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View Full Version : Is Famous Dave's Worth it?


WvQ
08-13-2013, 10:06 AM
I'm vacationing near Ocean City and ran across Famous Dave's. any idea if its worth my vacation money?

Untraceable
08-13-2013, 10:10 AM
If your looking for "not the worst thing generally" then its ok.

The ribs seem to be the only thing Id order. stay away from the brisket and pork

JeffR
08-13-2013, 10:14 AM
I always get the ribs. I think they are good for a chain. Good tenderness without FOB. Nice selection of sauces on the table to choose from

TalonBrew
08-13-2013, 10:15 AM
There is some good to it, for a chain. Ribs are good (again... for a chain). They have some good happy hour specials that aren't always well advertised. I had rib tips and fried cheese curd at one happy hour that were really good.

I've had good brisket (again... for a chain), but it's sometimes a little hit and miss. Basically, it's the only BBQ chain that I'll eat at since the local Jim n Nicks went to hell.

SmokinJohn
08-13-2013, 10:15 AM
No offense, but I'd take a pass.

Smoking Westy
08-13-2013, 10:16 AM
Just ok in my opinion as well. They do have a sammich called "The Manhandler" which is pretty decent. It's brisket or chopped pork with a hot link on top.

Ribs are always dodgy at the one here in town. I've had some pretty decent racks and some others that were terrible.

gmag
08-13-2013, 10:17 AM
I'd rather eat the McRib at McDonald's. Take a pass of FD.

bbq.tom
08-13-2013, 10:18 AM
It is BBQ, but just not your usual "home-made" style.

Ribs are pretty good, but pork isn't that great.

If you can find a "local Q-joint" I would try that out first.
Below are a couple listed from BING:

Smoker's BBQ Pit (http://www.bing.com/maps/default.aspx?where1=Ocean+City&FORM=LMIEMN#)
9711 Stephen Decatur Hwy, Ocean City, MD
(410) 213-0040

28th St Pit and Pub (http://www.bing.com/maps/default.aspx?where1=Ocean+City&FORM=LMIEMN#)
2706 Philadelphia Ave, Ocean City, MD
(410) 289-2020
[/URL]
J/R's the Original Place-Ribs (http://pitandpub.com/)
6104 Coastal Hwy, Ocean City, MD
(410) 524-7427
[URL="http://www.jrsribs.com/"]

coastal
08-13-2013, 10:18 AM
I think its awful. Much better chains to choose from if you go chain. Sticky Fingers and Jim N Nicks to name a few

nucornhusker
08-13-2013, 10:20 AM
Some FD's are good, some aren't, so it's a crap-shoot. As others have said, ribs are the way to go at FD.

Bludawg
08-13-2013, 10:35 AM
IDK aint Maryland known for Blue Crab & Pit Beef? I don't do BBQ out unless it is in the Hill Country. I would sooner eat at Macdonalds than a Chain BBQ restaurant! Anyone who knows me will testify to the fact that I haven't set foot in a Macdonalds in over 20 yrs.

Nutz4bbq
08-13-2013, 10:37 AM
Here's my two cents... If you're going there, then order the rib tips by the pound:wink: and skip the "McRib":icon_sick

Ole Man Dan
08-13-2013, 10:40 AM
FD generally has pretty good Ribs. (for a chain)
Jim & Nicks is generally pretty good.

I follow the adage that sez...
Don't order fish at a Chicken place...
Go with what their reputation sez is their best. (I play it safe)
Ex... If I were at Franklin's BBQ, I'd order Brisket...

SmokerKing
08-13-2013, 10:46 AM
Dave's ribs taste like oven baked and grilled at our store.

Brisket is marginal.

WvQ
08-13-2013, 10:47 AM
Thanks everyone, sounds like ill just eat seafood

NickTheGreat
08-13-2013, 10:57 AM
Our Famous Dave's is better than you'd think. It's way worse than the good local joints, but better than the bad ones.

But yeah . . . your seafood plan sounds good to me :razz:

cholloway
08-13-2013, 10:59 AM
^^^^ Exactly why I don't eat BBQ when I go home to Biloxi, Ms.
Too much fresh seafood eating to catch up on!

dajogejr
08-13-2013, 11:00 AM
Local FD to me is less than 2 miles away.
I know I can make better BBQ. Goes without saying.

