Last updated: July 4, 2002
I travel the USA for my job, and I'm always looking for great Q, so I began a BBQ rating web page (mostly for my own use). There's no science to the page, and there's really no rating criteria (other than whether or not I like the place). I pay as much attention to the quality and friendliness of the service as I do to the food. Dick's BBQ- Noblesville Indiana
One thing... I LOVE beef ribs and I LOVE fried corn-on-the-cob! If a joint has them, it may sway their rating. Note to BBQ places: please consider adding these to your menu!
This Page was reviewed by the Atlanta Journal and Constitution on June 19, 2001
Newly Reviewed (or updated)
Dick's BBQ- Noblesville Indiana
Texas Rib Ranch in Atlanta(Not the one in Marietta) has changed its name to "One Star BBQ". Same food, just higher prices. $2.25 for frozen fries is outrageous! Plus you still have to pay to park. Don't park at Rio Bravo unless you want to get towed. Still a great place to go, though
A Brief Note About Santa Maria, CAAlthough I didn't have time to visit a BBQ joint, I experienced a "Santa Maria Cook-Out at my local Office. Santa Maria is famous for their "Santa Maria Tri-Tip (another regional cut) and although it starts out rather tough- the method of cooking makes it really good. I hope to return and try some establishments that sell it.
The Red Barn BBQ- McAllen TX A very small establishment, it appears to be family-run. It is a sort of cross between a Mexican place and a BBQ place, but they had something I have never seen before: a cut of meat called "Beef Skirts". Not sure exactly what it is, but it was quite good. Every time I visit McAllen, my friend Eloy Sanchez takes me there! It's a reqular for me.
Porky's Last Stand: Naples FL (2560 39th St SW North of I-75 (Also known as Hwy 951))This was a good local type place. It had a screen door. Lots of blue collar type lunch patrons, I could tell that this was a local favorite. If you are traveling towards Miami from S Florida on I-75, this is a great place to stop before going across the Everglades. This was a reallly reasonably priced place- A beef sandwich with 2 sides was 4.95. Iced tea was only .75 If you are into the exotic foods, thay also had Frog Legs, Venison, and Gator Nuggets. Phone # 455-9400
Gordo's: Hawthorne NYThis is an average place. A bit more barlike than I would like, and kind of smoky (the bad kind, not good BBQ smoke)
Poke E Joe's: Austin, TexasRevisited in October 2001. Go through the line, pick your food (true Texas style)- Thumbs up (but I'm not happy about their recent discontinuance of Corn On The Cob from the menu. Also, this is one of the priciest places I have been.So far, I have full reviews on:
Sticky Fingers: Providence, RI
Virgil's: Times Square, NY
Texas Rib Ranch: Marietta, GA
Ribs On The Run: Yonkers, NY (Revisited 5/01)
Laredo: Ardsley, NY
Montana: Providence, RI
Buster's: Stamford, CT (Revisited and Re Rated!!)
Texas Rib Ranch, Buckhead, GA - Thumbs up (except for the parking).
Texas Rib Ranch, Marietta, GA (Hwy 5) - Back to thumbs up (after a few months of "Time Out")
First Choice BBQ - Brandon, Florida - Thumbs up
Fred Fleming's Famous Bar-B-Que - Tampa Florida - Thumbs up
Love's BBQ: Many locations in Southern California - tired decor, but always thumbs up
Wes's Rib Shack: Providence, RI - Really bad service and really bad attitude on the part of the staff. Thumbs down
Old South BBQ: Smyrna, GA - A BIG Thumbs up from me- for the past 30 years. Ask for Joy, and check out her photo-collages of customers, I think she's got a picture of every customer that ever walked through the door. I'm on #13. Their sauce has a great taste that is different from all others.
County Line On The Lake: Austin, Texas - Good Q, but a bit expensive and kind of a tourist destination- Thumbs up
Big Al's on Inwood Rd: Dallas, Texas - Another place where you go through the line and pick your food - Thumbs up
Underwood's: Waco, Texas - Can't exactly describe it. Old tired 60's vinyl/glitter booths. Sort of like a BBQ equivalent of Luby's Cafeteria. If you don't know Luby's, you won't understand. But don't bother to go there just to find out. - Thumbs down (tasted like institutional BBQ)
Tennessee's: Framingham, MA - Thumbs up
Red's Backwoods BBQ: Kennesaw, GA - Thumbs down (overpriced and inconsistent quality) UPDATE 7-01 OUT OF BUSINESS!
