Thanks to the creation of Famous Dave’s, restaurants specializing in barbecue have become less of a unique destination and more of a typical American eatery, where diners are just happy to order a regular old rack of ribs. That BBQ Joint is no exception.
From the University of Wisconsin campus, it is about a 10 minute drive. But the parking is limited and makes for a stressful few minutes of wishing you would have just walked instead.
Sadly, if diners are looking to unravel their scarves and cozy up next to warm barbecue, That BBQ Joint isn’t the warmest (literally) or most inviting spot. At any rate, customers will have a splendid sight of irrelevant and unnecessary maps of the world all over the walls, and not much else.
An industrial side room offers about 25 extra seats to diners, but it may make them feel far away from the appealing entry room where they order food before sitting down. This room, while open and full of windows, is chilly enough that customer’s coats might need to stay on while eating.
When it came to the bonafide service and food quality, however, That BBQ Joint does, somewhat, know what they’re doing.
The three meals sampled got started with creamy slaw and pasta salad.
The pasta salad was acceptable. The raw onion was a bit too biting, but take that out and the full result is very much a passable dish. Had it been made lovingly by someone’s mother, it would have made a decent light lunch.
More on the successful side were the pulled pork tacos, which arrived with several taco shells wrapped in aluminum foil, a container of salsa, onion slices and parsley with a heap of pulled pork on the side. While there were a variety of barbecue sauces to select from to top off the pulled pork, it still tasted a bit dry. It was not the best pulled pork sandwich known to mankind, but it was not exactly disappointing.
The rib basket consisted of three bones of meat (with unexpected bits of cartilage here and there), with two sides of one’s choosing and a dinner roll: ordinary but enjoyable.
The factory-like feel of the establishment is an interesting touch. The oddly decorated concrete walls seem to point to an attempt of hipster-ness that just screams “try hard.” Nonetheless, That BBQ Joint is admirable for its overall character which is for the most part positive, poised and simple.
Hopefully, along the way, That BBQ Joint will redecorate the walls and open up the main entrance for more space to dine. Because who wants to wear their coats in a chilly side room?
In spite of all this, That BBQ Joint was one of the more reasonable restaurants that is in the Madison area.