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Jim's Steak and Spaghetti true Huntington tradition

Jan. 17, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- A few years ago Jimmie Carder began asking regular customers to come up with a slogan to be placed on the placemats at her family's restaurant, at Jim's Steak and Spaghetti House.

One of the more memorable suggestions was "if you're looking for change, go to the bank." Established by Jim Tweel in 1938, Jim's Steak and Spaghetti is as stubbornly dedicated to tradition as it is to Tweel's values of "quality, consistency, and caring." Today the restaurant is still run by the Tweel family. Jimmie Tweel Carder works as the general manager, and Larry Tweel serves as company president. Larry Tweel also works as a local attorney.

The restaurant started in 1938 as Jim's Dairy Bar selling ice cream cones for a nickel. In 1944 Tweel expanded his business by adding a Spaghetti House next door. The two businesses merged in 1948 and were renamed Jim's Grill and Spaghetti House. In 1962 the restaurant was remodeled and formally changed its name to Jim's Steak and Spaghetti House. The menu has changed very little since then.

"Once we got the menu where we liked and we could serve food constantly and efficiently we kind of left it alone," said Larry Tweel. "We wanted to serve it so people could get in and eat in a reasonable amount of time before they went to the movie, visited a friend in the hospital, or whatever. We want people to come back again and again because things always taste the same."

Carder did say that a few new items have been added in the last few years. "We added grilled chicken because it had become a popular item across the board with everyone and we added a chef's salad."

Today the small family-owned diner is still known for its signature spaghetti sauce as well as hand-breaded haddock, home-style cheeseburgers on grilled bread, plus homemade coconut cream and coconut pies. And, be sure to stop in on Thursdays for a slice of banana cream pie. The restaurant also offers a special strawberry pie for only one week a year starting Tuesday after Mother's Day.

"In recent years our fish has become a big an item as our spaghetti," Carder said. "We can sell 200-300 pieces of fish a day, particularly during Lent. We have been doing fish since the '60s, and we have a haddock that is to die for. ... We also make our own tartar sauce and coleslaw."

Jim's Steak and Spaghetti House is located at 920 5th Ave., Huntington. It is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays and Mondays. Cash and checks are accepted. For carry-out orders, call 304-696-9788. For menu and restaurant history visit http://jimsspaghetti.com/.

If you go: Jim's Steak and Spaghetti House

Food: Diner

Address: 920 5th Ave., Huntington

Phone: 304-696-9788

Payment: Cash and check.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Website: http://jimsspaghetti. com/

More online: For more than 150 restaurant profiles and growing, visit the entertainment page at www.herald-dispatch.com.