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Famous Dave's BBQ

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Famous Dave's - The Applebee's of BBQ
Posted by on
CHERRYHILL, NEW JERSEY -- My other half and I like to support local and privately owned restaurants but at 7pm on a recent Friday night, we found ourselves ravenous and in no mood to wait an hour to be seated at our favorite hot spot. Friends of ours had been raving about Famous Daves and being no stranger to BBQ, we decided it was well past time we give them a shot.
On this particular Friday, the parking lot was filled to the brim but we didn’t wait more than five minutes to be seated. The staff, albeit young, was friendly and very professional. Normally at chain restaurants I get the feeling that my server was either just hired or is about to freak out and quit in a blaze of glory. It’s obvious that this establishment trains their waiters and waitresses before they throw them on the floor. They also sport Famous Dave’s T-shirts with witty slogans on the back that are good for a light hearted chuckle. The establishment’s décor was very rustic, consisting of moose heads and pictures of old fishing trips, and provided something to gaze at other than the sports game that was on TV.
As I stated, our server was exceptional and the food arrived very quickly, most likely because the menu consists of a few basic items served in multiple combinations. Our meals were hot and aside from the cookie cutter appearance that I associate with chains, was quite tasty. The compilation of BBQ sauces that graced our table were some of the best we’ve tried and we’ve spent some time seeking out the Holy Grail of sauces. Almost every meal comes with two sides in addition to a freakishly perfect ear of corn, an equally freakish but oh-so-good cornbread muffin and some wet naps.
We have since returned to Famous Dave’s a handful of times and always leave pleased despite being uncomfortably full. Five minutes is still the longest that we’ve waited to be seated, the staff has always been courteous and the food is always what we expect.
My verdict is, if you are a diehard BBQ fanatic with a smoker full of cherrywood in your backyard, you’re not going to be smitten with what Famous Dave’s has to offer. It’s good food, not great BBQ. Armed with a menu full of proteins and carbs that are served in plastic containers on paper plates, this isn’t the restaurant for tree hugging vegans so I recommend dropping your family’s hippy off at Saladworks before stopping in. However, if you live above the Mason Dixon line, it’s a nice introduction to things you probably don’t see very often such as brisket or fried catfish. I do believe that the atmosphere, menu and prices make this a perfect place to bring the kids. Every table is equipped with its own roll of paper towels and there is a special “Trashcan Lid Meal” that is served on an actual trashcan lid, is reasonably priced, and provides a portion of everything your family could want. One thing is for certain, after eating a Famous Dave’s platter, you won’t be asking for a desert menu.
     
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Anonymous on 2009-11-06:
Nice review.
redmx3racer on 2009-11-06:
I avoid chains as much as possible myself. I worked at Uno and Ruby Tuesday long enough to realize it's all the same stuff.
I do-however, like Famous Daves. Not bad at all. Could have a few "spicier" items to choose from.
Anonymous on 2009-11-06:
Famous Daves opened up here, and didn't last two years. They just never gained critical mass. I think they might have made it, but about a year ago there was a big splash in th epaper when they arrested the Hostess, who had a portable scanner in her pocket, and was swiping everyone's credit card and selling the numbers. I don't think they ever recovered from that.
Anonymous on 2009-11-06:
I always use cash not credit. Cause that's the way I roll.
Anonymous on 2009-11-06:
We have Famous Dave's here in AZ. The food is really good and the prices aren't too bad either
Anonymous on 2009-11-06:
They are out here as well. Not bad save for the brisket. They overcook it.
goduke on 2009-11-06:
I live in Rhode Island. I'd be glad to have bad bbq.
Anonymous on 2009-11-06:
Well Goduke, if you drive up 95, right over the state line there is a Memphis Roadhouse. They're not half bad. Further up in Stoughton, there is a Smokey Bones which I actually like a lot. A bit further in Braintree is Tennessee Barbeque, and they are really good. Of course, all this is relative to what you'd get in the deep south.
redmx3racer on 2009-11-06:
To each their own-but I always found Smokey Bones to be kind of bland and gross. That's probably why the one in my area closed along with most of the rest of the chain.

