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“We sat at the table wishing we were at Gates or Arthur's.”
Review of Famous Dave's - CLOSED

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Famous Dave's
Cuisines: Barbecue
Restaurant details
Reviewed December 29, 2011

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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1  Thank effex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (14)
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10 - 14 of 14 reviews

Reviewed August 13, 2011

Had lunch recently at Famous Dave's. I had a lunch combo with beef brisket. The brisket was lean and very tender with a nice smoked flavor. Corn on the cob didn't compare to homegrown, fresh sweet corn. The corn bread was very good and had a rather sweet flavor which was good because it wasn't served with butter, honey or jelly. The "drunken" apples were still firm, not squashy, had a good flavor and the sauce was tasty.

My wife had bbq chicken and said it was very good and quite tender. She commented the broccoli was cooked but still crisp and quite good. Our server was prompt and very friendly.

My cousin was dining with us and was quite satisfied with his brisket sandwich. After the entree, we split a bread pudding desert which came with two scoops of vanilla ice cream. Not the best I've had but good and a very generous portion.

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1  Thank Harold J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 6, 2010

Love and have tried all types of bbq-- this place is ok, not great, but it's decent and has a large menu to choose from. Found the bbq to be over sauced and over salted, and the quality of meat is not the best. But you get BIG portions and they have some good happy hour specials. My husband liked the bbq salad better than any of the sandwiches. Not rushing to go back, but will probably end up there again.

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Thank hungrybabies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 10, 2010

Don't go to this place, unless only to buy some sauce. Go down to Frederick, take a left and go to Bandana's. Expensive. Mediocre food. But definitely go if someone else pays for it.

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Thank btyking
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 15, 2009

All I can say is WOW!!!!! We don't really have too many BBQ places in Massachusetts which is where we live. The few restaurants that have it are ok, but now that I have tasted THE REAL thing I don't think that I can ever go back. We were on a 2 week driving trip of Kansas and Missouri and Dave's was the 1st BBQ restaurant we tried. Throughout the trip we tried about 7 different places and the only restaurant that beat Dave's was Gate's BBQ in Kansas City, MO.
We went to Dave's for lunch and the food was out of this world. We thought that the prices for the lunch specials was great. They gave you plenty of food. They asked us if we had ever been there before and they gave us a free bottle of Dave's BBQ sauce because it was our first time.
They have a website which tells the other locations throughout the U.S. (none in Massachusetts !!!!). The website is: www.famousdaves.com.

1  Thank zippy608
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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