Saturday, March 21, 2009

Famous Dave's: Barbecue for the Minnesotan in All of Us

Famous Dave's is sort of the TGI Friday's of barbecue restaurants. Yes, it's a chain. It's got a big flashy website and a line of nationally distributed hot sauces. I'd be a better citizen and human being if I supported some of our excellent local barbecue restaurants instead of Famous Dave's, but I can't help it. It's the Minnesotan in me that keeps me going back to Dave.

Famous Dave's got a start in the upper Midwest and gained popularity around the twin cities, where regular folks like you and me enjoyed decent barbecue at reasonable prices with kind of a northwoodsy vibe. It reminds them of their cabins on lakes up north, where every Minnesotan would rather be at any given moment.

How's the food? Good. Decent. I ordered a barbecue pulled chicken sandwich, which arrived erupting from the sides of the seasame bun, loaded with melting monterey jack cheese. It's tasty food of the comfort persuasion, but not as flavorful as I'd like. Dave's sort of under-sauces their barbecue grub and gives the diner some artistic license with an arsenal of sauces at each table. My sandwich was good, and then better when I doused it in sweet and tangy sauce. I didn't touch the devil's spit.

My sister was happy with her pulled pork sandwich topped with coleslaw. I couldn't convince her to help me eat the bread pudding for dessert, so instead we ordered a Kahlua brownie sundae. She won't eat any dessert that isn't covered in fudge and rediwhip. This infuriates me, but I calmed down when my huge brownie arrived. It was plenty fudgy, warm, and brownie-licious, but it didn't taste like Kahlua at all! A major disappoint for a lush like me. But what do you know - we polished it off anyway.

The short version: Famous Daves has a kitchy, homey appeal. You could do worse if you're dining in the chain restaurant category. Eat there if you're already in the neighborhood and be prepared to sauce up whatever you order. You'll be thankful for the roll of paper towels at each red-checkered table.

Famous Dave's on Urbanspoon


WestEnder said...

Your writing is better than the food. Sadly, your words cannot be eaten. Someday science will fix that.

waynewriteon said...

We ate at Famous Dave's in Franklin, TN., with my son's midget hockey team - boys ages 16 and 17. Teens and parents alike loved it, especially the garbage can lid special. Hoping this U.S. chain expands into London, Canada!

Allison Johnson said...

Famous Daves is definitely appropriate food after a hockey game. I ate it in those formative late teen years and I still get cravings for it when the weather drops below freezing. Like being back home.