I consider myself a bit of a barbecue aficionado – I travel quite frequently and make it a point to try local barbecue in whatever city I am in.
The great barbecue debate – mustard-based, tomato-based or vinegar-based – far outweighs any political debate where I come from. I prefer the vinegar-based but will eat just about any style.
So, here comes Texas-style with the reopening of a local Dickey’s Barbecue Pit. We made a beeline for it! We loved the food at the previous location near U.S. 301 and the Florida Turnpike. When it closed, we were really disappointed. But now, to our surprise, it’s resurfaced after many years right here in the Grand Traverse Plaza, 2955 Traverse Trail, in The Villages.
The nation’s largest barbecue chain was founded in 1941 by Travis Dickey, with the goal of authentic slow-smoked barbecue. Today, all meats are still slow smoked onsite in each restaurant, living up to the company tagline, “We Speak Barbecue.”
The Dallas-based, family-run Texas-style barbecue franchise offers a quality selection of signature meats, home-style sides, tangy barbecue sauce and free kids’ meals every Sunday. There is plenty of parking since it is in the shopping plaza. It is the second to last storefront on the left – very easy to find.
Outside, there are four tables for al fresco dining and inside there are an additional five tables. When you enter the casual restaurant, you’re greeted with a friendly “Hi! Welcome to Dickey’s” from the staff behind the counter. They are very cordial and all smiles as they wait to take your order.
The menu is printed on a bulkhead hanging from the ceiling. It’s large and very easy to read. Be sure to look to the left wall, as well, because the “Deal Of The Day” menu is hanging there. Every meal on that menu is only $10.50. And, it says that kids eat free on Sunday’s (12 and under).
Once at the counter, you can watch as the meats are being slice or chopped for your order. You also have a view of the glass-front cold cases that house the meats.
I ordered the two-meat plate of chopped brisket and Polish kielbasa sausage with two sides, barbecue beans and creamed spinach. It also came with a roll ($11.50).
The meats were fabulous! The brisket was hot and juicy and when I ordered, they asked if I wanted the fat trimmed off. It came as ordered. The kielbasa was sliced and spicy –absolutely delicious with a hint of smokiness. The barbecue beans were hot and delicious, as was the creamed spinach. No salt or pepper needed for any of it.
My dining companion ordered the pulled pork sandwich ($6.50) with waffle fries, green beans and creamed spinach. The sandwich was packed with pulled pork served on a warm toasted bun. Everything was fresh and hot.
After our meals were served, it was off to the condiment station. You prepare your own drinks and have a choice of three different types of barbecue sauce – sweet, spicy or original. We opted for the original and it was delicious. Be sure to pick up your plasticware and paper towels here, too.
After our meal, it was time for a trip to the complimentary ice cream machine where you make your own waffle cone. Your only choice of flavor is vanilla, but it was nice and thick, cold and smooth – a great way to top off the barbecue flavors from lunch.
The menu items include meats by the pound, plates, sandwiches, smoke stacks (meats on top of corn chips or mac and cheese), butcher tacos and a kids menu. You also can purchase bottles of Dickey’s barbecue sauce and shakers of their rib rub there.
All of the dining guests around us were smiling and were sure to tell the staff how delicious everything was on their way out the door. Wait! Hold that door – we’ll be back soon!