I also live in New England-and a good BBQ place is hard to find. Next time in am in the MA area Ken maybe I'll try one of your other suggestions.
Anonymous on 2009-11-06:
Call me, I'll buy you a beer and we'll do brisket
goduke on 2009-11-06:
mmmm. brisket (without the words "corned beef" in front).
CrystalSword on 2009-11-08:
Yaya....have you tried Tom's BBQ? They are outstanding and they cater as well. If anyone is in Escondido, CA, there is a place called The Wrangler BBQ Pit, its a hole in the wall BBQ place in a strip mall (don't remember the street it is on though its one of the major ones in town) and they have the best, bar none, BBQ sandwiches, they've been there since I can remember, going back to the early 1970's, same place, same people running it...and the meat slicer remembered me from 20 years before when I visited in 1992.
I hope they are still there...great place and great people!
Service had always been wonderful there and prices are reasonable.
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Almost Famous
Posted by on
DENVER, COLORADO -- And yes, there really is a Famous Dave. Dave Anderson opened Famous Dave's Barbecue Shack in Hayward, Wisconsin, in 1994, and since then he's been like the Johnny Appleseed of barbecue, planting locations all over the place, often outside customary barbecue strongholds (the Stapleton outpost is the first in Colorado). Anderson and company have won awards for their sauce, for their meats, for their operation -- for just about everything they do. And we're not talking rinky-dink local awards, either: In 1995, Famous Dave's took home a first place at the American Royal Barbecue Sauce Contest in Kansas City, Missouri (one of the biggest and most celebrated contests in the world). It's also won two "Greatest Ribs in America" titles (one in 1999, at the Great American Rib Cookoff in Cleveland) and more trophies than can be counted. All things considered, that ain't a bad run for a guy who was bankrupt in the '70's, turned things around with a Fortune 500 sales career, founded a barbecue chain and is now assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior for Indian Affairs.

I didn't love everything about Famous Dave's, but I was impressed. The place is big, but still near capacity on a Thursday night when everything surrounding it was as quiet as a grave. The service was fast and, if not entirely efficient, at least real friendly about it. It's done up in the style of a Wisconsin fishing cabin, with a lot of exposed, artificially weathered beams, antiques and fishing paraphernalia. To me, it looked like they opened the joint in an abandoned set for The Red Green Show's Possum Lodge, but that could be because I watch way too much PBS. And tucked away among all the fly reels, rusted cans of engine oil, aged posters and copies of Life magazine was a surprisingly well-run restaurant operation. The warren of dining rooms was broken down into seating areas, each of which felt more intimate than the whole; the bar was being used as overflow seating; a separate area was set off for to-go orders; and the kitchen was huge -- prepped and staffed to serve a thousand orders a day, easy.

I ordered the Georgia chopped pork and was pleased to see it come lumped atop a single slice of thick-cut white bread. The meat was smoky, shoulder-cut and touched with just enough sauce to give it a little sweet, Southern sting. The side of apples was awful -- at once tough and mealy and mushy, with an unpleasant tinny aftertaste -- but the honey cornbread was decent, and the beans (studded with big pieces of pork) were excellent.

Still, it was the ribs that really proved that Dave knows what he's doing. According to the legend of Famous Dave, Anderson spent 25 years traveling around the country eating barbecue and tasting sauces and experimenting with cooking methods that ranged from dry baking to greenwood smoking in a garbage can before he finally settled on his secret sauce and hickory slow-smoke process. I could taste his dedication in the ribs -- seriously, I got a little swoony after the first bite. They were that good -- tender, hit with just the right amount of sweet and peppery Southern rub, deeply smoky and served (on request) totally naked. I tried a bit of three different sauces on the side, but there was no need: The ribs were just fine on their own.

So if you ever find yourself out in the wilds of Stapleton with a hankering for some good 'cue, give Dave's a try. It might not be the best you've ever tasted, but it's a good addition to Denver's vibrant barbecue culture.
     
