Popular north Omaha rib restaurant planning comeback after fire

Jim’s Rib Haven, a local barbecue favorite, sustained a fair amount of smoke and heat damage in a fire in late March.
Jim's Rib Haven does plan to reopen. The restaurant was forced to shut down after a devastating fire about a month ago.
Published: May. 3, 2023 at 5:24 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Fire shut down a popular Omaha restaurant about a month ago, but one of the family members behind Jim’s Rib Haven told 6 News that they’ll return.

There is work going on inside to get the doors to Jim’s Rib Haven at 38th and Ames streets open again.

“Rib Haven is not done. Like I said, my family — even though we’ve been here a lot of years, and my father’s kind of, like, tired; he’s really tired. But even still, they’re adamant about opening the place back up,” Jay Overton said. “So I give it anywhere from 30 to 60 days, depending on exactly what goes through with the city as far as our permit process and stuff.”

Overton’s family owns the Rib Haven, and he told 6 News that the north Omaha barbecue favorite will open its doors again.

“Part of the demolition has been done on the interior of the building. Our electricians are in there now, getting some lightning and power in there, so the construction guys can work and have some light,” he said.

After decades in business, the lights went off in Jims’s Rib Haven back in late March when a fire broke out in the restaurant. Firefighters had the fire put out in a few minutes, but the building suffered a fair amount of smoke and heat damage.

“Basically what it was: Our pit actually collapsed,” Overton said. “Basically what happened: It fell in on itself, and the actual fire escaped got ahold of the ceiling and shot to the front of the building.”

A North Omaha barbecue restaurant was heavily damaged by fire Wednesday.

Firefighters managed to get the blaze fire under control in about 15 minutes; but by then, plenty of damage was done to the longtime north Omaha eatery.

The fire started in the fire pit which is attached to the restaurant. While OFD crews described the most significant damage was to the smoker room, there was smoke and heat damage throughout the building.

“Everybody misses their saucy fries and the ribs and everything else. Like I said, we got it coming — and the hot links, yeah, we got it coming.”