Country's BBQ: Columbus GA, Montgomery AL, Opelika AL - Thumbs up (try the Fried Corn On The Cob)
Sonny's BBQ: Many, Many locations in the SE - Thumbs up - (Good Generic BBQ)
Fat Boy's BBQ: Many locations in Florida - Thumbs up - (More "Home Style" than Sonny's)
Golden Rule BBQ: Marietta, GA - Out of Business
You can reach me by e-mail at: rwf (at) bsrg.org
I use a 0-5 rating system
This is probably NOT the same chain as the ones in Charleston and Chattanooga. Sticky Fingers was not impressive. The food was average, but I can't remember enough to describe it. One thing stands out: the service was horrible and the waitress has a really poor attitude. I will not go there again. My rating: 2.0
This review is currently being rewritten to reflect the Rib Ranch's new and improved service.
The revised review should be online by June 20th
The old review:
This place used to be my favorite of all BBQ joints anywhere. I have been going there for well over 10 years. I had been bringing 10-20 people there every Saturday for lunch and considered myself a pretty regular (and income producing) customer. This place was a small, homey hole in the wall ramshackle building. It appeared to have been had been haphazardly added onto several times. They even added an outside covered deck that was a nice place to kick back and enjoy some 'Q. In October of 1996, the remains of Hurricane Opal drifted through North Georgia. A mysterious fire occured during one of the storms that totally destroyed the building. Nothing happened towards reconstruction for about a year or so and then they finally rebuilt. When the place was rebuilt, it was made larger and less "homey". The acoustics were also horrible- when a crowd was in the place, you couldn't even hear the others at your own table. Another negative is that the smoking and non-smoking areas aren't very well separated. It had been so long since the fire that all of the regular, familiar help (Little Barbara) had drifted away to other jobs.
For the last year or so, I have observed the service going steadily downhill. The food began having a lot of fat in it and the management wasn't too interested in making things right when they were wrong. The prices had gone up alot, too! For a while, it seemed as though there was a new crew every week. The only thing remaining the same was a nice elderly lady and a man in the back who I think was the Manager. This Manager and I have had a couple of incidents involving poor quality food. He has never been gracious at all, and the idea of the customer ever being right sure didn't seem familiar to this guy.
My most recent experience was in early April 2000, just after arriving home from a long International flight. My Family and I were forced to wait 20 minutes to even be seated, and then ignored for another 20 minutes before ordering. The waitress (who had been serving me for at least a year) was exceedingly rude. When there was no food delivered for 20 more minutes, I asked them to make it "to go" and they did. They also gave me the food for free. I really wasn't in the mood to eat it by then, and really felt that I might not even want to eat it.
I hope this place fixes its problems before all of their business dries up. I know several others who feel the same way about the service.
Even though I think the food used to be great, I can only cautiously recommend this establishment at this time!
Update 5/01: The service has improved greatly and if it keeps improving, this bad rating will disappear
If you want to get there to try it for yourself, Take I-75 North of Atlanta to Exit 267A. Go towards Woodstock about 2-3 miles. The median will end and the Rib Ranch will be on the left. Make a safe U turn and then immediately get in the right lane to enter the parking lot.
NOTE: There is another Texas Rib Ranch, owned by a Cousin or something, that is very good and the management and staff are very friendly. It is located on Irby Avenue (Next to Rio Bravo) in the Buckhead section of Atlanta. If you visit this place, be prepared to be ripped off for public parking. After all, it IS Buckhead. Don't park at Rio Bravo (they tow)
I visited again tonight. It was about 45 minutes before closing. Same staff was there. Same menu too. I wanted to eat in, but the owner wanted me to do take-out. Eventually I talked him in to letting me eat there and I closed the place up at 9:29.
Air conditioning still not evident, and it was hot! The BBQ Beef Rib plate with my sides of Fries and corn on the cob was $15.50. this was with no drink. I learned long ago to bring my own cup of ice because all they have are bottles and cans.