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Anonymous on 2007-05-30:
Good review, the type I enjoy reading.
Anonymous on 2007-05-30:
It was a nice informative. I went to the Stapleton location the other day. HBB, what other rib joints do you patronize? Like a glutten of bad Mexican food joints there is beginning to be the same with rib and "comfort food" joints out here. Just ask Cora Faye's Dive on Colorado BLVD!
Anonymous on 2007-05-30:
HillBillyBumpkin, great handle! Good post. When my Mom lived in Denver there was a Mexican restaurant that had a waterfall inside and was really a nice place. Is it still around, we enjoyed going there.
Anonymous on 2007-05-30:
Casa Bonita?
Anonymous on 2007-05-30:
This is by far the best "Famous Daves Barbeque" review I've ever read. Great job hillbillybumpkin for setting the record straight on "Famous Daves Barbeque".
Anonymous on 2007-05-30:
What a coincidince! He/she posts this the day after mine and imagine that, Stewart and pirate trust this person automatically. Ha-ha-ha. I could have Googled up the same info.
Anonymous on 2007-05-30:
Oh zzrokk don't be that way... Your review was good in its own way it's just that hillbillybumpkin's was much better. But that doesn't matter because this isn't a competition for pete's sake. Aren't we all here for the sake of the consumer and to be good soldiers in this 'Consumer Revolution'!
Anonymous on 2007-05-30:
Shutup!! : (.....
Anonymous on 2007-05-30:
Zork, if nothing else, use this review as an example of how to write a good one.
Slimjim on 2007-05-30:
So which one of the two losers spawned yet another fake ID to try to upstage with a google your yesterday's review zz?
http://www.westword.com/2005-10-06/dining/almost-famous/
Anonymous on 2007-05-30:
Stewart, I am a bit surprised at you. Does Mr. Sheehan, know that you guys "lifted" his review? Nice job outing these frauds, Slim.
Slimjim on 2007-05-30:
I'm not (surprised at stew)
Anonymous on 2007-05-30:
I wonder what Addy, has to say? Penalty points should be assessed.
Anonymous on 2007-05-30:
Zzrokk, that was it, had a great time going there.
bill on 2007-05-30:
Great job Slim.
Slimjim on 2007-05-30:
Well thanks guys. I must agree zz. Now all that's left is Billy to start "trusting" these two game players.
Anonymous on 2007-05-30:
Well I for one am shocked and feel totally foolish. A plagiarized review is not cool. Who ever did this should feel lame.

Slim I have ignored you for months yet you continue to harass me. I didn't create this ID nor did I post this review...it's not my style. So once again as always you are a bold face liar. Now shoo fly.
Anonymous on 2007-05-30:
This reeks of a slimjim setup to me.
Anonymous on 2007-05-30:
BULL-ONEY!!!!!
Anonymous on 2007-05-30:
Super, you liked Casa Bonita, huh? I haven't been there but heard that the ambience is very nice. As for the food.....? Where would you rate it?
Anonymous on 2007-05-30:
Yeah, I think you're right Pirate. It's too bad the admins lack the cohonas to oust this loser.

Come on Admins... Check the web logs and expose this imposter for whom he is. It's the right thing to do.
Slimjim on 2007-05-30:
It's not a lie if I believe it stew. I said it was either you or pirate, and I believe that.
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Profiling Customers?
Posted by on
SIOUX CITY, IOWA -- I am by my own admission a very large man 6'8" and weighing over 300 lbs.. I like being fat! ( Get over it! )

Shortly after Sioux City, Ia.'s Famous Dave's BBQ opened, I went there to dine. On the particular day I arrived I was limping due to an ankle injury, and I hobbled into this BBQ Joint with the use of a cane.

I asked for a Table in their non-smoking section, and was promptly escorted up a long flight of stairs to an upper level. The journey was a painful ascent.
As I sat at my Table I noticed that the other customers up there fit into 4 categories. They were either fat people, ugly people, or fat/ugly people like me, or fat/ugly people with kids.

There were no beautiful people seated up there. They were all downstairs. ( By the way they have a non-smoking section downstairs too. )
I had a good meal, and good table service.

The next time I went back I took along a friend who describes himself as being ugly. He's also skinny as a rail.

Again we were ushered upstairs to the Fat & Ugly Section. I mentioned to him that they seemed to be profiling customers, and sending all the fat and ugly people up stairs.

He looked around the room, and agreed with me. I brought this to the attention of the waitress, who was a plump female. ( She was a Trainer who had been sent down from the Sioux Falls F.D.'s BBQ to help train the wait staff in Sioux City. )
I bluntly suggested that perhaps she too had been profiled, and assigned to work in the fat & ugly section due to her weight. She commented, "I sure hope they aren't doing that here!"
In subsequent visits I have always insisted on being seated downstairs in the non smoking section.
........
I have also noticed a similar trend in the Red Lobster in sioux City, Ia.. Which I have only been in 2 times. But both times they assigned me to be waited on by a heavyset waitress. While other skinnier wait staff milled about waiting for customers to serve.

I haven't received this type of treatment in the other restaurants that I go to in Sioux City.
........
I also received this type of treatment in the Eyemart Store in Sioux city. Where I was greeted by a physically fit female sales person. But she handed me off to a very heavyset employee she had to summon from the back room. I have been to this eyemart store 2 times, and both times I have been paired up with the heavyset sales person from the back room. While her lighter weight peers milled around waiting for the next customer to enter the store.
     
