Dickey’s Barbeque – Alpharetta, GA

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Barbeque and I have long been friends.  Growing up, my family would occasionally go to Little Pigs BBQ in Greenwood, SC, which retains a certain nostalgia in that I know I really liked it but have long forgotten how it actually tasted.Slope's, Roswell, GA

In a more modern era, I’ve been fortunate that business travel has taken me throughout the southeast to some locally famous or not-so-famous barbeque restaurants.  Some favorites include:

Dreamland – Tuscaloosa, AL

Miss Myrna’s - Cahaba Heights, AL

Richey’s BBQ – Harpersville, AL

Melvin’s - Mount Pleasant, SC,

Swallow at the Hollow – Roswell, GA

The not-so favorites?

Sprayberry’s - Newnan, GA

Dreamland - Roswell, GA

Name a regional or larger chain (Sonny’s, Uncle Dave’s, Famous Dave’s). 

Barbeque can be a hotly debated subject.  Ample cook-offs are held each year amongst enthusiasts and restaurants, each hoping for a bit of fame.  And they’re difficult to compare.  There are various factors: meats (sliced pork, pulled pork, beef, ribs, chicken, etc.), sauces (ketchup, mustard or vinegar based), rubs/spices, type of wood for smoked flavor, type of grill, accompaniment (slaw on the BBQ?), etc.   I personally have a zero tolerance policy towards unfairly discriminating against barbeque.  They have equal rights and should all be tasted.   I’m making myself hungry writing this.  Lexington BBQ, Lexington, NC

My general “rule of thumb” is that barbeque quality increases as the elegance of the venue decreases.

If it looks like “a hole in the wall,” I’m probably going to like their BBQ.  Their are limits to this selective approach, as it turns out.  A local favorite of mine in the ‘90’s,  Benny’s, was by fair observation a greasy fire trap and would never boast an odor of a cleanser, and it was, on a dark and cloudy day, shut down by the powers that be.  But an ample portion of BBQ, a side of cole slaw, peach cobbler, and a can of Coke for $4.99 brings very fond memories.  Alas.  They knew their ‘cue.

The available options around my current office are overpriced and/or average in quality.  It was quite a surprise, then, to find a “chain” restaurant in a newly constructed strip center that was very good.  I mean, even though it bucks the tendencies, you have to try it, right?  That would be Dickey’s, a Texas chain that, I gather, is expanding via franchises.  Reasonable prices, great side order selections, free soft serve ice cream…  Winner!  I even joined their “Big Yellow Cup Club.” (translated: hoping for discount coupons or freebies).

One such email recently arrived, and rather than spell it out, you can see it at right:

Awesome, yes?  Fits a budget as well as a self-starved appetite awaiting a pig-out feast at lunchtime.

Oh baby!

We left the office at 11:30 and arrived about 11:45.  There were cars in the parking lot, but not overflowing.  Upon entering, however, there was a line.  To fair, they have a line even when they aren’t busy, because their ordering system is very inefficient and there’s only one register.  But this wasn’t just a line, it was a LINE…   But not to worry, it’s a big day!  The line will move. They’re prepared, right?

Dickey's, with 35 people ahead and 20 behind me.

Well, that’s what we thought as we decided to go ahead and give it a shot.  Besides, we were standing next to the self-serve ice cream machine.  Dessert before a meal isn’t so bad. 


Twenty minutes later, quite a number of people had joined the line behind us, quite a number had entered and decided against, and quite a number had made a break for other restaurants that were in the business of serving food.  We had advanced, at most, 8’, and even with that crowd, there were ample tables available.  Now, why is that?

Kind of makes you wonder about their intentions, doesn’t it?  On such a widely advertised occasion, the restaurant had their standard complement of staff:  one at the cash register, two order assemblers/table delivery, and, presumably, a couple people in the back cooking.

That’s not just poor planning.  In the face of all the advertising, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that there would be lots of customers. 

If the short-handed staff wasn’t enough, it didn’t take a careful eye to note that all the employees were deliberately slow.  No hurry.  Not even a hint of regret towards the throng that awaited.  This wouldn’t be a decision that good employees would make, and I have no reason to believe otherwise.  It was obvious that despite the corporate advertising, the franchisee had no intention of cooperating with the $1 BBQ sandwich offer.  They would have done everyone a favor by “opting out” with a sign.  This was a huge waste of time for all involved, and I hope the corporate folks who take their commission on franchise sales take note.  This location flunked.

0 of 5 STARS, pathetic. 

(Don’t see a gold star above? That’s because there aren’t any).

Zaxby’s, by the way, welcomed our business.

1 comment :

  1. I would add Williamson's to the not so hot list. Hottie Hawgs BBQ is one of my favorites. Their sauces are just fantastic!