Somewhere around July-August 1998: Late one night after working late in the White Plains area, I was driving all over the place looking for supper. I wandered down towards Yonkers (not knowing the area's seedy reputation) and happened upon a strip center full of little eateries. There were a couple of Italian places, A Chinese place, I think, a pizza joint, and a place called Ribs on The Run. Figuring that a place advertising Ribs just might have some beef, I decided to give them a try. Going inside, I saw that it was mostly a take-out and delivery style establishment with a counter, a drink cooler, and about 4 small tables in the waiting area. The air conditioning was broken, and the July heat had the interior of the place feeling a bit like the Sahara. The proprietor (Mike, I think) had the Atlanta Braves on the TV and was glad to show me what was on the menu.
They serve Beef plates and sandwiches, Pork, Chicken, and a good selection of seafood. The clientele appears to be residents of the local area (there is a project-type housing development across the street). Many times the food in these areas is very good. Probably due to the Soul-Food roots.
When I asked about Beef Ribs, Mike told me that there was an unlisted item: a Beef Rib Plate. I immediately ordered one. After waiting about 10 minutes, I was presented with a styrofoam take-out container containing my meal. Because of the air-conditioner problem, I retired to a different location (a Burger King with Fountain Cokes) to eat the meal.
Wow! This turned out to be a great meal. It consisted of about 6 Beef Bones, Cole Slaw, Home Fries, and Corn Bread. I had ordered a side of Corn-On-The-Cob ($1.25 extra (now $1.50) but well worth it). The meat was falling off the bones, and the sauce was excellent. The corn was fresh and tasted great. The fries were average.
My only suggestion would be to add an ice machine and fountain drinks. I realize that this is not really feasible for a take-out place, but I can at least wish ;-). I personally don't like drinking bottled and canned drinks with meals. Now when I go back (and I have visited 4 or 5 more times), I bring my own 2 liter Coke and a bag of ice.
Give this place a try! However, if you're a little wary of seedy neighborhoods after dark, though- take a friend. I should try going there in the daytime sometime. Also- the atmosphere is not really wonderful. You would probably not want to bring a date here. Remember it is actually a take-out place.
I'll bet a catered BBQ event would be a hit for a Company function. Mike told me that they have catered BBQ for the Yankees Clubhouse before.
To get there, take 100 South from White Plains about 5 miles, or get off I-87 or the Sprain Parkway at Jackson Avenue, go East to Central Park, then South. Ribs on The Run is on the West (right hand) side of the street up on a small hill. There's a CVS across the street.
Tell them you saw it here. And remember You ARE in New York!
UPDATE (August/September 1998):
I decided to give Buster's another try. This time I liked it so well that I returned about four more times. Jay and I went back once too, as well as Kirk (from the Montana review) and our friend Anthony.
This time, the food was much better. They still haven't got the right idea about side orders (Fries should always be a side), and they only have beef ribs on the weekends.
One time I had the "Texas" portion 3 meat plate. It had Honey-Lime chicken, Beef Brisket, and Beef Ribs and was more than even I could eat! Next time, I had exactly the same thing but a "Regular" sized portion.
There were at least two sauces, Hot and Mild. I enjoyed the mild, but Kirk liked the hot.
I would definitely keep this on my regular list or Q joints in the North East and plan to visit again whenever I'm in the NY/CT area.
The only BBQ on their menu was either Pork Ribs, or a combination plate. Since I don't like pork, I decided on the Chicken and Beef Brisket Plate. I figured that for $14.95, it had to be good.
The service was slow and when the food finally arrived, it was obvious that the "sauce" (tasted like canned tomato paste) was merely poured over pre-cooked chicken breast filets and beef brisket.
I couldn't taste the meat very well because of this horrible sauce.
My side order was roasted potatoes, which appeared to really be hash browns. They were laced with onions, whose flavor permeated the meat as well.
A Coca-Cola cost me $1.95 extra. They did not have any iced tea. Oh yeah- they haven't heard of free refills in New York, either.
All I could think of was how to get out quickly, so I ate what I could and got the hell out of Dodge ... err Laredo!
The place was very difficult to find, as there is no Southbound exit for Ardsley. I had to get off I-87 at Tuckahoe Rd (Where's Maude?) and drive up 9A for 5 miles. It also cost me two tolls for that little maneuver. I'm sure that if you knew the local roads, you could get there from Elmsford.