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Famous Dave's BBQ, any hounds ever been?

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The closest one to us L.A. Hounds are Simi Valley & Long Beach. Wanted to try it out but thought I would consult with the chow board first!


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  1. Let's put it this way.

    You know how you hear about fights that actually get physical between proponents of Memphis BBQ vs. St. Louis BBQ vs. Carolina BBQ vs. Texas BBQ vs. Santa Maria BBQ, etc.?

    You ever wonder why you never hear about Minnesota BBQ?

    Because it's awful. Famous Dave's is a barbecue restaurant chain based in Minneapolis, or near enough to it. It's all over the Midwest and I guess they've made a couple of outposts out here.

    The last time I went to one was when I flew into MSP, we were absolutely starving, and the sign came up on 494. We decided it could not possibly be inedible, and they wasted no time in proving us wrong by demonstrating that it would have been tastier to put some sauce on the napkins and eat them instead.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Das Ubergeek

      I'll save you some time as well as gas. Stay home and bbq your own ribs, I will bet you it's way better than anything you can get at Famous Dave's.

      1. re: Das Ubergeek

        Awful? I think godawful would be more accurate.

        Most of us have something at McDonald's, Taco Bell, etc., that we're willing to eat if the alternative is starvation. I've yet to find that dish of last resort at Famous Dave's -- in Southern California. However, I once lived in Annapolis and thought that the Dave's location there was marginally better, probably because of higher competition from local barbecue places. When you and most of your customers have never had good Q, how can you cook it? "... 13. Place pre-boiled ribs on fire and cook until grill marks appear on bottom. 14. Turn ribs...." Sorry, but having lived throughout the South and Lower Midwest, I am very skeptical of most barbecue joints in my native California.

        1. re: Mel Gee

          The minute anyone starts off by saying "boil" and ribs in the same sentence i stop listening.that simply is NOT BBQ its grilling boiled meat and hiding it in sauce,doesnt sound so good now does it? why do you want to boil all the flavor out of your meat? go down south and tell them to boil ribs and if you dont get slapped you will be laughed at all the way back to your native California.While i have had not-so-tender ribs at Famous Daves,i guarantee they dont boil ribs (ick),they smoke them like BBQ ought to be done.Daves is nowhere near as good as the roadside BBQ stands i've been to down south (they have bad bbq down there too) but,when you live in northern Illinois,its One of the very few choices we have if you dont want to spend an entire afternoon cooking your own ribs slow and low on a BBQ rig.plus Daves is such a change of pace it can be a fun time too.

      2. Although my experience at Dave's when I was back in Omaha was certainly not pleasant, it wasn't as bad as Blakes BBQ in Anaheim. Awful, but draws a crowd. Go figure

        1. I grew up in MN, so I actually liked Famous Daves. When I got out to the Bay Area and LA (and I was in NC for a while), I found much better BBQ. That being said, I still think Famous Dave's is better than alot of BBQ places down here. But it is not worth a drive, but if you are nearby and craving BBQ w/ no great BBQ spots near, it will do.

          1. It's not horrible. Not great. If you have a choice, don't go.

            1. I went to the Dave's in Ontario (I was stuck in the IE with no other food options and it's was grand opening so I thought why not?) Dave's is a chain just like Lucille's - so it's gonna be the best BBQ you are gonna get in LA (that's not saying much). But never order the single meat lunch combo - I was so mad! It came with 3 little ribs (- kind of fatty too), corn muffin (boring and bland), and choice of 1 side = $8.99. I felt so ripped off.

              1. they have a smoked salmon dip appetizer that i think is delicious.

                1. pretty bad bbq, I did think their chicken wings were ok. But the ribs were not very good.

                  1. Yeah!!! and the sides are awful as well.

                    1. We have two in Kansas City, no really, we do. My wife loves the chain restaurants. We tried the one by the giant furniture shop in Kansas City, KS. I had a ribs and fried catfish dinner. Ribs were indeed awful. Fries were ok. Catfish wasn't bad at all. If I get dragged back, its the catfish dinner for me.

