Up to now, the reviews have been pretty straightforward. We either liked a place, disliked it, or were ambivalent about it. I feel this review is gonna be different. I went into this one kinda excited, because I had went to this particular place two or three times before, and it was growing on me. I wanted to be able to right a positive review. But I tell you, Internet, it's a little harder than I thought.
The place in question is O.B.'s Barbeque at 499 Veteran's Memorial Highway in Mableton. It's a recent new addition to the barbeque places available to Grant and I around our workplace. We discovered on our first visit that the location was once an Old Hickory House, a long gone but fondly remembered barbeque chain from my youth. (Old Hickory House trivia: The scene where The Bandit and Sheriff Buford T. Justice meet at the Bus Stop restaurant counter in Smokey and the Bandit was shot in a Old Hickory House in Jonesboro, Ga., the very same one that I grew up going to.)
I'll be the first to admit that I'm not overly fond of barbeque chains these days, but the staff at this particular O.B.'s (if not a chain, at least a franchise) has a certain charm to them that goes a long way at dispelling any chain feel to the place. They do this by being very friendly, very casual, and honestly, kinda slow. Not speed slow, but, umm, brain slow. For example, I once heard one of the wait staff ask another, loudly:
"Hey, what's 12 minus 7?"
Another one has a entertainingly narcoleptic way of serving you. She kinda drifts over to your table and engages you in a style of conversation that most closely resembles the term "bedhead", if that makes any sense.
I know these statements sound derogatory, but they're not really. I find these things harmlessly entertaining, and they give me the opportunity to use that most southern of sayings: "Bless her heart!"
For entertainment value alone, the wait staff gets an A. (They do actually work rather well, I've never had a real complaint about the actual service here)
Let's move on to the food, shall we? To be honest, they do a lot of things that I don't like, but somehow seem right, for this place anyway. I'm on record as saying that I don't like it when a place doesn't make a commitment by not putting sauce on their barbeque. This place is one of those places. However, I like all three of their sauces that they provide on the table: mild, sweet, and hot. Therefore it doesn't bother me that you're obliged to put the sauce on yourself. But I'll tell you what I don't like is the large chunks of pork that make up their sandwich, and the lack of pickles on said sandwich. I've found I prefer the barbeque plate here, which is yet another contradiction to all I hold dear in barbeque. But seriously, go for the plate.
Casting our attention to their Brunswick stew, it started out pleasant enough, if a touch rich. However, as I got closer to finishing it, it lost a bit of it's character, becoming almost like stew from a can. This may have been because I ordered a mammoth 12 ounce serving. 12 ounces doesn't sound like too much when I ordered it. Oh well.
I'd also like to mention they something called "Frickles", which I assume is some sort of fried pickle. I'll have to try that next time.
So in review, I'm gonna have to give the food a C+, but I feel with a couple of tweaks, possibly on my part, it could easily rise to B- or a solid B.
So what do we have here? The exception that proves the rule? It's hard for me to say. I can say that I do like the place, and will return. And I guess that's what it's all about, isn't it?
p.s. I'd like to give a honorable mention to this here painting located above the booths in the back of O.B's. Like the restaurant itself, I find it contradictory, yet pleasing in it's own way. It features a deer couple serenely observing a flock of ducks from the lakeside. Relaxing, huh?