Another barbecue place opens in Waco! Well it's not exactly headline news. We have a few too many here and this one is almost good. The arrival of Dickey’s is probably a good thing for Waco in that it may interest some other better franchises to take a look at our town. I have eaten at the original Dickey’s in Dallas, which is not the same as eating at the clones. I have eaten at a couple of their early spinoffs within the last few years. This new version is a bit different, as has its good points.
When you think of large multi-location barbecue franchises in Texas you think first of Spring Creek, Rudy's, Sonny Bryan's, Colter's, Luther's, and maybe even Tony Roma's before you get around to Dickey's. And that's the problem with this new Q outpost on Valley Mills. When compared to these other restaurants, it's almost as good. I would much preferred a Spring Creek or a Colter’s to Dickey’s.
My visit was just after the lunch peak traffic was clearing out at 1:15 PM. There was only a short line and a brief wait as we got our trays and moved down the cafeteria line. I liked the simple combination menu that presented the choices and prices clearly. Dickey's is not over priced for this market and gives adequate portions of beef, ribs, ham, sausage, and other meats. The list of over 15 sides is impressive and they are self-served. There were some heavy plates moving through the line ahead of us - heaping with a tasty baked potato casserole, waffle-fries, and coleslaw.
I sampled two meats and was satisfied with the quantity but not the quality. I think the piles of oak wood stacked out front of the restaurant must be just for show. There was little evidence of any smoke aroma in either the sliced beef or the pork spare ribs. I relied on a half and half mixture of the mild and spicy barbecue sauce to add any smoke flavor. The beef was tender but tasted like it had been slowly baked. The meaty ribs were large and a bit chewy (I like them to have some firmness) but were too pale on the exterior with little or no crust. Now some of this may have been due to the large demand associated with the opening. Maybe in a month this might improve.
I think the best way to sum up Dickey’s is to compare them with some of the other options we have here in Waco.
Brisket - Almost as good as Uncle Dan’s; Almost as good as Michna’s; Almost as good as Rudy’s; Almost as good as Rib Crib!
Ribs- Not as good as Uncle Dan’s; Almost as good as Michna’s; Almost as good as Rib Crib; Better than Rudy’s!
Sauce - Not near as good as Rudy’s; Almost as good as Rib Crib; Better than Uncle Dan’s; Better than Michna’s!
Sides - Better than Rudy’s; Better than Rib Crib; Better that Michna’s; Better than Uncle Dan’s!
Value - Better than Rudy’s; Almost better than Rib Crib; Not as good as Michna’s; Better than Uncle Dan’s!
Atmosphere - Almost better than Rudy’s; Almost better than Rib Crib; Better than Michna’s; Almost better than Uncle Dan’s!