Jump to content

Famous Dave's, A Minnesota Barbecue Chain - Several Locations in the DC Area


Recommended Posts

When I finally make it to Famous Dave's I'll post a follow up for comparison.

Famous Dave's has been a favorite for lunch (I work in Springfield and the trip to Potomac Mills only takes about 15 minutes). Their pulled-pork is good but the last time we were there it was like the portion control police had taken over. The "Devil's Spit" BBQ sauce is the spicy one and it's good. The lunch platters come with cole slaw on the side if you want it and your choice of baked beans (really good but not a great choice when you have to go back to work), fries which are of the hefty variety and (if I remember correctly) some sort of spiced apple sections. The best thing about FD's is the "worst seat in the house". If you take this seat, you get a discount (and with good reason, it's a terrible location). I'd put FD's on about the same level as Red, Hot and Blue and below the original Dixie Pig on Route 1. For a Minnesota barbecue chain, it's not bad.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Where is the FDs in Springfield?  When I lived there (up through December 2003), it was basically a wasteland.  The Filipino place (Manila cafe) was OK, there was a Thai place by the mall that was good enough to pay for if you asked them for it hot.  And my in-laws have taken us several times to Sam Pan Cafe, which is a highly underrated Cantonese place, if you have someone there to order for you (that unintelligible but fascinating negotiation that is required for a properly balanced meal in the Cantonese or Sichuan oeuvres).  But there's not a lot there.  So here's a thread for new news.  And yes, I know it's only 20 minutes drive to Eve <_< .

Unfortunately, Famous Dave's is in Woodbridge on the PW Parkway. It's close enough that we make a pilgrimage there every now and then.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For a Minnesota barbecue chain, it's not bad.

Talk about damning with faint praise. <_<

"For an Alabama bagel shop...."

"For a Cheyenne sushi bar..."

Seriously, we have a Famous Dave's about four miles from our house. We tried it just because it was so close. It's about a quarter-mile out of the way and after one visit we decided it's not even quarter-mile barbecue.

The sauce tutorial from the server is ridiculous, and the vacant stares we got from everyone from the server to the manager when we asked for sport peppers to jazz up the tasteless green beans told us all we needed to know.

The ribs were ok but you can get ribs like that at so many places. Feh.

If you are in the vicinity of the Dulles Expo Center, take your barbecue cravings to Willard's.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do want to make it clear that although mine is the first post here, I'm not going out of my way to recommend it. My post was in the context of it being a decent option near Potomac Mills.

Another case of damning with faint praise, but it is OK.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was at an event over the weekend at which the catered food was provided by "Famous Dave's." The St. Louis- style ribs were quite credible -- meaty; tender; flavorful. Pulled pork was smoky-nice (but with weird rolls); potato salad was delicious, tasting home-made rather than industrial. Catering team was pleasant. Alltold, good eatings for a large group outdoors. I notice from its website that "Famous Dave's" is a chain with a number of outlets in the suburban DC area. Are they worth a visit? Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wouldn't say that they are worth a visit, but if I had to choose between going west a few miles on Route 7 to Red Hot and Blue in Leesburg or east a few miles on Route 7 to Famous Daves in Sterling , I'd choose Famous Daves every time.

Alas, jenrus prefers RH&B so guess where we end up when we are looking for barbecue in the neighborhood?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was at an event over the weekend at which the catered food was provided by "Famous Dave's." The St. Louis- style ribs were quite credible -- meaty; tender; flavorful. Pulled pork was smoky-nice (but with weird rolls); potato salad was delicious, tasting home-made rather than industrial. Catering team was pleasant. Alltold, good eatings for a large group outdoors. I notice from its website that "Famous Dave's" is a chain with a number of outlets in the suburban DC area. Are they worth a visit? Thanks.

I have pleasant memories of a catered lunch from Famous Dave's a number of years ago. I wouldn't say it was spectacular, but it sure beat RHB and most of the other places I've tried around here that advertise barbecue and ribs.

If you liked what you ate, then maybe it is worth a visit, especially if it isn't too terribly far from you. If you like what you eat when you visit, then it was definitely worthwhile.

But whatever you do, stay away from Barbecue World in Burke. I gave them several chances to be decent, and their food was actually pretty vile.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would say that one of my worst BarBeCue experiances was at Famous Dave's. I will not be going back.

I think BBQ is one of those things like your mom's _______ (fill in the blanks). You grow up with it a certain and way and you will always think of that as the right kind. I always had friends in college who were like "Oh man my mom just sent some brownies, she makes the best brownies in the world!" Sure enough tasted like dark brown cardboard with the same texture. I do have to say I enjoyed Famous Dave's the few times they catered at my office. MUCH better than the same oold deli trays that usually are used. Also they usually make an appearance at the BBQ festival on the mall. I have to say, one of my friends from KC and I went around doing the three bone tasters at all the booths, and famous Dave's was actually one of the better ones out there.

