Famous Dave's BBQ
Have gone to Famous Daves on Route 22 in Mountainside, NJ
Gone there several times....find the food very good. Not gourmet quality, but good solid quality for any chain.
Portions are huge and some of the recipes are really, really good.
The fried catfish was great...the burgers were great...the sides were amazing, great BBQ sauces, all the BBQ meats very good.
Like a kind of Boston Market for BBQ.
I've found that the actual BBQ staples at Famous Dave's, while not awful, don't really hold a candle to what you can get at a dedicated independent BBQ joint.
You are right that the sides and some of the other stuff on the menu are pretty good. I like their smoked chicken wings a lot, and those catfish fingers with roumelade are hard to beat.
Their Georgia Mustard BBQ Sauce is good enough that I buy it by the bottle and use it with my own cooking at home.
I've eaten at ours 2 times and found in my opinion that the brisket was dry and a little tough, the green beans not to spicy and like they were boiled in water tough. I thought they could be better on the quality of what was severed.
Personally, I don't think it's cool or cutsy to serve food on garbage can lids or drinks in canning jars. I admire the founder/CEO but I've never had any consitancy in about the 6 or so times I've ate there.
i must say i really enjoy the food at famous dave's but lately i have been very disappointed with the carry out order. i ordered pork ribs and received brisket cut to look like ribs. to say the least i as pisssed. lately everytime i get carry out there is always something wrong. I have had the same inside the resturant, got it to go and it was terrible..........NOT HAPPY
I went to the FD on Route 1 with really low expectations and was pleasantly surprised. Decent char, good seasoning, sides actually tasted like something. The beer selection was suprisingly poor. Service was snappy and managers actually walked the floor, which I almost never see anymore. Alexandria definitely isn't bbq country by any stretch; I haven't found any notable exceptions. I still prefer Rocklands off Quaker Lane, but since there's hardly any seating there and traffic is a nightmare, I find myself hitting FD when I don't want to blow 18-hours smoking my own pork shoulder.
I've only ever been to FD once (and it was the same one in NJ) and was completely underwhelmed. I went when the kids were younger and they had the kids menu. One or two of them ordered Mac & Cheese (I know....I know...not in a BBQ place, but heck...they were kids.) I swear that they served Easy Mac. Not impressive.
I guess the other part of it is that I just don't like BBQ all that much. I'm OK with those "mid-level" chain places, just don't really appreciate FD.