Saturday, September 6, 2008

Branching Out; Dunk's BBQ

Hi, Folks. Hiwatt Scott here. Grant and I have decided that it's better for us to split up and go solo on some reviews, since he lives on the north side of town, and I am on the south side (on the weekends, at least). Expect reviews from Grant on Dreamland BBQ and Williamson Brother's BBQ, while I'll provide reviews on several places in Griffin (my hometown), places in Jonesboro (Dean's, Harold's), and beyond (Fresh Air Barbecue in Jackson, Fincher's in Macon). We shall continue to do reviews together of places we can reach on our lunch hour.

Moving on, it's with a heavy heart I submit my first review of a Griffin area barbecue place: Dunk's Barbecue. Why so glum? well I realized that now I have to cast a critical eye upon places that, as a result, might be the worst for it. Read on...

Dunk's is located on the spot where another barbecue place used to stand: Leon's. I have very fond memories of Leon's. I can remember going there with my uncle Ed, drinking coke from a bottle (later on, they switched to bringing you a can of coke and a glass of ice, which is somehow endearing, if a tad lazy). Leon's also planted the seed in my head that you had to have objects of pig worship in your BBQ joint: Statues of pigs, postcards of pigs, carvings of pigs, just all around pig idolatry. The kind of stuff that'd have you heading out the side door in a hurry if Moses happened in. Their barbecue was good enough to risk getting caught skipping school, which I did, just for lunch sometimes (it helped that Leon's was next door to my high school). Anyway, as things go, Leon's was eventually torn down, and Dunk's rose in it's place. Dunk's was a place famous in Griffin before my time, but was revived for this venture. Here's a front view:

(sorry for the lousy quality photos, they are from my phone)

As barbecue places go, it's a nice looking place, somewhere between the charm of a genuine hole in the wall and the bbq theme park look of some of your chain restaurants. There's a nice stairway leading up to the restaurant:

Here's where the trouble starts: The sign that greets you as you walk in...

It is quite a pet peeve of mine when people misspell "y'all". The apostrophe goes between the Y and the A, people! It's a contraction of the words "You all"! why would you put the apostrophe between the A and the first L? You're not removing any letters there!

Inside, the place is pleasant enough, although it feels unfinished. I have a love/hate relationship with the kind of junk that normally gets put on the wall at restaurants. It's become such a cliche to have a bunch of mismatched junk hanging on your restaurant's walls, so much so that there are now companies that provide such "flair" from a catalog! On the other hand, when the clutter is amassed genuinely over a number of years, such as the aforementioned pig paraphernalia, it can bequite comforting, which is why I guess places like Zaxby's have enough fake junk on their wall to choke a flea market. But check out the walls at Dunk's:

There's nothing on the walls! Perhaps this is a transitory state. I do admit that Dunk's looks a little different every time I go in, so maybe they're working on it as they go along.

So I sit down and order my usual from the waitress: Pork sandwich, brunswick stew, and a coke. She brings the drink while I'm fooling around with the camera phone, so I don't even take notice of it until she brings a curiously light brown liquid in a little mini pitcher, and leaves it on my table. Hmm, that looks like tea, I think to myself. At this point, I sample the cup.Sure enough, it's tea. Strike two. Soon, she brings the rest of the order. Here's what it looked like:

It tastes better than it looks, being quite vinegary, which is how most Griffin area places make it, and subsequently how I like it. The stew is actually a bit disappointing. It tastes ok, but looks like a soup with a bunch of cornbread in it. Overall, I'm going to have to give the grub a B-. It's good, but I don't expect it stand up to the offerings I will be experiencing in the near future. Like people say about the way kids are brought up today (i.e. constantly praised): "They can't all be above average".

Speaking of kids, take a look at this paper towel holder:

Now, does this belong in a family restaurant? Does it belong in any restaurant? Does it even make sense without a question mark?

So, it's with a sigh that I give Dunk's Barbecue of Griffin a grade of C-. You can do better, guys. I hope ya do. I'm pulling for ya.