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Jun 15, 2009 08:25 AM

Slows update (Detroit)

Drove by Slows at about 10 Saturday night, not yet having eaten, and there was a parking space right in front of Slows that seemed to be calling me. So I went in and had the basic pulled pork dinner. The place has now been open for almost four years, and it was still packed at that hour, which in this economy in Michigan is pretty impressive. And I can see why it's packed. It would have been very easy for them to expand, start dishing out a lot of food kept hot on steam tables, ride their reputation for a few years, make some money, and then go on to something new. But they have not done that. Everything I had was obviously made to order. Had green beans with mustard sauce on the side--they were crisp, tart, and fresh. It'd be easy for them to get away with premade green beans, which are OK even if they sit around for a while, but they haven't gone that route.

The beer list is also remarkable, with lots of items I haven't seen anywhere else around here. I had a Rogue Chipotle ale from Oregon that was expensive but worth it.

It took a while to get the food, for me and for others around me, but nobody seemed to care. This is not a place to go to eat in 20 minutes before a basketball game, and that seems to have sunk in. It's notable that when the owners tried to do a coffee house across the street--a business in which quickness and high volume is key--it failed almost immediately. But the barbecue place is still on the right track, and it's evolving into a local institution.

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  1. Slows is one of my favorites. We need more places like it in MI. Try a Scrumpy's Hard Cider next time - goes great w/ BBQ

    1. Recently voted one of the top BBQ joints in the US and it's no mystery why to me. You won't find and sides straight out of a Sysco box here and surely they have at least one house made BBQ sauce to please every one. IIR they are now using Nieman Ranch pork as well.
      Baseball and BBQ. It works for me every time!

      1. Maybe I'll try it again sometime. Only been there once, and the pulled pork was very overcooked, dry and tough. Wouldn't recommend the place.

        5 Replies
        1. re: crw77

          I would say your experience would be the exception more than the rule. I have been several times and have had just great food every time. I agree with Jim on it not being the fastest place but I do not mind so much when they have that good old beer selection.

          1. re: crw77

            I think the key word in your post there is "once". I, too, have had overcooked pork there one time, but *only* one time, and I've been there on several occasions (10? Maybe more?). Yes, I'm still kicking myself for not sending it back that one time (and I darned well *should have*), but in fairness, every place is allowed to have an off day one in a while...even the best establishments.

            You need to get over here to Slows again, and if it happens again, point it out, nicely but firmly. I sincerely believe that it won't happen again, but who knows? It's honestly worth trying twice, I promise you that.

            The service, on the other hand, is almost hopeless. Funny thing, that: the first time I ever went to Slows the service was *fantastic*...and every time since, it's functional at best, and oftentimes pretty lethargic/slow/downright lazy. The food remains top-notch, but the apparent hubris from their great pedigree shows squarely in the pretty lousy service.

            But oh...that food. Can't resist. :)

            1. re: crw77

              I'll echo what others have said. I've been many times. One time I had pulled pig that tasted slightly of lighter fluid. Every other time, Very good. I never find the service here off but then I guess I've learned that it's not going to be fast. The biggest bummer is that the place has become so popular you might have to wait in line for a table.

              1. re: crw77

                What everyone else has said. :-) I've never had a bad plate here and we've been here at least a dozen times in the past year. Service can be slow at times, but it is worth the wait. It got to the point where I bought my own smoker so I don't have to drive 30 miles for it every time I want pulled pork, but even that does no justice.

                1. re: GrueLurks

                  Slows is one of Detroit's greatest gifts.

                  please tell me somebody enjoys the mac n cheese as much as I do?