However, for a family feast if I don't feel like cooking, the mess, the prep, the cleanup...it's where I go.

I get the half family feast, it feeds 2 adults and 1-2 kids easily...

You get choices of meat (I get brisket, BB Ribs and chicken), sides like wilbur beans and Mac N Cheese (sorry..their mac n cheese is just excellent) corn bread, fries...etc.

Yep, I can make all those. But it's just quick, easier and cheaper...to hit FD now and then.

The one by me is good. I can certainly understand, like any restaurant chain out there....there are a few bad apples.

bigzthamoose
08-13-2013, 11:04 AM
yes, i do my decisions on regions. lol. I was in Hawaii, and my brothers kept ordering beef, although it was good, the seafood that was caught that morning was waaaay better. I won. Famous Dave's I dislike,,, big time. Its sad too bc everyone around here loves it, and its frustrating!! lol

MI Smoke
08-13-2013, 12:00 PM
Ya the Mac and cheese is good, also they there bread pudding (yum yum).
I also like there bbq sauces.
Any of the meat well :mmph:

sfisch
08-13-2013, 12:02 PM
I think Famous Daves has very good food for a chain restaurant, have no problem eating there for a quick fix.

stephan
08-13-2013, 12:09 PM
Its not the worst by any means. Just keep in mind its a chain restaurant.

TroyA65
08-13-2013, 12:10 PM
I'd rather eat the McRib at McDonald's. Take a pass of FD.

LOL, coming from the guy with the Spam logo for a sig.:loco: Sorry, thought it was funny:laugh:

midwest_kc
08-13-2013, 01:36 PM
Anyone who knows me will testify to the fact that I haven't set foot in a Macdonalds in over 20 yrs.

Me either...The drive through is just too convenient, amirite? :-P

midwest_kc
08-13-2013, 01:38 PM
yes, i do my decisions on regions. lol. I was in Hawaii, and my brothers kept ordering beef, although it was good, the seafood that was caught that morning was waaaay better. I won. Famous Dave's I dislike,,, big time. Its sad too bc everyone around here loves it, and its frustrating!! lol

It gets me too. A couple weeks ago we went on vacation with my parents and a couple of their friends, and they couldn't stop gushing about FD's. I've personally never eaten there, and they had me about ready to give it a half a shot, but then they said they like it more than Jack Stack and Oklahoma Joe's, and I have never bitten my tongue so hard in my life.

BB-Kuhn
08-13-2013, 02:21 PM
I put it directly on the line.

This line determines whether or not I will go to a place or not. If it falls below the line, I won't go, won't get brought there without kicking and screaming, etc. If it is above the line, it's good!

There are MANY more joints that fall under the line than above the line.

Famous Dave's IS THE LINE. If it were 10% worse, I'd never go, and if it were better, I'd never make fun of it. Also, if somebody recommends a new place, I qualify it as "is it better or worse than Famous Dave's? If they say waaaay, better, i'll go! if they say not as good, I won't bother.

Like the above said: The ribs are not too bad, the sauces are pretty good and you could do a WHOLE lot worse. Plus, considering how many of the chain locations are out there, it's amazing that they are decent.

Expect mediocre and be happily surprised.

Bob Wiley
08-13-2013, 02:34 PM
There's one ten minutes down the street from me in Indy.
I went there once a couple years ago.
Very disappointing.

thunter
08-13-2013, 02:54 PM
The Famous Dave's at Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH is really good! I thoroughly enjoyed my ribs. I tried the pulled pork and it was good. The brisket was very tasty. The sides were also great. I think we have to remember that when we go out for BBQ, it's not fair to judge it against what you make at home, because when you do that, everything, everywhere, always sucks! If you should happen to run across a joint with some excellent Q, then that's a bonus, but for the most part, you should prepare yourself to go out and get some BBQ that is at least decent, and has plenty of beer on tap! Otherwise, you will never just go out and have a good time. Just my opinion brethren! :-D

thunter
08-13-2013, 02:56 PM
There's one ten minutes down the street from me in Indy.
I went there once a couple years ago.
Very disappointing.

