Monday, October 24, 2011

Famous Dave's Barbecue

My husband and I went to Famous Dave's BBQ for lunch today to celebrate our anniversary.

We actually intended to go to Outback Steakhouse since I've heard wonderful things about their gluten free menu. Unfortunately, they don't open until 4 PM which is a most inconvenient time for lunch.

Famous Dave's just happened to be right down the street, I just happen to like barbecue, and so we went there instead.

As soon as we walked in I asked if they had a gluten free menu. The lovely lady who was seating us, Kristin, also happened to be the Manager on Duty. She was very nice and explained that they don't have a dedicated menu, but she did have a list of ingredients for their menu. She also explained that they do their best but can't ensure there won't be any cross contamination. I understand how a "regular" kitchen works and I always assume when I eat out that there may be some cross contamination. It's a risk I'm willing to take for special occasions. (Places where I have no reaction are likely to be visited again while places where I get reactions are avoided in the future, of course.)

Kristin gave us menus and brought me their ingredient lists. Unfortunately none of their incredible smelling barbecue sauces are gluten free, but there were at least two chicken dishes that had no gluten ingredients.

I chose the Barbecue Chicken Platter Lunch Special with no sauce. Normally the lunch special comes with a corn bread muffing, corn on the cob, and a choice of side. The tasty looking muffin was not gluten free (not really a surprise) so I asked our waitress, Ashley, if I could get a different side instead. She said it wasn't a problem at all, and even asked her manager if I could still get the corn on the cob! I guess normally the corn muffin and cob go together, so if you get a substitution for the muffin you forfeit the cob too. Since my problem was diet related and not just preference they went ahead and gave me the cob! For my sides I asked for double Famous Fries and Ashley didn't bat an eye!

This is what came:

There were more fries when I first got it, but they looked and smelled so good I ate some before I had the presence of mind to take a picture. Those fries are AMAZING! They're thick; crispy on the outside, and chewy on the inside. I'm actually drooling a little just thinking about it.

The chicken was really great too. A lot of chicken can be dry without sauce, or if it does manage to retain juiciness it lacks flavor. This chicken had both! It was tender, juicy, and the flavor went all the way through. Kristin told me they do some kind of magic flavor injecting, whatever that is it's beautiful. It had just the right amount of flavor without being too spicy, I really liked it.

Don't let that last picture fool you. I ate quite a bit. I was stuffed. That's just what's left over. I'm looking very forward to finishing that off later.

I'm sure you noticed I'm quite the chatterbox. The manager came over to our table a couple of times to check on us, and I talked her ear off. I told her about our anniversary, and she was very warm and friendly right back. I'm sure I bugged our waitress just as much. I even made them pose for a picture, just so I could show you guys!

That's Ashley on the left and Kristin on the right.

Just as we were feeling like we couldn't eat another bite, Ashley came to our table and told us that her manager had informed her that our dessert was on the house. She wouldn't take no for an answer and brought back the ingredients list so we could pick a dessert.

I'll admit that we didn't fight her too much and we indulged in a Famous Sundae with praline sauce that should be declared illegal. That sauce is the stuff dreams are made of. You owe it to yourself to go out and try that sundae. Excuse me for a moment as I wipe the drool of my keyboard.

I didn't get a picture of the sundae, it was way too good to wait for a snapshot. Use your imagination!

My overall rating for our experience is a resounding A+! Great food, wonderful service, good atmosphere, and at a good price (Our bill came to less than $23 before tip.) Of course they get extra credit for the free sundae, I'm a sucker for free food. Just so you know, I didn't tell them about the blog until after we were ready to go. That's when I made them pose for the picture. So it's not like they were trying to butter me up. This is all my honest, unbiased opinion!


  1. Great review! I'm headed to a wedding this weekend which will be catered by Famous Daves, and I was looking for some "safe" food ideas. Thank you!! ~Angela

  2. Hey! I am actually interested in one thing, of course if that's not too much to ask could you please share with us the place where you spent your childhood?

    1. I'm an Army Kid, I grew up all over the place. Mostly Southern Germany and Mesa, Arizona.

  3. Thank you so much for this information, as my husband and I love Famous Dave's, but I was recently diagnosed with Celiac disease and was afraid we'd have to exclude this restaurant in the future!...but thanks to you, I'm so grateful for your write-up on Famous Daves! thank you for that! :)

  4. Famous Dave's now has a GF BBQ sauce. It's called "All Natural", and it it good. We bought ours in a Meijer Grocery store in Michigan. I would assume they have it in the restaurants by now too.

  5. I am new to the gluten-free world. I went to Famous Dave's last night and did eat the corn muffin, not knowing it was not gluten-[free and paid for it. It made me quite ill. Do you get spots all over your body that are painful and if you press on them, they feel like a bad bruise?

  6. I'm glad you had a good experience. When my husband went there the waiter had no clue about gluten free food. He brought the ingredient list. My husband chose to order the chicken sandwich without a bun.
    Okay you know what the conversation was when the bun arrived. The waiter apologized took the plate and was back in 1 minute or less. It was very obvious that he took the plate to the kitchen and took the bun off the chicken and put the chicken back on the plate. My husband was so annoyed and concerned about cross cantamination and just gave the chicken away and are the fries. He came home and made a gluten free meal.