I was out and about the other day, for the first time in a while, and it happened to be at about time for an early dinner. I was starving, having had an apple and some crackers for lunch. As I drove along the front of a familiar strip mall in my neighborhood I noticed Dickey’s Barbecue Pit had opened an outlet there. All I could remember about Dickey’s was that they’d had a large, purpose-built store about a half mile west of this location, and that it hadn’t done well. That location’s gone through about four other restaurants, so I guessed that maybe it was the location.
Time to give Dickey’s another try.
This BBQ outlet is small, bordering on tiny. Only a few tables out front, most of them designed for two diners, and the tables were small in any case. (As I found out when I sat down, most of them were wobbly too.) There wasn’t anybody eating in there, but given the hour I didn’t worry, much. I ordered a two-meat plate, spicy sausage and lean brisket, and an iced tea to drink. Iced tea is the National Drink of Texas; the non-alcoholic edition, anyway. Had to have it with my meal, naturally.
For sides I chose their potato salad and green beans.
Let’s cut to the chase: The dining experience was less than ideal. The price was reasonable, the people were very nice, and the meats were as expected. The sides, however, weren’t really edible; the potato salad had some odd flavors under the too-much-mustard, and the beans were so overcooked you couldn’t scoop them up with a spoon. I’ve eaten dishrag soup with more body. The tea was okay, I guess. Certainly nothing outstanding, but then, I wasn’t in a tea house, I was in a BBQ joint. The ambience is not very appealing either.
The sauce was spicy, but nothing fancy other than that. I know, Dickey’s has signs up about their award-winning sauce. I wouldn’t have given them any award, but it wasn’t distracting or bad; just not WOW.
The meats? They were actually quite good. (To me, that’s “as expected” for a Texas BBQ house.) The sausage was juicy and quite zesty, but not so much as to overpower the nice, meaty flavor. The brisket was lean as ordered, and had good flavor and a very nice smoke ring. The texture was even throughout, not too crusty on the edges and not mushy or tough in the middle. Yep, they’ve got the meats down.
If this were my franchise I’d be worried about what the head office might say. A place this small has got to pack them in, have some excitement going; it clearly didn’t the day I was there. I’d say there’s great risk this shop will close unless they do something to bring the overall food quality up and get some traffic. (Keep in mind, I’ve been there once; my experience may have been a fluke. My intuition’s not giving me good vibes, though.)
While I was eating I noticed that four or five folks came in and took out orders of Dickey’s meats. Now there’s the ticket! Their meat is good enough to drive takeout business, and it seems at least a few people are doing just that. In fact, since this place is the closest BBQ place to my house, I’ll consider them the next time I want to make BBQ sandwiches at home for friends. I’ll skip all the other items, though; not worth the effort, in my opinion.
So, if you’re looking for a sit-down BBQ meal that satisfies, I’d say move along. However, if all you want is a quick grab-and-go of BBQ meats, then consider Dickey’s in Round Rock. Of course, that depends on how far you have to go to get their goods; it’s not so special that I’d make a long trip…
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in Round Rock, 661 Louis Henna Blvd., Round Rock, TX 7866. Phone 512.244.2877. Dine-in or take-out barbecue and fixins, lunch and dinner, seven days a week. Catering available.
Enjoy the (BBQ Meats) Heat!
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