J.W. Finn's

J.W. Finn'sI’m having a hard time remembering if I have ever been as disappointed with a restaurant as I was with J.W. Finn’s after dining there one night last week.  My savvy sis snatched up a $10 off $20 coupon on Seize the Deal, so we had a pretty good incentive to give the place a visit. Unfortunately, I don’t think I will be going back anytime soon.

We should have known what to expect.  As we walked through the front door an angry looking couple were on their way out.  They actually wished us ‘good luck’ and advised it was ‘horrible’.  We should have made a break for it then, but we had a coupon, so we put on our brave faces and got a table.  I was pleased to see they had Landshark available, so I promptly ordered a cold one.  We perused the menu for a few moments, noting they’d added some pleasant additions to their previously boring menu.  Ultimately, we decided we’d share the chicken, bacon, jalapeno appetizer (Texas Bites) and the grilled shrimp entree.  It was all downhill after this point.  Looking around at the other diners in the restaurant, we couldn’t help but notice all the scowling faces.  I also noticed each time a check was delivered there would be a dispute over at least one item.

J.W. Finn'sAfter a few minutes our appetizer arrived.  I can’t help but laugh as I recall our server actually warning us that the chicken might be raw, that this was a common problem, and that if it is raw, just to tell her and she’d take it back to the kitchen.  Am I the only one who finds it incredibly bizarre that a restaurant would serve someone chicken that was most likely raw?  At least she warned us, but in a way I think that actually makes it worse that they knew about it and gave it to us anyways.  Oh yeah, and of course, it was raw.  Very raw.  Translucent raw.  At this point our appetites were growing cautious.  I didn’t have the greatest of expectations after the raw chicken appetizer, and rightly so.  The shrimp entree was mediocre at best.  The shrimp had an off taste to them, and I doubt they were fresh.  The sweet potato fries were delicious, but the bowl of canned green beans in the middle of the plate was distracting and unappetizing.

J.W. Finn'sIt really pains me to say such harsh things about a locally owned business who I’d like nothing more than to support.  At the same time though, I also believe that restaurants owe it to their patrons to provide quality food (food that is also properly cooked) and not to cheap-out and try to fool us with half-hearted attempts at success.  I believe that J.W. Finn’s could succeed with a little hard work and TLC, but I’m pessimistic about their longevity if things there remain the status quo.

J.W. Finn’s
6011 South Broadway Avenue
Tyler, TX 75703-4410
(903) 561-3466

J.W. Finn's on Urbanspoon


  1. Anne Payne says:

    Too bad you had a bad experience. We eat at Finn’s often and have always had excellent food. The fried zucchini is the BEST! They also have amazing salads and burgers. Actually my son loves the chicken strips (they are massive and have never been raw!). Perhaps you should give them another try.

  2. I have never gotten bad service or bad food at JW Finn’s, newly improved or the older version. I really hope you give them a second chance, this does not even sound like the same place I go often! Not only is the food and service good, the free music they have is great. The patio is cozy and fun also. Not sure what was wrong on this particular day, but I have never had any of these issues there. :(

  3. Sam Kennedy says:

    I worked for Mr. Finninger for 10yrs and know for a fact that his dedication to the quality of food and service is second to none.
    I suggest giving J.W. Finns a second try. I would bet my savings that it will be a great experiance.
    I also want to ask a question of you as responsible bloggers (or whatever this is). What do you do in real life or is this it?

  4. Really? I’ve been to Finns on many occasions and have never had any problems whatsoever. Actually to the contrary, while I was entering one evening not too long ago, a group of ppl were leaving, one of the gentlemen in the group was telling another person in their party “That was great!”
    I never seen anyone that appeared unhappy (patrons or employees) and they always come around to check on you, ask how things are, or just to visit with you. I find it to be a very friendly, comfortable place. I agree with the others that you should visit again b/c what you’ve described is definately not the JW Finns I frequent. Thanks.

  5. that would be….*I’ve* never seen…… ; )

  6. Merri O'Leary Walsh says:

    I love J.W. Finns…..my family goes there quite a bit and the staff has always been upbeat and pleasant and the food has been really good. I loved the atmosphere before the remodel, but it is even better now. The patio out back is cozy too. It sounds like that you need to go back and try the place again. You must have hit a bad night.

  7. Tena Jerger says:

    :::TOTALLY DISAGREE:::::: with this review, it should be retracted and re-wrote.