One more amusing not on BBQ that is fresh in my mind. Last night we ran a rib special. I had one of my ask if the ribs were dry or wet. I replied by joking, "I am from Kansas City I don't know what this "dry rib" means, I need lots of sauce smothered all over." She doesn't catch the joke and corrects me, "Oh no, dry ribs have sauce on them. Dry and wet just refers to the doneness of ribs. Like rare and well done for steaks". I learn something new everyday!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was at an event over the weekend at which the catered food was provided by "Famous Dave's." The St. Louis- style ribs were quite credible -- meaty; tender; flavorful. Pulled pork was smoky-nice (but with weird rolls); potato salad was delicious, tasting home-made rather than industrial. Catering team was pleasant. Alltold, good eatings for a large group outdoors. I notice from its website that "Famous Dave's" is a chain with a number of outlets in the suburban DC area. Are they worth a visit? Thanks.

As far as chain BBQ restaurants go, it's not bad but I don't know if I would drive more than 15 minutes out of my way for it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As far as chain BBQ restaurants go, it's not bad but I don't know if I would drive more than 15 minutes out of my way for it.
If it's all you have close and you have a hankering for BBQ, why not? If I remember correctly, the saying is "half a loaf is better than none". But if you have an honest to goodness BBQ pit 6 miles one way and Famous Daves 1 mile the other....FDave's loses...
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Famous Dave's Barbeque. Not my first choice, but sometimes crap happens and that is where you end up. I won't even talk about the food, the service is what dominated the whole night. Our server was attentive at first, pretty much doing everything that was expected of him, but when he cleared our plates and we asked for the bill, he was MIA. And, when I say MIA, I really mean MIA. In fact, not only was he absent, the rest of the wait staff was gone, literally not one in sight, for 15 minutes. Everyone was looking around the room, waiting for their server to show up, but it never happened. I finally went up to the host/hostess stand and told them what was up and they looked at me like I had two heads. No, "I'm so sorry, I will get someone for you." Hell, there was three of them up there and not even one acknowledged me in any way. I had to ASK them to answer me, I felt like I was in the twilight zone.

Anyway, after sitting down for five more minutes, all of the servers came piling out of the kitchen to help their tables. No freakin clue what was going on back there and none of them apologized for their absence.

And, to be honest, this is why I get highly upset when I am paying $300 for dinner at a nice restaurant and get crappy service. Yes, I expect the food to be better there than at a place like Famous Dave's, but without the service component, it is no better.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No reports since 2008...? Well, today, we had a party in Potomac for a group of graduating young Marine lieutenants, catered by Famous Dave's out of Gaithersburg. Can't comment on service or restaurant ambiance, but the food was not bad. All told, we had ribs, chicken and pulled pork, with sides of corn muffins, cole slaw and potato salad. Extras included the big mixed green salad and the spicy meat balls. It was a feast for 40 people.

First comment is on value. We priced BBQ from all over the area, and most other places were pricier. Famous Dave's won the value competition.

Second comment is about the food. I have had better and worse pulled pork, and I have had better and worse BBQ chicken, but I have rarely had better ribs. These were meaty, flavorful and tender. I don't think Famous Dave's will win any national BBQ competitions, but there is a world of worse BBQ out there. I brought home some leftover BBQ chicken and I can't wait to dive in tomorrow.

Third comment is on the sides -- corn muffins were a hit, cole slaw was above average, potato salad was so-so, as was the mixed greens. But the spicy meat balls were a hit. These should be a staple at any football party this winter.

About ten Marines were there, including Lady Kibbee's son. We are proud of each and every one of them, and thankful for their service to our country. And based on their satisfaction level, I would do Famous Dave's for them any time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To target and pile on chains can be easy. But for me Famous Dave's (FD) is pretty good. It is one of the better joint around DC. I frequent both the potomac mills and chantilly location and chantilly is a bit more consistant. Right now this is my fav. bbq place. It also happens to be great value. Over took Willards after the last 2 bad meals at willards.

Am going to try to make it out to the pit stop over the next 2 or so.

Soup

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looks like a new Famous Dave's location is coming to Falls Church, taking the place of the Original Pancake House. Construction is well under way and there's a banner out front.

That parking lot is the worst in Falls Church city, I wish they used the old "Chicken Out" building in the front of Falls Plaza that's just sitting there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My daughter picked the Chantilly location to celebrate her 18th birthday today. Setting aside from the sticky floor and the tacky neon decor, this place has good barbecue. We started with a few snacks -- the catfish fingers and the "boneless wings" -- and both were good. The fried strips of catfish had a nice crunch that gave way to a tender slice of fish inside, and the wings were basically nuggets dressed up to taste like buffalo wings. The 12-, 16- and 18-year-old diners at my table approved.

One thing I can say about the mains is that they represent a lot of food for the price. I had the Ribs-n-Ribs, a half rack each of baby backs and St. Louis style. Both were good, meaty and tender. The baby backs didn't fall off the bone the way the St. Louis did, but I was thoroughly satisfied. The rest of the platter featured a corn muffin, which I really like here, a small ear of corn, which was so-so, and my two sides -- Dave's Beans and steamed broccoli. Yes, I chose the steamed broccoli on purpose because I needed something healthy to accompany the unhealthy feast, and the broccoli wasn't bad. All of this for about $22 and I'll be stuffed well into the evening.

My 16-year-old ordered the boneless wings as his main, at the highest level of heat on the menu. I must admit to being impressed both by him and by the heat level. I tasted one, and the heat came on slowly and burned nicely for a good 15-20 minutes after.

Famous Dave's is not haute cuisine, and doesn't want to be. But it's acceptable barbecue at a good value, as well as a quaint family outing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...