I wanted to like it. Really, I did. I mean I've seen Famous Dave on TV and really wanted to like my first experience eating at one of his BBQ restaurants. But unfortunately, I was underwhelmed.
Okay, I liked a couple of the spicier BBQ sauces on the table, the sweet cornbread muffin, and the complimentary sample of BBQ chips that was served for the purposes of sampling the 5 BBQ sauces on the table. My wife ordered the smoked salmon spread from the appetizer menu and it was pretty good.
But as for the BBQ, I found it to be medicore. It wasn't smokey, it didn't seem all that fresh, and unfortunately they served it with a big dose of their house sauce on top. I had the combo lunch plate with pulled pork and brisket. I found it to be very bland when I could get a taste around the sauce.
This seems to me like an example of the franchise concept driving the quality of the food to a level less than the founder started with or intended. At least, I hope so.
The restaurant itself felt like I'd stepped into an Applebees or a TGI Fridays. Again, the franchise thing has driven all the originality and uniqueness right out of the place. If you blindfolded me before I entered and then you handed me a menu from one of the aforementioned franchises, I would've thought that's where I was. It's kinda sad actually.
Here's my report card:
- BBQ - C
- Side Dishes - B
- Atmosphere - C
- Value - C
- Overall - C
Nonetheless, I'd rather eat mediocre, chain-BBQ-restaurant food than a lot of other franchises. So considering the alternatives in the greater Branson, MO area, I'd probably eat at Famous Dave's again.