Not Too Far Away

This preciously-named website has a survey of the single best BBQ restaurants by state.  I’m not that up on BBQ — for the record, I prefer the spicier Memphis type, rather than the sweet Texas manifestation, but when ya live in Texas… according to the folks at Delish, it seems that the place to go is Stanley’s, in Tyler.

Maybe so, but Tyler is over a hundred miles away from Plano, and even for Texas — where distance is measured in six-packs — that’s an awful long way to travel just for smoked meat.  (It also means that because of MADD [spit]  one can’t have a few beers with the BBQ, which I think contravenes some state law.)

Anyway, it’s not like we don’t have any decent places within a couple zip codes of here (also a short trip, by Texas standards).  Most notable among these are Hard Eight (TWO locations nearby!!), Sonny Bryan’s, Winners and Lockhart (both in Old Town Plano).

But (and my non-Texas Readers will forgive the parochialism) I wrote this post to bring to my Local Readers’ attention a place called Delta Blues (just off Windhaven and the Dallas North Tollway), which is the latest offering from the famous Pappas Brothers company (Pappadeaux, Pappacitos, Pappas Steak House etc.) and which replaced the old Bone Daddy’s establishment at that address.

I went there last Tuesday with the Son&Heir for our sorta-monthly meet-up (when we don’t go to the DFW Range, that is), and good grief:  it is, in a word, wondrous.  I didn’t try anything other than the pork (pork-belly starter and a pulled pork sandwich) because PORK, and let me tell y’all:  best pork I have ever — ever — eaten.  And I’ve eaten a LOT of pork, all over the world.

What Delta Blues has done has created a BBQ place that, contra  the usual BBQ ethos of the down-home, slightly scruffy joint, is about as close to fine dining as BBQ will ever get.  It is admittedly quite expensive — at about the same level as Hard Eight — but the food is much, much  better than average, and it’s served by waiters, not self-serve or cafeteria style like many such places.

It’s so good that I’m going to take New Wife there on Sunday for Sticky Pork Belly Bites and a side of giant fries.

(Honestly, my mouth is watering as I write this.)

The only caveat is that like British pubs, Delta Blues has somewhat eccentric dining hours:  11am – 2.30pm and 5pm – 10pm during the week — and it’s CLOSED on Mondays;  but they’re open 11am – 11pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Don’t care about any of that:  there’s a new kid in town, and it’s got my number.

Sorry, Tyler;  Stanley’s will have to wait until my next road trip out to East Texas.

By the way:  for Memphis BBQ we have Red Hot & Blue, also in Plano.  Are we spoiled, or what?


  1. I live outside of Houston, but just spent the past two days in Cincinnati for business. We ate at two different places, one really upscale and one more casual. And holy cow!! They were both quiet. Each place was packed, but you could actually hold a normal conversation at the table without having to shout. I don’t know anyplace local that can match that, except maybe Perry’s. What an incredible improvement to the dining experience.

    If you’re in that area, try the Montgomery Inn, get the ribs.

    1. Too true. Went to a new, much lauded, burger place last week (Hat Creek). Standing in front of the register to order, we found the acoustics in the place were so bad that we, literally, could not hear the staff person and she could not hear us, without shouting. Much “what, what did you say”, just to place an order. The seating area was just as bad. These cheaply constructed, open ceiling places are the culprit, but they do seem to be everywhere.
      In my dotage, I have come to prefer the Houston “order at the register and we’ll bring your food to you” approach, except for special occasions. Eliminating wait-person interactions and, especially waiting for wait-persons, is much preferred. I’ll operate on my timetable, thank you, not yours.
      As to barbecue, it may be sacrilegious in Texas to say so, but brisket is boring. Pork is, indeed, king.

      1. Careful with that dissing the brisket stuff. Our state laws are notorious in that regard.

    2. “They were both quiet.”

      Meanwhile, here in Dallas, I’ve been hearing a ton of commercials lately for some gastropub that brags about how loud they are.

    3. The Montgomery Inn has two locations. There’s the main restaurant in Montgomery and the Boat House down on the Ohio River looking over at Newport, KY. Yes, their ribs are legendary.

      They bottle their sauce for sale, too. Bob Hope liked it so much he had it shipped to wherever he was staying/performing.

  2. Not sure how it compares, but have you tried Kansas City BBQ? I once worked w/ a guy from KC and his BBQ was to die for.

    If you’re born in KC and you can’t make BBQ, I think they run you out of town.

    1. Sister lives in KC, she took us to Arthur Bryant’s one time. I was not impressed. The pics of Slick Willy Clinton on the wall didn’t help.

      1. Yeah, that would pretty much ruin my appetite.

        Completely OT — when I was working at EUCOM (Stuttgart) in 2000, they had pics of the entire chain of command on the wall above the entrance in the main hall of our building. Only CinC was blank, with a piece of paper saying “Photo not available”. Cracked me up every time I noticed it.

        I wonder what they did for 0bummer.

  3. Had an extended lay over at the Memphis airport a few years back. One of the local BBQ places (forget which) had a place at the airport. Same menu and apparently same quality as the downtown place.

    BEST food I’ve ever had at an airport (low bar I know) and much, much better than many so-called BBQ places I’ve visited over the years.

    As for the KC, Texas or Memphis BBQ question, embrace the power of AND. So long as it’s proper BBQ (not just regularly cooked meat drowned in “BBQ” sauce I’ve endured and far too many places) I’m good.

  4. Kim, the next time you come to Tyler you should know that Lock & Load indoor shooting range is no longer in business (it was always structured as a tax write-off for a local MD and when he retired from practice he no longer needed it, and the building owner didn’t want to renew the lease, so that was that as they say), and the good people at Stanley’s know all about that reputation they’ve worked so hard to acquire and charge accordingly – be sure to stop by an ATM and transfer the contents from it to your pockets before placing your order. It’s local heresy, but Rudy’s BBQ on the west side of Loop 323 is excellent eating, has much more accessible parking, places a greater focus on cleanliness over “atmosphere”, and won’t require nearly so much ATM contents either.

    Hope to see you again on your next visit (there’s a perfectly functional outdoor rifle/pistol range on the west side of town too :)).

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