I interrupted my drafted posts to bring you some news on a local eatery. Early this evening, we popped over to Cub Foods on Hwy 13/Traveler’s Trail in our local town, Burnsville, for a couple special items. [Lisa will be doing a future blog on Cub’s bulk tea assortment, it’s really good]. We were very hungry as we’d skipped lunch and we’re wondering what we were going to do for dinner and ‘lo and behold we [finally] noticed that Dickey’s Barbeque Pit was open. A little Googling has shown that we’re behind the times as it seems to have been open since at least early September or so.
We follow Bill Roehl’s blog at LazyLightning [this links to his review post of the Rack Shack BBQ in Burnsville] for our south of the river news and restaurant reviews. His following garners plenty of commentary, especially from our neighbors and we enjoy feeling part of the conversation. We’ve followed Bill’s posts and the running comments since the early part of this year on the recent BBQ rib joints that have emerged and hope you’ll find our experience helpful before you make your trip to Dickey’s.
First, we’ll say we’ll definitely go back to Dickey’s. There is a convenience factor since I use the bus transit from downtown and drive past this location M-F. And we’ll also re-visit the Rack Shack on Cliff Road, in fact we picked up take out last week from them. There are distinct differences between the two competitors.
EXPENSE – Lisa ordered the 1 meat chopped brisket plate and I ordered the 2 meat plate [ribs and sliced brisket], with two fountain drinks which totaled $24.67. For our split dinner at the Rack Shack we paid $30.96. There, Lisa and I split a full rack with our own sides so it wasn’t exactly a one for one comparison on menu items, rather just a simple comparison of expense.
ATMOSPHERE – Dickey’s is available for both take-out or dine-in, as is the Rack Shack. Our overall impression was that Dickey’s has a better focus on the aesthetic dine-in experience vs Rack Shack. Nice blue plaid table cloths, comfortable barrel back wooden chairs and food served on a large round tray with wax paper lining. Music was a blend of southern rock, blues and oldie tunes. I’ll give points to the Rack Shack for their live music this past summer, but their dine-in experience is in styrofoam containers, among stainless steel tables, cement flooring, and less comfortable chairs – Lisa says, “A bare bones interior.” No pun intended. Rack Shack admitted they were focused on take-out and it shows.
ORDERING EXPERIENCE – walk-in and order directly from the chef and watch your meal being prepared and your plate arranged as if you’re at the Subway sandwich counter. Warning [or bonus?], you can order your brisket chopped to your specification. If you stand close enough to the ordering wall with your mouth open, you might get a free appetizer as the meat flies around. There were only two people working the line at 5pm. The main chef and the cashier. That left the main chef as the only guy who could really touch any of the food items on the line. A third guy finally showed-up to help, but they were clearly understaffed as the customer line grew and the wait ensued. They were clearly arranging pick up orders while trying to fill take out and dine in and the head chef was crazily trying to keep up.
SAUCE – Dickey’s offers 3 choices – Hot ‘n Spicy, Dickey’s Original and Sweet. Lisa and I liked the original. Their sauce is a available in metal canisters and you have to ladle it into plastic cups. There weren’t any plastic cups available, only lids. So we improvised and used paper ice cream cups. By the way, there’s free ice cream every day.
SLAW & BEANS – we like slaw that’s not too creamy nor smothered in mayo. This passed the test and tasted fresh. The beans were not great. They were bland with a smokiness that was too overpowering for my taste.
ALL SIDES – 11 sides are available: Waffle-iron fries, they were good, but by the time we got to the table they were a little cool, Caesar salad, fried onion Tanglers, green beans with bacon, original potato salad, BBQ beans, slaw, jalapeno beans, fried okra, mac & cheese, and the baked potato casserole. We wanted to try the baked potato casserole, but be warned, they told us it would take an extra 8-10 minutes before it’s available. And they don’t tell you that at the beginning of the line. If felt like we’d be done eating the rest of the dinner before that was ready, so we got the waffle iron fries.
SANDWICH & PLATE CHOICES – The Westerner, The ‘lil Range, the Big BBQ Sandwich. Meat Plate choices – 1 meat plate, 2 meat plate, 1/4 plate or the Rib plate. Choice of two sides, dinner role, onions & pickle.
Since Dickey’s is a franchise operation, there are other locations in the Twin Cities. We’d love to hear from you if you’ve been to any one of them or to the new one in Burnsville. What did you think of their sauces, or plate options? Would you go back? Do you have a preference on which BBQ rib joint you prefer, especially south of the river. Please send us a comment and track back to Bill.
I say the variety of BBQ types and meat rubs and the local entrepreneurship at Rack Shack are a definite plus for me and I like to support local families who want to make it in their own home town. But I definitely appreciate the franchise owners at Dickey’s who are contributing to the HOC experience in Burnsville. I admire the differences in style and opportunities that are inspired by competitors. In fact, there’s a congratulations sign in Dickey’s front door from Famous Dave himself who competes on the west side of 35W.
p.s. Just one more thing: Dickey’s does NOT serve corn bread – they serve a hot buttered roll. We really missed having corn bread with our dinner!