Friday, January 09, 2015

 Best Bets in Waco 2015

2014 has come and gone as have a lot of Waco restaurants.  It is time to update this list of the best places to eat in Waco, Texas.  

 Dining in Waco is like the soft drink industry.  You can eat with relative certainty with the big guy chain restaurants or you can look for something distinctively different and out of the ordinary.   

All of the listed information is subject to change.  Be sure to call and check for hours of operation.  

Best Overall  Non-chain
135 Prime
Stadium Club

Top Chains Restaurants (not BBQ or Mexican)
B.J's Brewhouse 
Longhorn Steakhouse
Panera Bread Company
Pei Wei

Top Barbeque  

Uncle Dan's

Bangkok Royal (Thai) 
Pei Wei  

Top Burgers
Kitok Restaurant
Five Guys Burgers and Fries

Top Tex/Mex
Don Carlos

Sandwich Shops
Jason's Deli
Jimmy John's

Top Italian
Papa Rollo's

Dickey's Rides Again

If their was ever a worst time to open a barbeque restaurant in town, I can't remember it. We already have plenty of good choices for smokey meat.  Vitek's is on a roll.  Rudy's is never empty.  Uncle Dan's and Michna's survive.  Why would Dickey's choose now to roll back into Waco?  A market where it crashed and burned a few years ago seems like a poor choice.  With beef prices through the roof, how do they plan to be competitive?  

I visited there new location on Bosque near Valley Mills and discovered the answer - they don't!  

I strolled into the new location which is smaller that the earlier facility.  After a quick review of the menu, I selected a BIG sandwich of sliced brisket with 2 sides - coleslaw and baked potato casserole.  The sandwich came on a very sturdy bun. Much appreciated.  Some of Dickey's competition have soft bun issues that render the meat and sauce into a soggy mess.  I asked for  some of the blackened brisket exterior on my sandwich.  I was rewarded by the meat man with a new brisket from the drawer below the counter.  As he placed it on the block and began removing the plastic wrap(!), I began to question my selection.  The texture of the beef was as you might expect of something that had spent some hours being smoked and then placed in a warmer for a longer period of time.  The meat was well past tender and had moved on to mushy. Wrapping brisket in plastic usually indicates that the product has been removed from the pit or smoker for a undetermined amount of time.

The previous Dickey's had allowed self service on the side dishes.  The new Dickey's portion controls the heck out of their sides.  Two to maybe three tablespoons of bland coleslaw and the same of the baked potato casserole.  I could find no evidence of a baked potato in the little tub that it came in.  There was potato but it seemed mashed or instant.  They scattered a few green onion pieces and some cheese on top. Not even a micro piece of baked potato peel was found.

I ordered a Big Yellow Cup soft drink for $2.50 and paid for my $12.50 lunch.  Moved on the the side bar and searched for Diet Dr Pepper (no luck) and a little sweet pickle relish (no chance). Only the three sauce choices were worthy of note.  The spicy is spicy, the original is very good and the sweet is just that.  

I can't imagine how this second generation franchise of a Dallas barbeque original will survive.