  8. Well, we recently moved to Tyler in the last year. I have adored this website as it has given my family and I great recommendations. Not long after we moved here, we visited JW Finns and we were very disappointed in our service & our food. Because of it, we haven’t returned to try it again. I was so sad because we love burger places and make it our mission to find the best burgers in any place we live. If this was your experience, then I don’t feel like you should retract anything. Continue to be honest in your reviews as it’s what holds those of us who own businesses accountable. Just so you know, I’ll try it again if you do, but let’s pray they get it really right this time.

  9. Love Love the Marinated Chicken Breast(juicy), Green Beans (Great) & the Mashed Potatoes are marvelous!

  10. Everytime i go to finn i always get the texas bits i love them. you should try them agan.

  11. I ate at J.W.Finn’s this evening for the first time, having just moved to Tyler 2 months ago. I was very pleased with the service and the food.
    I we shared the fried zucchini to see if it lived up to it’s “famous” label and they were pretty good. I got a juicy cheese burger and fries and was very please. Crinkle cut fries happen to my my favorite. Also my friend order the chicken fingers, and she said they we really good.

    I will surely return to try other things and it just might be my local burger joint from now on.

  12. I LOVE this restaurant! The salads are wonderful and the fried zuccinni is a craving of mine! Living in San Antonio and visiting often to Tyler I always have to go to Finns to have the zuccinni! Also the owners are happy and service oriented people! I love to see their smiling faces everytime I go in there!
    Thsi restaurant is a winner in my book!

  13. I also “seized the deal” and bought 2 of the $20 for $10 coupons. I have three kids and hate to cook, so any restaurant discounts are greatly apprecieated. Each time we have been to Finn’s the service was great but the food was OK at best. We tried serveral things on the menu, the shrimp had a “too fresh twang” the salad dressings were wierd tasting, nothing was really seasoned,and the wait staff didn’t really know the menu. We don’t even bother to go on “kid’s eat free night” anymore, not worth it.

  14. allbill says:

    Guess some improvements have been made since the new Finns’s. We went shortly after they opened last year and the wife and I lamented that we might do well to enjoy our memories of the first JW Finns when it was over on the loop across from the bowling alley. Must have missed the fried zucchini all those years. Many a night was spent dancing, eating and drinking in a family atmosphere and still miss the old original store!!!

  15. We all have some bad days, but I have been to JW Finns at least 10 times and have never experienced poor service, food, or attitude. The burgers are great! Support your local privately owned business’s!

  16. Ordered Cobb salad,the lettuce was only iceberg and rotten, absoluty brown. Poor service, poor quality.

  17. I love this place!

  18. Luke Allen says:

    I was so excited when I heard we were getting Finns back! I don’t know anyone in Tyler in their 40’s who does not have some nostalgic memories of JW Finns across from the bowling alley! Great food, great atmosphere, great memories! Unfortunately I wish we would have just left our memories where the were with the old place. But we tried Finns several months ago and we have not and will not go back. The service though “sweet” enough I guess, did not build confidence that we would get what we ordered, the other visible staff just sort of milled around, there was no greeting or really any verbal exchange when we went up to place our order (more like a yeah what do you want silence). We did get what we ordered, but the burgers were raw on the inside and the fried zucchini was limp with grease (as if it were placed in the fryer while it was too cold). I did send my burger back, but the staff acted like they couldn’t understand what was wrong with it but took it back begrudgingly and made me another one…begrudgingly. I would have mentioned it to the owner, after all he was there. In the dining room watching all that her surveys drinking wine with a lady I assumed was his wife, oblivious anything was wrong right under his nose…

  19. We always enjoy burgers and fries, and are NEVER disappointed. We eat there often–at night. Very good.

  20. I went there. It was only OK. Won’t go back.

  21. This place was disgusting! Glad it’s gone!

  22. I went twice. Had a burger both times. I was hoping the first time they were having an off night but it was very dry, no taste and no service. Sorry JW but not your best by a long shot. The best burgers in town are at Skyline Cafe at the OLD airport terminal under the air traffic control tower. Fast, friendly service and hot delicious food!

  23. Tried 3 times says:

    Like my handle, I’ve tried the new place 3 times and each experience was lackluster. Once was ok, once was not great, last was horrible. Chicken sandwich, burger & Salad. Also zucchini fries were limp and oily. The RANCH is great though, but not enough to get me back. Sorry guys ~

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