Ragtime Cafe a long-standing success

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Ragtime Cafe knows it&8217;s good, and likes to keep it that way.

The 16-year-old, North Shelby County restaurant serves lunch and dinner to families and business types with a famous consistency.

The lunch time cook, Betty Jones, has been with the restaurant since it opened, and Dexter Johnson has been preparing unique steak and fish dinner entrees for almost as long.

Owner Rodney Zimmerman prides himself on the consistent, high quality meals his restaurant offers. &8220;We do everything fresh, and we use our own recipes. Even our sauces are homemade,&8221; he said.

For example, the homemade buffalo wing recipe hasn&8217;t changed one lick in 16 years, earning the self-titled name &8220;B&8217;ham&8217;s Best Buffalo Wings.&8221;

Maybe best of all, Ragtime Cafe caters to the whole community. &8220;It&8217;s kind of a neighborhood spot,&8221; said Zimmerman. &8220;I&8217;ve seen a lot of kids grow up over the last 16 years.&8221;


Ragtime Cafe is refreshingly simple.

One could almost mistake it for a sports-themed restaurant and bar from the Daniel Moore paintings, framed sports art on the wall, and three TV&8217;s in the main dining room. But aside from the d/cor and muted ESPN, the similarities end there. Zimmerman sticks to simple framed art and a colorful painted mural.

One shouldn&8217;t, however, plan on having a quiet, intimate conversation during peak meal times. The restaurant is smaller than your average chain but still draws big crowds. Though not overly packed, the enclosed rooms get pretty noisy. Also, plan on making up your own parking spot during peak hours. Spaces are very limited.

The cafe does have a bar, but it is set off to one side in its own room, again making the restaurant more enjoyable for both families and happy hour fans alike.


Everybody can leave happy from a meal at Ragtime Cafe. The menu itself offers tons of choices, and both the dinner and lunch specialty menus add even more selection and variety.

At lunch, Jones serves up a different meat and three combination and offers quiche, soup, salad and sandwiches du jour. Her freshly made desserts are also a must-have.

At night, Ragtime Cafe&8217;s steaks are a surefire choice, as well as their grilled tuna with ginger soy scallion sauce. The chicken is also delicious, very juicy and tender.

Of course, buffalo wings are a must-try appetizer. Theirs are of the crisper variety with a lighter, less sticky sauce. The actual chicken wing meat is juicy and hot to touch, and not overwhelmed by the buffalo sauce.

If you prefer buffalo wings that leave a gooey mess, these may not be your favorite.


Service was attentive and prompt, nothing out of the ordinary.

Most of the waiters are young but in every way professional.

Manager Paul Curcio makes sure things run smoothly, and both he and Zimmerman jump right in hand delivering customers&8217; food. &8220;I&8217;m a very hands-on owner,&8221; explained Zimmerman. Both he and Curcio make rounds at the restaurant, making sure every one leaves satisfied.


Ragtime Cafe

2080 Valleydale Road

Hours: Lunch and dinner, Monday

to Saturday

Phone: 988-5323

Web: www.ragtimecafe.co