Bob, I have not been to the one here in Indy. But I have to give it a shot. Also, I wonder if there are enough of us in this area to warrant a Brethren Bash! :mrgreen:

trza
08-13-2013, 03:05 PM
I'm vacationing near Ocean City and ran across Famous Dave's. any idea if its worth my vacation money?

I would say no. It's middle of the road chain BBQ in the restaurant. The quality is much better when they cater and everything is prepared to be done at the same time. With normal restaurant operation, it's really easy for meats to be held too long and get overcooked.

Here are some suggestions based on location, in case somebody else falls on this post due to an OC visit...

About Delmarva BBQ...

Delmarva is a HUGE Poultry producing region. While we're more known for our Cheasapeake Bay Seafood, we do like to cook chickens since we have plenty of them and they're cheap (which is what BBQ is for!). We do split halves, cooked over an open pit, with a vinegar/Old Bay style mop. The skin is rendered, but not crispy. The chicken is moist and tender, and well seasoned from our mop sauce. Come-here's always ask where the BBQ sauce is. Some threaten to sue us for false advertising (I say it as a joke, but it's happened to me more than once). So if you want to experience the local flavor, you have to search out a roadside BBQ Chicken Fundraiser.

Near the Beach (Ocean City, Dewey, Rehoboth, etc)....

If you want good 'que close to the beach, go to Em-ings (http://em-ings.com) in Bishopville. Go when the weather is nice, since most people sit outside to eat. Otherwise people are going to dig in to their awesome meal in the car and make a huge mess. They got real bbq soul in that place. The sides and deserts are killer, too. While not the regional meat, they do serve tasty beef ribs, which are hard to find anywhere around here. And as a matter of fact, I've got a nice big jug of their sauce ready to go for the next sauce and rub trade round. :)

RT 50 Based Locations...
The Pittsville (http://www.pittsvillefire.com/) VFD generally cooks chicken on Saturdays during the season. This Saturday, it's on from 11am until they sell out (and they will!). This station is close to the beach. The Linkwood-Salem VFD (http://lsvfd61.com/) is in between Easton and Cambridge, and they cook every once in a while. It's best to check their website and see if their schedule matches yours. With either option, you not only get some tasty queue, but you can help support our local fire departments at the same time. Very few towns around here have professional paid staff, to give you an idea of how useful the money is to us.

You can often find a Lions Club or similar civic club, or even a random pittmaster on the side of the road selling chicken, too. Regardless of where you go, your split half, a roll, a side, and a can of soda will set you back around $9.

Another great option for 2 days a year is wherever the Delmarva Chicken Festival is held. It rotates around several areas. When the festival is in Salisbury, my Jaycees Chapter does the cook. We build a 40' pit and plan to cook around 2,000 halves on a Friday and Saturday. One of the poultry producers donates all the chicken, and it turns into a huge fundraiser for many causes in that community. Chicken is big business, but the industry does a lot to give back to the area. Last year I served as our pittmaster, and it was a blast learning the system, our ~60 year old mop sauce recipe, and getting all that chicken out to the festival attendees.

If you're heading home along Rt 50, consider stopping in Easton at the BBQ Joint. They are better than FD and a small local place, but I try to stay away from BBQ places that use gas when I can as a personal choice. If you're a coffee drinker, right up Dover Rd is Rise Up Coffee, which has some of the best beans I've ever had the pleasure of drinking. Get a cup for the road and take some freshly roasted and ground beans with you, too.

The other good option is Red Hot and Blue in Annapolis (it's the windmill on Rt 50). RHB ribs are really close to the Rendezvous in Memphis - when they are cooked well they are in that league. If you're like me and can't decide what you want, they have a Five Meat Treat which gives you a little of everything. I promise that you'll be much happier with either choice vs FD.

In Salisbury, MD...

In the town of Salisbury, you could go to Taylor's BBQ on E College Ave. They have a really good wet cornbread and decent BBQ. It's not too far out of the way if you take Business 50 through town, instead of doing the bypass which takes you near Famous Dave's.


