Jim ´n Nick's is a chain, but one backed by real guys: Jim and Nick Pihakis, father and son, who ran the business together until Jim died not long ago. Now Nick is overseeing the expansion into barbecue-loving parts of America, including Aurora, where the local owner is Paul Cestaska, who came to Colorado by way of Birmingham. Jim ´n Nick's is known for a lot of things -- for the pork ribs and cheese biscuits and giant baked potatoes covered in pork -- but the real draw here is its drive-thru, so you can sate your barbecue craving on the go.
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While Denver's surge of independent restaurants over the past year or two has been astonishing, national chains still see plenty of opportunities in the surrounding suburbs. In last few days, branches of three corporate entiti...