BBQ. Oh yeah. And by BBQ I don’t mean grillin’ out. I mean QUE.
I’ve lived in just about every state in the South at this point, and Richard and I spent the last couple of decades hanging out the QUE mecca of South Carolina. In those parts, it was all about the pork QUE and the sauce could be anything ranging from mustard-based, vinegar-based, tomato-based (or even Sundrop-based or Cheerwine-based, for those really well-versed in Carolina BBQ). We have had some fine pork QUE in our day.
Since moving to Texas last year, it’s been all about the beef brisket and sausage. We’ve tried several places all ready and have a few more to try out yet.
With a QUE background like that, you can understand our hesitancy all these years about trying Famous Dave’s. I mean…..a BBQ chain place based out of Minnesota?!?!?! Hmmmmm. Plus we normally don’t do chains.
But we’ve got one fairly close to where we live, and we’ve had more than a few local types tell us how much they like Famous Dave’s. And to top it off, we had a coupon for a free Famous Dave’s sandwich. So we decided it was about time to check the place out.
We headed in on a cold wintery Saturday for lunch, and we were immediately greeted warmly by the hostess and shown to a nice comfy booth. Before we could even look down at our menus, our server Mayela was there to take our drink order. Richard opted for the lemonade and I had a Diet Pepsi, but alcoholic beverages (including wine) are available as well (and will be tried out in the future, I’m sure).
There was plenty to choose from BBQ-wise, but I was hankering for a taste of my ol’ BBQ pork. Given that I’ve been in Texas, I’d been sticking to brisket for the past year. But it was time to be nostalgic and to go for the Georgia Chopped Pork Sandwich (hickory-smoked and slathered with Rich & Tasty BBQ sauce, per the menu). My sandwich came with 1 side and there were several tempting options, but I went with the Famous Fries (crispy-fried, thick-cut, skin-on Russett potato wedges). Richard chose the Texas Maneater sandwich. According to the menu, this is the sandwich that separates the men from the boys: real Texas beef brisket and zesty hot link sausage, sliced thin, piled high, and crowned with Hell-Fire Pickles. Like me, he ordered the Famous Fries on the side.
After Mayela took our food order, Famous Ken (who appeared to be a manager) came by our table. We loved Famous Ken! He asked us how everything was so far and if there was anything he could get for us, and he seemed genuinely interested in finding out who we were and how we were enjoying everything so far.
Mayela brought by some homemade chips and various BBQ sauces, and she spent time telling us about each sauce. It was fun trying them all out!
Before we knew it, our food had arrived. Oh my. This was some tasty QUE. It may not be the very best QUE we’ve ever had, but remember…..we’ve had some of the best to be had over the years. And we must say that this was some good tasty stuff. My chopped pork sandwich was tender and smoky-tasting, and the accompanying sauce was sweet and tomato-based. Richard thought the Maneater was a perfect combo of BBQ meat, what with the brisket and the sausage. Our sandwich rolls were fine, and barely big enough to hold all the meat. The fries were ok. I probably liked them more than Richard did (his comment was “the meat was where it’s at!”).
Of course, we were stuffed. But dessert beckoned, and we answered the call. Richard had the Famous Sundae, with 3 scoops of ice cream drizzled with chocolate sauce and topped with whipped cream. He said that it was an excellent sundae. Given the pecan pie-aholic that I am, there was no question what I was getting. Bring me out the Better Than Mom’s Pecan Pie! This was a generous slab of pie (oh yes….I just love me a whole slab of pie!), sitting alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some whipped cream. This was my kind of dessert! The pecans actually tasted quite good and fresh, and while the crust appeared non-homemade it still was quite tasty. Famous Ken came by again and commented on how great the bread pudding is…may have to try that next time if I can ever resist the pecan pie. Mayela also by with the check and mentioned that the bread pudding is her fave dessert (and that website photo of it sure does look good).
Richard and I honestly were not expecting much from Famous Dave’s. But Famous Dave’s really did exceed our expectations. The QUE was surprisingly good, and we also really enjoyed our desserts. The atmosphere was relaxing and comfortable, and the customer service was fantastic. Mayela was an excellent server, and Famous Ken stopped by several times to make sure all was fine with our meal. We also saw him checking by all the other tables, to make sure that people were enjoying their food and their time at Famous Dave’s. And on the way out, several servers (not even our own) said good-bye and told us to have a great afternoon. That is great customer service!