Friday, February 3, 2012

Dickey’s BBQ Pit – Eden Prairie, MN

I work near this Dickey’s BBQ Pit location and had no idea they were a chain until I went back home to visit the family in Illinois. That’s the reason these guys aren’t competing in the Bar-B-Quest 2012 rib challenge – otherwise, HotGirlsBrother and I would have thrown them in the mix. We’re not including national chains like Famous Dave’s and Tony Roma’s, even though those places are just fine. No offense, Dave and Tony.

I met a friend at the Eden Prairie location for lunch. Funny story: he recommended we eat here, but when he said “Dickey’s”, he meant “Baker’s” and had no idea where Dickey’s was located. It involved a lot of phone calls and waiting, but it was worth it when he fessed up to what he had done. The inside of the place is pretty spacious and bright, and there are huge menus hanging up above the counter where you order, so that’s helpful.

I knew I wanted a multi-meat platter for lunch (which is pretty reasonably priced, I might add), but I wasn’t sure which kinds of meat I wanted. I wanted ALL of them, but that isn’t how the deal works. I saw they had a sign pasted over one of the regular meats and on the sign, it read “Spicy Cheesy Sausage”. I knew I wanted ribs, so I told the guy I wanted ribs, but was curious about the sausage (twss). He immediately sliced off a chunk of the sausage for me to sample. I then immediately ordered that. It was awesome. I ordered the sides I wanted – baked beans and the spicy green beans and bacon – because why wouldn’t you?? I asked the girl behind the counter which sides were good. She told me the mac and cheese was her favorite, and then she put a small amount in a dish and told the register girl that it was no charge. Wow, this place was doing everything they could to get people to try their food. I was already becoming a big fan.

We sat down. You have to get your silverware at one counter near the door and then get your drinks from the fountain, as well. Not a big hassle, but it took some doing to figure out where everything was at. I dug into the spicy green beans with bacon. They weren’t all that spicy, sadly, and even more sadly – the bacon wasn’t really bacon – it was ham. Same animal, yet different animal. Bummer. It also had a ton of onions in with the beans, so I wasn’t thrilled. But I powered through. The mac and cheese however, was really really good. The girl was right. When I go back here, I’ll be getting the mac and cheese, for sure. The baked beans were just alright. I wasn’t blown away, but they were decent. No complaints on them.

The ribs were about average. Nothing flashy, but it took some doing to get off the bones and the meat wasn’t all that tender. There wasn’t a ton of flavor, but thankfully, there were three sauces on the table to choose from. I liked the original best, but the hot and the sweet weren’t awful. I was glad I had them, though.
The spicy sausage was the winner of the day, though. Really a delicious sausage and it had a tiny bit of zip to it. I guess in Minnesota, this is spicy. It could have been kicked up four or five more notches, but I understand, they have to cater to the lowest common denominator palette.

The restaurant has two things they’re trying to push – one is weird, one is not. The first thing: They have a big yellow cup club. All their soft drinks come in a big yellow cup. I’m not sure why this is even a “thing”. It really shouldn’t be. Just give me a vessel to put liquid in – I don’t care what color and I don’t care how big it is, if there are free refills. Weird. What’s not weird is the second claim to fame they have – free soft serve ice cream.
Now that’s what I’m talking about. I really enjoyed this mini dessert after my meal. They have minimal toppings, but all I wanted was the ice cream. It made me leave with a smile.

I’m pretty sure my friend liked his food a lot as well, so I’m hoping it’s a place we can go to more often for lunch. It didn’t have mind blowing ribs, but the prices were reasonable and the other meats and sides were worth eating again. It probably wouldn’t have fared well against some of the local BBQ players, but it did alright for a once-in-a-while lunch place.

Top 5 things about Dickey’s BBQ Pit
1. Spicy Cheesy Sausage
2. Mac and Cheese
3. Free ice cream
4. Generous with samples
5. Pretty good prices for what you get

Bottom 5 things
1. Ribs weren’t much to talk about
2. Bacon was actually ham and not spicy at all
3. Beans were meh
4. The layout was confusing, with the drinks in one place and the silverware in another
5. Big Yellow Cup Club was lost on me

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