March 21-210-21, 2002
At Ivan’s, you don’t have to leave town for fine dining
Where can you go to get choice steaks, aged and hand-cut daily and grilled to perfection, or grilled breast of chicken-Jamaican Jerk style, grilled shrimp Louisiana style or bouillabaisse?
A place where the atmosphere is casual yet classy and the service is first-rate?
Drive to Charlotte — or beyond?
You can enjoy fine dining, and excellent food and beverages right here in Salisbury at Ivan’s.
The restaurant is located one and a half miles past Rowan Regional Medical Center on Old Mocksville Road, and this establishment has been serving Rowan County diners for 12 years.
The Sims families, in partnership, own this restaurant of understated elegance.
Joe Sims, the general manager, tells of Ivan’s origination.
“We opened the restaurant so dad would stop driving an hour to go eat in a high-quality restaurant,” he explains.
His dad, Joe Ivan Sims –for whom the restaurant is named — traveled for 30 years with his job and hit all the best restaurants along the way.
“All the things these restaurants did well, we wanted to do here,” Joe says.
The rustic setting, ample wood d/cor and outdoor prints in the dining room make for a comfortable atmosphere.
The bar area has a hunting lodge feel to it and a good selection of fine wines and brews.
Ivan’s original concept was for ribs and steaks only, explains Joe, with blackboards on the wall describing the menu.
“Our customers gradually urged us to offer more fine dining and high-quality steaks,” Joe says. Thus the tablecloths, expanded menu and featured items.
Steaks are one of Ivan’s most popular specialties.
They cut all their own steaks and the meat has to be aged 45 to 90 days, more toward 90, Joe adds. Cooked Pittsburgh style, which means seared as quickly as possible to keep in all the juices, plus a few of Joe’s secret touches, the steaks do taste terrific.
I had a 6-ounce filet mignon ($19.95) which was cooked to perfection. It came with a salad, fresh made bread, and choice of fries, baked potato and rice or vegetable medley. Prime Rib is available Thursday through Saturday and runs from $17.95 to $20.95 depending upon the size. You can also order New York strip (14-ounce, $23.95), ribeye ($21.95) or Porterhouse (24-ounce, $29.95). Steaks may be ordered seasoned with Jamaican Jerk, too.
Featured items change monthly and include, for example: Bouillabaisse Ivan ($10.95), Salt and Pepper Catfish strips (appetizer, $6.95), scallops saut/ed in a white wine garlic sauce ($18.95) or a 10-ounce tenderloin filet with Ivan’s broil sauce ($25.95). All entrees are served with fresh-baked bread, salad and your choice of a side dish.
For those who love seafood, Shrimp Your Way is popular — 12 large shrimp served grilled, fried, steamed (hot or cold) barbecued or Louisiana style ($17.95) or grilled tuna, salmon, or Mahi-Mahi seasoned with Jamaican Jerk, if you like ($17.95). Baby-back ribs ($14.95 for a half rack, $18.95 for a full rack) are grilled with Ivan’s own special barbecue sauce. The grilled breast of chicken basted with your choice of barbecue, Italian style, Jamaican Jerk or Cajun was tender and delicious ($13.95).
The appetizer menu is also vast. Each item could be a meal in itself. Maryland crab cake served with a lime Dijon sauce ($8.95), fried calamari ($6.95); spicy saut/ed mushrooms ($4.95) are just a few of the items. The beer and cheese soup ($5.95) is also very popular.
Joe doesn’t mind if folks want to split dinners, either.
The dessert tray that comes after the meal will have you drooling — so be sure to save room. The Bailey’s Irish Crme cheesecake is the most popular, followed by a white chocolate raspberry cheesecake (my favorite), or a chocolate bourbon pecan pie. Desserts range from $3.95 to $4.95 and are sinfully good.
Ivan’s also has a children’s menu with such items as cheese sticks ($2.95), corn dog and fries ($2.95), chicken tenders and fries ($3.95) or shrimp tenders and fries ($4.95). Drinks are 75 cents and ice cream is 95 cents.
So you don’t have to leave town to enjoy fine dining. At Ivan’s, you can get superb food in a relaxed atmosphere, not “dash and dine,” as Joe mentions. The wait staff is attentive and makes you feel like you are number one.
To Joe and his well-trained staff, the customer is number one.
“We love serving people and making them happy,” Joe says.
This tradition is alive and well at Ivan’s.
Robin Perry is a freelance writer living in Rowan County