Since you're from WV in an area away from seafood, I'd usually recommend going someplace for blue crabs. But the harvest is horrible this year and OC already jacks up the prices something terrible for the tourists. And in OC there's a really good chance that you're getting non-Chesapeake crabs, anyway. Or with a place like Phillips, they serve a lot of Asian crab meat now and happily trade on their local MD reputation. That makes me sick. :( If you can only do them once this year and you love seafood, I can point you towards some better options based on your travels. Just let me know.

trza
08-13-2013, 03:06 PM
It is BBQ, but just not your usual "home-made" style.

Ribs are pretty good, but pork isn't that great.

If you can find a "local Q-joint" I would try that out first.
Below are a couple listed from BING:

Smoker's BBQ Pit (http://www.bing.com/maps/default.aspx?where1=Ocean+City&FORM=LMIEMN#)
9711 Stephen Decatur Hwy, Ocean City, MD
(410) 213-0040

28th St Pit and Pub (http://www.bing.com/maps/default.aspx?where1=Ocean+City&FORM=LMIEMN#)
2706 Philadelphia Ave, Ocean City, MD
(410) 289-2020
[/URL]
J/R's the Original Place-Ribs (http://pitandpub.com/)
6104 Coastal Hwy, Ocean City, MD
(410) 524-7427
[URL="http://www.jrsribs.com/"]

I'd stay away from JR's. When I worked in OC quite a while ago, that place was really drrrty. Maybe it's better now, but I saw enough to keep me from ever wanting to go back.

gmag
08-13-2013, 03:32 PM
LOL, coming from the guy with the Spam logo for a sig.:loco: Sorry, thought it was funny:laugh:

I'm originally from Austin, Minnesota and it is known as Spamtown USA. Spam is my one "meat" guilty pleasure I cant seem to shake! :boxing:

Mexi "Q" Tioner
08-13-2013, 03:36 PM
Only reason I ever go to FD is to pick up a bottle of their Devil's Spit BBQ sauce.

deguerre
08-13-2013, 03:46 PM
No Famous Daves in Memphis. We do have Corky's to make up for that though...:rolleyes:

The sauces are available at the local grocery chain but I've never tried them. I did try their pickles, which were just ok but nothing to write home about.

rksylves
08-13-2013, 04:14 PM
FD? Pass....

Ate at one somewhere in Northern Minneapolis and it was not too bad. The one at Mall of America is Mehh.. There's one just southwest(?) of Edina that was not so good.

Spent almost three months in Minneapolis a couple of years ago and only found one place that had really good Q. Scott Ja-MaMa. Little tiny place with one table in it. Order and leave. I STILL have the handwritten takeout menu pinned to my office wall.

Russ

thunter
08-13-2013, 04:20 PM
No Famous Daves in Memphis. We do have Corky's to make up for that though...:rolleyes:

The sauces are available at the local grocery chain but I've never tried them. I did try their pickles, which were just ok but nothing to write home about.

I had Corky's at Pigeon Forge, TN.... Awesome! :grin:

SmokerKing
08-13-2013, 04:25 PM
I do use the FD Rich N Sassy and Devils Spit for a base for some of my glazes / sauces.

SimondsBBQ
08-13-2013, 06:16 PM
I can only speak for the one on Long Island NY. Stay away. Mediocre at best.

pitbossJB
08-13-2013, 06:18 PM
I do like their "Devil's Spit" sauce.

Lytnin
08-13-2013, 06:34 PM
FD around here is okay as long as you stay away from the ribs and rib tips. Unfortunately we don't really have too many BBQ places to choose from and they are all pretty hit and miss except for FD.

edit:
Stay away from their "new burnt ends". Have never had burnt ends before and after eating those I don't think I ever want to again.

LMAJ
08-13-2013, 06:44 PM
It's a chain. There are probably plenty of local places to hit. Unless you are also feeding kids, then often a chain is a good thing.
Any way you go, enjoy your vacation!

wladrules
08-13-2013, 07:03 PM
:noidea:In my humble opinion, no. They are over priced and not very good. They changed over the last few years it seems. My better half and I took the kiddos there (famous Dave's in Little Rock, Arkansas) and we were very disappointed. Even the sweet tea wasn't good! But, to each his own. Give it a try and maybe you'll like it. It's a totally different location than the one here so maybe it's better.

