When I was a kid in St. Joe, there was no barbecue up here that I remember. You had to go to KC and eat at Gates and Sons or Arthur Bryant's.
Judging by this place, you still do.
I should have known: by the location, by the fake-folksy décor and the "hyuk-hyuk how yew awl dewin' hon" schtick that it was utterly fake. Too much crap on the walls, Dave's this and Dave's that, and a plaque at the host stand identifying the corporate owners. There is no Dave. Or if there ever was, he totally sold out to the forces of evil.
After waiting too long to be seated in a nearly-empty dining room, my partner wondered why the customers looked so tense. We figured it out after sitting there for 35 minutes with no food. Six tables that I could see in a big dining room. At least a half-dozen uniformed servers wandering folksily around, and from what I could tell, their average ticket time was over 30 minutes. We agreed to get up and leave at 40 minutes, but dang it, after 38 minutes they brought out our plates. (I wish they hadn't.)
Now, in the interest of disclosure, I happen to be a restaurant chef. In my restaurant, we serve an average of 700 customers a day and every item is cooked to order and delivered in an average of 11 minutes. Nothing, but NOTHING, we chose was cooked to order. Gluey instant mashed potatoes (red, with skins). Dried-out frozen green beans with chopped up leftovers added. Half an ear of inedible frozen corn on the cob that had been sitting in warm water for hours, served at room temperature with no butter. Macaroni and cheese right out of the microwaveable pouch. Canned baked beans with more unserveable leftover proteins chopped up and thrown in.
Look, I know all the tricks -- and they tried to pull every one (and failed).
My partner ordered the rib tips, hoping for boneless burnt ends. Instead, he got the nasty chewy cartilage bits trimmed off other people's dinners. I ordered the chopped pork, which they are too lazy to pull as they should. The sauces are three: Sassy and Sweet (no sass, just cloyingly sugary), Sweet and Spicy (sweet and nasty), and Devil Spit (well, it RHYMES with "spit" -- about as hot as Gates' regular sauce). Oh, and the Georgia Mustard sauce (AKA honey mustard salad dressing). Cornbread muffins were oversweet (I mean with a hard sugar glaze on them!) and stuck to the paper cups.
Good lord, this was just terrible. The best part? After asking us how everything was 4 times in the half-hour we waited, once we got the actual awful food, nobody asked us anything but if we wanted dessert. I was prepared to answer, "Very disappointing," so I wrote that on the check instead.
No, we did NOT stiff the server, the bad food and utterly unacceptable ticket times were not her fault. She got her four bucks, but I want my $28 back.
Stay far, far away from this place. I feel genuinely sorry for the reviewers here that think this dreck is good, much less "the real thing."
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