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jktshff1 on 2007-08-04:
OK you like being fat..don't complain..you're not being profiled.Live with it
MRM on 2007-08-04:
Although is is an unfortunate incident, it is an hilarious post.
Anonymous on 2007-08-04:
WTH? That's all I have to say about this.

Table Tipper on 2007-08-04:
Yeah you can poke your wise cracking comments at me about my weight. It's easy it's an anonymous forum.
However if they discriminated against you for the way you look would that be OK? Lets say you looked different, or didn't fit into their category for the type of client they want the public to see. Would you embrace their ethics, then?
doescustomerserviceexist? on 2007-08-04:
It happens. Deal with it or move.
I have a heavy set friend come and visit me once a year.
In the last area that I lived in when we went out to eat, the customer service was really bad. Most waiters started there ordering process with "are you going to be drinking anything other than water this evening" with an attitude instead of " Hi how are you this evening, my name is so and so and I'll be your waiter/waitress this evening.
My husband and I (both skinny) would have never been treated the way myself and my fat friend did. At times we were even ignored.
In the city that I now live in anywhere that we go we get treated a bit better. It's easier to go out here. To each city is it's own, maybe move to Texas?
Famous Daves was one of the better ones in treating us nice.
Sounds like your single and you are just hoping to have a hot waitress to serve you so that you can hit on her and check her out. I know how it is.
I feel for ya. lol.
Anonymous on 2007-08-04:
He is not assuming things he just made this letter for fun to see how we would react and make us laugh.
CrystalSword on 2007-08-05:
As much as I hate to say it, restaurants actually do this!!
I can't do stairs, either can my husband...they'd have to have an elevator, and even that is reproachable. The people upstairs would be at risk if they had disabilites and couldn't get out due to an emergency. The Hungry Hunter in So. Calif. tends to do this, and with bad ankles and back, I no longer do stairs at all. Hubby has a bad knee and back, he doesn't do stairs either! The last time we ate at the Hungry Hunter, we asked for downstairs, they weren't especially happy but they gave us what we wanted. You have to speak up and tell them you won't accept seating upstairs!
firengine103 on 2007-08-05:
Oh brother, stick a fork in me, I'm done
Anonymous on 2007-08-05:
Maybe you're fat because you eat there too much.
Table Tipper on 2007-08-05:
Hey!
Right off the bat I admitted I was fat. But you people seem as stuck on that issue as the F.D.'s staff were. I guess it's open season on fat people.
And secondly handicapped people.
No I did not make this story up. And "No." I shouldn't have to move to get the same service that you skinny people are given. And If you can't see that, then I'm talking to a wall here.
DebtorBasher on 2007-08-05:
I don't know, I've seen some fat guys that I thought were very sexy...I wouldn't hide them away! Flash your belly button to them the next time, and you will get excellent service!
DebtorBasher on 2007-08-05:
Come on over to my house and I'll cook you a good homecooked meal and you can sit wherever your heart desires!
ChuhBaca on 2007-08-05:
Hey, Tabletipper; there is peanut gallery on this site. I've seen experiments done where someone has gone for job interview, visited retailers, or just put themselves in situations where they need assistance. The same person did it twice; once as their normal skinny self, and once in a fat suit. Every time, the skinny one received better response. Its not right, but it exists.

What your talking about seems more organized. If you really want to take action, I'll be contacting your local news with your observations might prompt a little experiment and make for interesting television.
Ponie on 2007-08-05:
Is this for real?
Anonymous on 2007-08-05:
No!
CrystalSword on 2007-08-05:
yeah, Ponie, its for real!
furnitureman on 2007-08-05:
I like to eat cheese on Thursday's
Nohandle on 2007-08-05:
Table Topper, according to some articles I've read there are more overweight adult individuals than underweight. Is there a slim (no pun intended) possibility you were being oversensitive to your weight and felt you were being seated in the least desirable area of the restaurant when there were also overweight individuals downstairs?

