant located in Olympia, WA made famous for its freshly smoked meats, eclectic menu choices, and signature cocktails. It may be considered a staple of fine dining in Olympia by some, but it seems Ramblin' Jack's has developed an over-hyped reputation that it cannot live up to.
Do not come to Ramblin' Jack's if you are looking for a nice craft brew. Though they offer an impressive wine list, beer lovers will not find many options on the menu. The few beers they do offer are pretty generic, like Blue Moon, Manny's, and the big brand names. However, all their beers are marked up in price and presented as being more exotic than they actually are. Those who like hard alcohol should know that the cocktails are stiff but pricey. You can get cheaper and stiffer drinks at any of the other bars downtown.
Though their menu may be famous for offering a wide variety of Northwest cuisine and Southern comfort foods, it is also over-priced, poorly cooked, and overrated. Customers have complained of tough ribs with barely any meat on the bones, steaks so over-cooked they arrive charred, and dressing drenched salads made with browned lettuce and stale croutons. The Reef offers a better, cheaper version of their chicken and gravy and you can get a cheaper cut of steak at a chain restaurant like the Outback that will be cooked to your liking. If you are planning on trying some of their famous ribs, be sure to bring your own wet wipes or napkins as they do not offer any of their own.
The staff is polite but is not as attentive as one would hope they would be. Service can be slow even when the bar is nearly empty, and customers may have to remind servers that they need boxes for their takeout or refills of their water. If anything, it seems that the servers at Ramblin' Jack's are not properly trained.
It does not seem as though much thought was put into the layout of Ramblin' Jack's. The bar is small and often packed while the large restaurant area is usually pretty empty. Customers who are claustrophobic may want to avoid the first stall in the women's bathroom, which is so confining that customers will find their knees rubbing up against the door.
The good news is that if you find yourself at Ramblin’ Jack’s on a slow night, you will be seated almost immediately and the food will come quickly. However, if you plan on meeting up for drinks, make sure you arrive early and are prepared for a hefty bill. There are a few decent things on the menu, as well. The macaroni and cheese is a safe bet, but it is also a relatively simple meal to make and is hard to mess up. If you order a full salad, you will either want to share it or be prepared to take home leftovers.
All in all, Ramblin’ Jack’s provides average food that tends to be overcooked and offered at high prices. Their cocktails may be great but are definitely not worth the risk.