Dickey's BBQ - plesant surprise or cynical disappointment?
- Professor Salt May 31, 2008 06:33 PM
A new location of Dickey's Barbecue Pit is about to open near my house. It's a national franchise with a base in Texas. I expect very little but hope to be surprised. Major chains succeed because they set a low bar for quality and rarely exceed the mediocre expectations.
What say those who've tried it?
Probably somewhere between pleasant surprise and cynical disappointment. I've eaten at a Dickey's in Dallas. It was just okay, decent for a chain but not great. The thing I like about barbecue joints is that they're usually better than fast food and just as fast.
Your profile says you're in California, so I suggest you prepare for disappointment: in my experience, whenever a regional chain starts opening away from its region, disappointment follows. The Dickeys locations I've eaten at in Texas aren't a bad meal (and have some fine pecan pie as well, properly caramel-like in texture), but the Dickey's that opened in Albuquerque a year or so before I left there was merely adequate.
the ones in St. Louis are indeed dismal. However, there's one we occasionally have hit at DFW Airport that is fairly tolerable - but maybe that's just because we're traveling and hungry. Nevertheless, in one of the terminals there, we'll hit it before the other spots nearby.
Having grown up in the Dallas area, I was really happy when they opened a franchise near my now home in North Carolina. So far, so good. It wasn't great when they first opened - the meat was not that good. I think it takes some time for the smokers to season and the meat is now much better. I really like their brisket and their smoked turkey is amazing. I like the onion tanglers and the baked potato casserole for sides and their hushpuppies are always yummy. They have a good eat-in atmosphere and try hard to be a step above your average take-out. I like that they keep the sauce warm and have free ice cream for dessert - with Hershey's syrup! It can get a little pricey. And, I have two major pet peeves with them - 1) the ridiculously large plastic yellow beverage cups that I think could be single-handidly responsible for global warming and 2) they have thie weird contraption on the table that you stick this card in to so they supposedly know where to bring your food. Frankly, the place isn't that big and the gadgetry is far more hassle than help. The servers typically wander around with trays of food not knowing where to take it because we, the customers, are not familiar enough with these stupid table machines to know what we are doing.
Food = good
Atmosphere = good
Sauce = AWESOME
Price = expensive
Gadgets = lame!
I was both pleasantly surprised and dissappointed at the same time on my latest trip to Dickey's, also my first.
The decor here is as bland as some of its food. It's lit by flourescent long tube lights which gives it a cafeteria like feeling and the ambiance is that of a dining room inside a K-mart.
First, the bad:
The pulled pork was disappointingly bland and tasted like it was boiled, needing a lot of sauce to have any flavor at all. The baked beans and macaroni and cheese were both also lacking in flavor and tasted like they came out of a can/box.
Now, the good:
The sweet pork ribs were succulent and juicy falling off the bone. I enjoyed it the most out of the meal. There was a small ciabatta like roll that came with the meal and it was sweet and delicious and surprisingly warm and soft to the touch. I also mildly enjoyed the waffle fries but they seemed to have been sitting for a while.
They also have a huge pickle jar where you can get free pickles. Also as a consolation to the mediocre meal is a much-welcomed, free soft-serve vanilla ice cream cone on the way out.
Overall, I think this place is just okay. Definitely avoid the pulled pork as it is tasteless but definitely get the sweet pork ribs. You would think they'd be more consistent with their flavor.
for photos and review check out my blogggg
There's one rule of thumb I follow with chain BBQ. If it's a chain, it's quality will suffer the bigger it gets. The first one or two times you go to one, the food will be at it's best and you'll wonder how they can sell so much for so little. After that, it's mediocre AT BEST.
I'm lucky, though. There's a ton of BBQ here in the south and all have something good. It's not a chain(yet..I encourage the guy to open more) but we have a place called Smokehouse(In Petal, MS, not Hattiesburg) that has the best Riblets, Jack Daniels Ribs, and has a pretty good pulled pork. Most chains only tend to have one item on the menu that's halfway decent.
My advice is to shop for out of the way, old building, and isolated BBQ for your dining.
It's definitely worth a try. All chains have variations in quality from store to store, but I've always been very happy with Dickey's. The food is good and the servers are usually very prompt and friendly. Sometimes you go through a buffet-style line, other times you place your order and the server brings it to you. Just depends on your location. I like the desserts and the free ice cream, of course. :) The sauces are awesome, and I agree that the ribs are much better than I expected from a national chain. It's good for when you want fast BBQ. Oh yeah, and they have 'kids eat free' nights too.
Its okay if you need a quick bbq fix but don't go in expecting good 'cue. Unless you like boiled ribs.
It's good. If you want to try it for the first time, they're selling their pulled pork Big BBQ sandwiches for $1 every Monday in January and Feb 2010.
It was very good (not great) bbq when it was a single location, family run restaurant located Central @ Henderson - Dallas. That location is still open and still the best of the bunch since they've franchised.
Another local mom and pop BBQ institution that went the way of Dickey's is Sonny Bryan's (Inwood Rd @ Harry Hines, Dallas), which was far better than Dickey's "back in the day".
Unfortunately, mass produced bbq does not good bbq make. :(