Q Fanatic - A good place to eat a lot
After a day of gardening and hammering things, the Mrs. 47 and I decided to go meat. As it happens, Q Fanatic in Champlin has it... End hacky intro.
Our visit to this modest (though not necessarily humble) strip mall joint began with a tutorial. The friendly counter employee gave us the rundown on the specials, sauces, and sides, before handing us a menu to go huddle and make a decision. I appreciated the extra touch of attention. Counter service often leaves me frazzled as I try to reconcile my many options into a cohesive meal.
We settled on the pork sandwich and beef brisket. We sprang for the large add-ons, Mac & Cheese and Corn Fritters, in lieu of chips, and also decided to split an order of onion straws. As we went through our order, the (I assume) owner warned us that we were ordering an awful lot of food. I can't remember the last time staff has tried to down sell me, but we scaled down to a small onion straws.
I get it now. Our meat arrived, accompanied by more than a pint of mac, a plateful of onion straws, 16 (!) child-fist sized corn fritters, coleslaw and a smattering of garlicky buns.
The pork was very good. Moist, with lots of earthy goodness. The vinegar bbq sauce (literally a spicy vinegar) gave it a layer of complexity. I'd return for the sandwich alone.
It wasn't alone. I've seen onion straws presented as a soggy wad of batter, but these were surprisingly light and crunchy, and played nicely with the honey bbq. The mac and cheese was above average. Not on the level of Smalley's Caribbean, but rich and hearty, and obviously homemade.
I focused on the beef brisket. It lacked the wow factor of the pork, but was very tender, not fatty and a nice match for the punchy vodka pepper sauce. I might have asked for a bit more crisp to it, but I am not a BBQ expert, much less a brisket expert. I would certainly order it again.
They were somewhat overwhelmed by the fritters. It was a fritters everywhere scenario. They were solid, and Q offers Aunt Jemima syrup to complete the sweet/salty indulgence. I guess I wish they had introduced a twist, but they were fresh and hot, which is more than I can say for fritters past. The batter held up nicely to the generous niblets of corn.
After stuffing ourselves for a solid 25 minutes, we left with three full containers of leftovers. This place makes the big boy steakhouses seem like restaurant Piccolo. My goodness.
Ominously, the restaurant was nearly empty. After the shuttering of Brickhouse, I would hate to see another good BBQ place go down, especially in the far north burbs.
I definitely recommend. This is what homemade comfort food should be. I can't speak to the question of how it compares to BBQ on the national level, but I know I enjoyed what I ate, and I know that I have had much worse. If nothing else, Q Fanatic is an absurdly good value. You won't leave hungry.
Q fanatic BBQ
180 Miller Rd, Champlin, MN 55316
We're big fans of Q Fanatic. It's an extra incentive to drive out to Plants N Things in Anoka. I happen to love the corn fritters. Yes, it's more fritter than any one man truely needs, but a visit to Q is not complete without them. My only complaint, be it superficial, is the decor. When you walk into a BBQ joint with bare walls and stark lighting, you know the food is going to be good, because that's what they're concentrating on. Q Fanatic's decor (and I use that word loosely), looks lazy and dated. But, holy crap, i love the vinegar barbecue sauce.
I agree, this is one of the best BBQ places in Minnesota, the food is fantastic, and the owners and employee's are as nice as could be. It's not just the entrees that are great but the sides are wonderful also. It's obvious that, unlike many other places, they take a lot of pride in their sides. The sauces are homemade and served on the side. They have a very interesting variety of sauces, they all taste amazing and really complement the flavors of the different meats.
One of the great mysteries in life is why people will go to a crowded, painfully noisy chain like Roadhouse instead of here!
I really like this place too. My favorite is the Asian Ginger Teriyaki with the pulled pork, but really everything I've tried is really good. I agree with everything Kevin says...the portions arer huge and all the sides I've had were above average. Looking at the menu I think I've tried most of the sides. Everything is homemade. The fritters are good, but probably my least favorite of all of them. The Asian cole slaw is great and all the potatoe choices are solid. My parents LOVE the Parmesan Pototoes Gratinee.
Thanks for the reminder, I need to get back up there for some take out soon.
Good review, and on point all around.
It always makes me sad that there aren't more people at this place. The owner tries (and succeeds, IMO) to be as good as he can be, and people just aren't responding. Yet places a few miles away, like Texas Roadhouse, are stuffed to the rafters on a regular basis.
I will continue to support Q Fanatic, and hope that they succeed for years to come.