                      My wife loved it by the way, she had the pulled pork sandwich. But she likes Applebees, so there ya go.

                      1. yuk!! i was skeptical anyway, since i'm from memphis, but decided to give it a shot. never again. i don't know how it stays in business.

                        1. I don't like their ribs, but I think the brisket is pretty good.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: AnnyM

                            I only went once and I thought it was pretty bad, particularly the sides and the overly friendly/chummy service. If I am thinking chains and ribs I'd rather eat at Damon's.

                          2. Went to Simi when it first opened. Let's put it this way - I did an online review at their website to point out multiple problems with food and service. They had a manager from No CA phone me for an interview since the So CA one wasn't available (and he was in a training seminar he said). Then they sent two gift 'cards' to the house (a relative's - I lived out of state). They used them for a meal when they went back but don't think they've ever gone back again.

                            1. Ditto to everything, PLUS it's expensive and always has a long wait.

                              1. The one in Clearwater, Fla closed after less than a year. No wonder, with average food and with higher than average prices.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: scubadoo97

                                  Is Famous Dave's worse than Smokey Bones?

                                  1. re: callitasicit

                                    I would seriously guess that each location of each franchise might have its own slight differences, and as we all know, no matter how hard you try to make each batch of q good, it doesn't always turn out 100% perfect. I have been to both although I only went to SB once. Take this for what it's worth: I will never in my life go to a Smokey Bones again if I had to pay for it. I would, however, go to a Famous Daves again. I went to a SB at lunch, and it was just the worst bbq, and sauce think I have ever had the displeasure of paying for. I really hope the reason is because the management team let the place slip. If not, then this place is truly one of the worst restaurants in the land. The one I went to has closed, I believe.
                                    So, my opinion is that Fanmous Dave's blows SB away, but that's not saying a whole heck of a lot.

                                    1. re: gordeaux

                                      I was recently in Buffalo on Memorial day and unfortunately all the legit BBQ joints were not open. Since we were staying near the Galleria we decided to go to Smokey Bones however Smokey Bones had very limited menu options which didn't include ribs!!! We opted to go to Famous Daves and we thought it was not too bad. I have been to much worse but that being said I live in Toronto Ontario where real bbq doesn't exist!!

                                  2. Maybe I'm just unimaginative, but all the Mackinaw jackets, 1950's "Field and Stream" clippings, and other assorted chain-restaurant design crap-a-brac on the walls just don't cue (PUN!) me that I'm about to be served some good BBQ.

                                    The portions are too big, which makes it nearly impossible to leave without feeling loaded down, or to get in and out for cheap. The takeout packaging is so wasteful, it would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: monkeyrotica

                                      Some of us have giant SUVs because we're 6'8" and have four kids.

                                    2. funny thing is we have THREE locations here in VEGAS!!! Don't think we need so many locations for BBQ if it's not very good. I here Adam's Ribs is good, and of course Memphis BBQ has a loyal following here. But, I like Back Forty BBQ in the SF Bay Area, some of the best Q in the Bay IMHO.:) http://www.backforty.us/index.htm

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: someyoungguyy

                                        Of the two Famous Dave locations that opened in my little slice of New Jersey, one is already closed!

                                        1. re: The Engineer

                                          This is by far the worst chain in existance....

                                      2. I like Famous Dave's and so does my husband. I say you should try it!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: lammoreaux

                                          I had the BBQ pork platter, and enjoyed it and also enjoyed the excellent service. OTOH, I would not order the ribs under any circumstances as IMO they are grossly overpriced.

                                        2. I finally tried it for the first time (Palmdale location)...Im definatly impressed. I got the st lous ribs and white meat chicken combo and my mom got the whole slab of st louis. The ribs were cooked perfect and had flavor in every bite. We also had the catfish strips as an appetizer, they were very fresh with a good flavor, no sauce needed. Finally i can get my BBQ fix a little closer to home, no more LA trips =] .