I've known individuals, dining alone, who were seated by the kitchen door..not once but almost every time. Single diners are usually shoved to the side, regardless of their weight. They had to put up with the nasty trays left by the staff and the racket coming from the kitchen. They finally wised up and requested a table elsewhere. You can do the same, just tell them you have no intention of going upstairs.
Table Tipper on 2007-08-05:
In fact I did write a Letter to the Editor of the Sioux City Journal (newspaper). They refused to publish my letter, despite that it was well written.
Instead they wanted to do a feature story on it, but they refused to use the names of the restaurants in the article.
On the flip side they wouldn't publish the article unless my name was plastered all over it. I think...turn about should be fare play. If you won't publish the names of the Offenders why must you publish the names of the Offended?
I refused to let them use my name. I don't know what they did about the story.
jktshff1 on 2007-08-05:
If you have a legitimate complaint, why would you refuse to let them use your name?
You, by you're own admission like being fat..why not let all of Sioux City know you are proud of it.
Get over it!
Nohandle on 2007-08-05:
They obviously did nothing with your letter. How could a newspaper publish a feature story without the particulars, which contributed to the article? I'm not an attorney but could a newspaper be held liable for a feature story they were merely printing as news..assuming they contacted the other party for "the other side of the story" before publishing. I'm not referring to those tabloids at the grocery, which are notorious for never checking out anything beforehand.
Table Tipper on 2007-08-06:
The story shouldn't be that I'm fat and proud of it. The story should be that fat people aren't receiving the same quality of service that their skinnier peers are.
In that instance, knowing the name of "John Doe", doesn't matter since you don't know me, and never will.
Whereas the names of the Offending Parties should be known so that people would be forwarned of the attitude of the restaurants and their subordinates. Giving the customers a choice in avoiding the Offending Parties.
Anonymous on 2007-08-06:
Perhaps you were merely moved to a section of the restaurant with sturdier furniture, have you considered that? Or maybe they you were seated where the service was faster to satisfy your appetite.
Table Tipper on 2007-08-06:
The furniture is the same threw out the restaurant, and the service wasn't any faster, because the food was prepared on the ground floor and sent upstairs where I was seated.
I find it odd that the majority of people side with the restaurant, trying to phathom an excuse for their behavior.
And don't get me wrong I love the Famous Dave's BBQ chain, except for the treatment by the Sioux City location.
DebtorBasher on 2007-08-06:
I agree that you should send your compliant to one of your local TV stations...one that does the "undercover investigating" they will set it up with hidden cameras and expose them for what they're doing.
Table Tipper on 2007-08-06:
Everyone who thinks I made up this story, or should just keep my yap shut; perhaps you could join me on a specific date and time at the F.D.'s BBQ in Sioux City. Then you can wait in the entrance and watch for yourselves how they scrutinize their customers.
What dates and times work for you?
jktshff1 on 2007-08-07:
don't want to be seen with you
Table Tipper on 2007-08-08:
No worries there. Because I'll be in the Fat & Ugly section.
laurla on 2008-09-04:
We were "child" profiled at Outback in Sioux City. Sat in the corner along with other parents with children. We walked through the restraint to use the restroom and there were NO KIDS anywhere else in the whole place! That was annoying!
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Food & Service
Posted by on
NEW BRITAIN, CONNECTICUT -- My boyfriend and I went to Famous Daves on Columbus Blvd. in New Britain, CT for dinner. While we were seated promptly, after 20-25 minutes of waiting our waitress never came over. I went to the Hostess and asked her if we could be moved. We were moved to another table and the new waitress came over very quickly. She apologized for the mix up and said that the other waitress didn't realize that she had a table. She took our order and returned quickly with our drinks. The manager came over to apologize and offered to buy our first round of drinks for us. (That was fine with us, we weren't looking for anything free, we just wanted our BBQ!) Our food was served, and it was great! The food is delicious and the portions were huge. At the end of our meal, the waitress came over to tell us that she had convinced the manager to comp our meals as well. We only ended up paying for the second round of drinks and salads and she gave us $35 in gift certificates. We left our waitress a $30 tip because she worked so hard to make us happy. Way to go Daves!

They went above and beyond to fix the mistake of the first waitress. We have returned a few times since and have never had any other problems. Thank you Dave's for having such great customer service. We will be back again and again!
     
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GothicSmurf on 2007-12-03:
Awesome to hear that. Sounds like they went above and beyond fixing their mistake. I may have to check them out on my lunch break sometime! (VH)
Anonymous on 2007-12-03:
good to hear that this place takes care of their customers
jktshff1 on 2007-12-03:
Great Post vh
Sparticus on 2007-12-03:
We love Famous Daves. Totally bummed when the one by our house closed. Haven't been to one since unfortunately.

sarahnkrystal on 2007-12-03:
Wow. It sounds wonderful, and it's actually a place near me that I can go to! (VH)
killerklown on 2007-12-03:
Nice to see a positive review for a change. Nearest Dave's to me is about a two hour drive, but next time I'm up there, I'll have to stop in.
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