IamMadMan
08-13-2013, 07:19 PM
I found it varies from location to location.. and consistency between locations is non existent.

In Brick NJ the food isn't fabulous but it's really good, ribs, brisket, pork, and chicken. However the one in Cherry Hill, NJ is fair at best.

I am sure they have policies and cooking procedures in place, it all come down to how well the employee likes / does their job...

Whimpy
08-13-2013, 08:20 PM
I avoided FDs for years. A couple of months ago someone on another forum mentioned the "Burnt Ends sandwich" and I have been hooked ever since. I've been back five times!

farklf
08-13-2013, 08:36 PM
I am a Famous Dave's fan. I really like the feast. I bought the recipe for ribs. 'Hog Heaven'. It's a great place to drink beer and eat ribs and watch the football game. Sometimes, you might get bad food but overall, it's delicious.

jamus34
08-13-2013, 08:44 PM
FD by me closed down...first time I went it was pretty good..second time not at all.

For the most part we don't have BBQ places in the area...couple of Mom and Pop's but they all need work in some form or another.

At this point I can make pulled pork with the best of them and I'm getting pretty good with St. Louis ribs...Brisket's gonna be my next challenge.

IamMadMan
08-13-2013, 09:56 PM
FD by me closed down...first time I went it was pretty good..second time not at all.

For the most part we don't have BBQ places in the area...couple of Mom and Pop's but they all need work in some form or another.

At this point I can make pulled pork with the best of them and I'm getting pretty good with St. Louis ribs...Brisket's gonna be my next challenge.

You'll do well with the brisket... just be patient while it cooks.

Bill-Chicago
08-14-2013, 11:59 AM
I think what most of the reviewers above have overlooked is the fact that your can get a whole platter sampler at Famous Dave's served on the lid of a trash can.

How can you Not love bbq served in that manor?

3 thumbs up for propane/gas tasting ribs served on an awesome trash can lid!!

deguerre
08-14-2013, 12:03 PM
How can you Not love bbq served in that manor?



I did NOT know Famous Dave's was located in a Baronial Estate.:heh:

WvQ
08-15-2013, 08:50 AM
I decided to go with this instead.

Untraceable
08-15-2013, 09:28 AM
oh hell yeah!

Bill-Chicago
08-15-2013, 12:11 PM
What cuts are those?

Just curious.

WvQ
08-15-2013, 01:10 PM
What cuts are those?

Just curious.

The one in the front is an 1" 1/4 Porterhouse the others are Ribey's. the women wanted the thin cuts.

Darkman
08-26-2013, 05:27 PM
The one here closed after about two years. It was OK no better. Ate a meal there twice only because that is where the group wanted to go.

Their Bread Pudding is worth going there just for desert! Went several times only for the desert!

BMCSRET
09-10-2013, 04:11 PM
Thanks for the thread. They just opened one of these near me and I've been contemplating a visit. I'll just got get some meat and light up my smoker instead.

brownkw
09-13-2013, 10:16 AM
Sounds like they're hit or miss, depending on the franchise. The one in Bozeman, MT isn't half bad. Decent ribs.

bbqmike_ny
09-13-2013, 11:35 AM
I have to say, the one in smithtown, ny I like a lot, I only go maybe 2x a year and did notice that the tenderness of ribs does vary from visit to visit, but I like sweet saucy ribs and that's what they do. I like the smoked sausage, but not so much on the pull or brisket. Their sides are good, but my son is livid when they discontinued the apples, he kept asking the waitress if she thought they would bring them back, and who can he put in a request to get them back. (his mother makes really good apple pie, not so sure what the fuss was about, lol)

DanB
09-17-2013, 05:40 PM
Hi Went to FD in Mountain Side New Jersey.Got there on Sunday around noon time,ordered both types of ribs.Was not impressed.The BB's ribs looked more like charcaol then ribs,St Louis weren't that great, sauces were pretty good.
I told the manager, that the ribs tatsed like yesterdays ribs. He gave me a coupon for my next visit.
My flying club had a BBQ catered by FD, the food was really good then, so thats why I went.
Dan