Karaoke in Cleveland at JR’s RoadKill BBQ & Ribs

After a hot day thrashing my motorcycle — Grasshopper, The Humble Ninja — up, down and around the twisty roads of North Georgia, I was tired, ripe, thirsty and hungry.  As I descended from the mountains, an oasis appeared on the horizon: JR’s RoadKill BBQ & Ribs, near Turners Corner, north of Cleveland.

What a surprise!

Ezra & Grampa at JR’s RoadKill BBQ & Ribs north of Cleveland, GA. ~ Photo by Robert Sutherland

My grandson, Ezra, stopped by for popsicles not too long ago, but the restaurant wasn’t open.

As a matter of fact, I have visited this spot for probably 25 years, back when it was run by a wonderful lady named Marge.  It was Mountain View back then.

My kids used to love to try to catch polliwogs in the stream or flip a Frisbee with me — while we feasted on Jumbo Jet Stars, if we had enough to buy them.

Used to be a sign out front that read, “See the White Bat!”  Folks who took the bait, entered a fascinating room filled with natural gems and one rather interesting box.

Inside was a small, white … baseball bat.  And all the people cheered!

On this particular Friday afternoon, I parked my bike, shed my gear and went inside, looking like a sweaty old man who had baked in the sun a little too long.

Hamburger Steak at JR’s RoadKill BBQ & Ribs ~ Photo by Robert Sutherland

JR’s RoadKill BBQ & Ribs wasn’t packed, so I was promptly seated at one of several open tables.

When I asked for a seat by the window I was told the other tables were reserved.  Yes, I wondered “reserved for WHAT?” but I kept my thoughts to myself.

My hamburger steak with grilled onions, mushrooms and peppers (without the peppers, please) was perfectly gooped, cooked and delivered.  I was a happy camper.

The people-watching was interesting as folks kept filling up the room.  One lady had enough sound gear for an outdoor Rolling Stones concert, and set it up right next to me.

Suddenly, I realized why my table wasn’t reserved.  It was Karaoke Night at JR’s!  Heck, yeah!

The True JR of JR’s Road Kill BBQ & Ribs Fame ~ Photo by Robert Sutherland

Wasn’t long before the secret got out and the place was packed!  There was one group of 15 late-comers who couldn’t fit inside, so they snagged a fun table on the front porch.  They could have eaten atop Blood Mountain and still heard every note, I feared.

The last time I was this surprised at a restaurant was probably 20 years ago when I traveled to a convention in Southern California and went to dinner with friends who knew the area.

Tables were placed together, end to end, in long rows from the front to the back of the room.  The food was okay, nothing special.  Then, the lights went down.

A moment later, there was a zillion-piece mariachi band with every possible sized guitar, tubas, guys with enormous sombreros and enough glitz and bling to make Zorro jealous.  What. A. Show!

The Stage at JR’s RoadKill BBQ & Ribs ~ Photo by Robert Sutherland

That place in L.A. is probably gone, but you can get your kicks on Route 129 at JR’s RoadKill BBQ & Ribs on Friday nights for karaoke!  What. A. Show!

Please Note:  Bring your own waitress, table and parking place.  Thank you.

No, I didn’t post pictures of folks who were just there to have fun singing or being sung to by amateurs who range from not-bad to pretty-good to heck, yeah!

As always, no one asked me to write this story.  I was not paid.  I paid for my meal and left a tip.  Happily.

So, from now on … you can NEVER say, “Martha!  There ain’t one good place in North Georgia to go on a Friday night for karaoke.  Ain’t that a shame?”

See you on Friday night at JR’s RoadKill … and karaoke!

JR’s RoadKill BBQ & Ribs on Facebook


About Author

Robert J. Sutherland is a travel writer enjoying life in Gainesville, GA.
Robert has two adult daughters, seven practically perfect grandchildren and a zippy Kawasaki. Contact Robert at [email protected].

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