I have never done this before, but I think it is necessary that I post a consumer advisory before I write this blog post. Yes, the type that one would find at the bottom of a menu warning diners about undercooked beef and shellfish. This is similar.
CONSUMER ADVISORY: This restaurant may not serve the type of food you were looking to consume. The name of the restaurant does not match its cuisine.
If you take the time to drive on a highway other than a Interstate Highway you will find barbecue huts. Well, one would at least hope to find a barbecue hut. Especially if it is lunch time. Highway 301 is a normal, old, four-lane highway that evidently used to be "the road". It is an odd road accompanied by railroad tracts and abandoned motels. Plenty of farms, fruit stands, old souvenir shacks, mobile homes, and businesses can be seen while driving this American thoroughfare. I must also add that a high percentage of the businesses along this route are using a building that was originally designed for some other purpose. It is an odd collection of re-purposed buildings. Go ahead and think of any type of business; there is a good chance of that type of business occupying an old gas station on route 301.
Driving through Waldo Florida (no, not that Waldo... Well, it possibly could be, but I could not find him) I spotted what I thought was a barbecue hut. Little did I know how wrong I was. As I pulled in, I gazed in awe at an enormous trailer with a clever mural on the side. Two giant home-made smokers that were inside said trailer were gently wisping out white smoke. I was encouraged. Upon seeing the commercial portable smoker at the back of the shack I was even more encouraged. I should have savored that moment longer.
After waiting at the counter, clearing my throat, calling out "hello", and watching two employees walk in and out from the back, I was finally greeted. During this wait I was able to watch a Golden Corral advertisement about a chocolate fountain, which made my mind go to another place... maybe we can visit that place together at another time... When the normal programming came back on, the show was about forensics. There was a "dead body farm" that the investigators were being walked through. Have you ever heard of such a thing? Click here to check that out. I got to view several bodies in different phases of decomposition. That was very interesting right before lunch.
Besides watching TV while waiting, I had enough time to review the menu. I did so in amazement. Randy's Rib Shack has ribs on this colossal menu twice. They have a rib dinner and a rib dinner for two. That is it. [insert a significant pause for full effect] However, for a rib shack they have a titanic amount of seafood on the menu. They have Shrimp; Tilapia; Salmon; Oysters; Snow Crab Legs; Grouper; Frog Legs; New Zealand Green Lip Mussles; Scallops; Catfish; Pollock; Mahi Mahi; Clam Strips; Jumbo Shrimp; Crawfish; and Gator Tail. The Swordfish decorative tin above the door should have tipped me off. But wait, they did not have Swordfish.
Randy's menu is a train wreck. On top of this Mount Pisgah of seafood there is 15 appetizers,18 sandwiches, and 20 dinners. Also, smack-dab in the middle of this menu is the statement "WINGS, OUR BEST SELLER". My head is still swimming.
I was lucky to have so much time to peruse the menu. Maybe this is why they did not bother to greet me immediately. I ordered a chopped barbecue sandwich with Cole slaw and potato salad. The order-taker asked me which of four sauces I wanted to go with my meal. I picked the spicy mustard. They had spicy mustard, regular mustard, spicy tomato and regular tomato sauces. The sauce tasting ended up being the highlight of my meal.
I had a choice of Texas Toast or a bun for the sandwich. I asked the attendant which one she recommended. Her suggestion of the bun sounded genuine so I went with it. The bun looked great but it was just too much for the sandwich. The bun overtook the unimpressive five ounces of meagerly-smoked chopped pork.
The Cole slaw was straight off the truck. It was more like a Cole slaw soup. The potato salad was edible, but I suspect it too came pre-made and was delivered on the same truck. I was disappointed.
So let me sort this rib shack out. It is not a rib shack. It is not a barbecue joint. It looks like one, but it is not. A rib shack would have rib baskets, half slabs of ribs, full slabs of ribs, rib tips, pork ribs, beef ribs, rib salad, rib stew, rib sandwiches, rib wraps, rib beans, steak and ribs, chicken and ribs, and maybe even a rib Quesadilla. A barbecue joint does not need twenty types of frozen fish. It does not need to have 15 appetizers nor 18 random sandwiches. It just requires great barbecue. What I truly do not comprehend is why a quaint shack would not make their own sides. Randy's has an opportunity to be unique, but instead they choose to be the same. Trying to please everyone out of a shack is... well... idiotic. Oh, and rib shacks do not have Pastrami sandwiches according to gf.
The attendant mentioned that they had been there for five months. She also offered up that they were slow because they were in a bad location. She could not have been any farther from the truth about why they were slow. This is a perfect place for a barbecue shack. It was by the railroad tracks and almost under an overpass. What more could one ask for? More signs, that is what one could ask for. I recommend posting little signs along the road every so often upon approaching the shack... just like the old Burma Shave signs...that would do the trick. Click here if you do not know what Burma Shave is.
Not So Fast
Barbecue is Here
Lunch At last!!!
Randy's Rib Shack
One could also ask for an attentive staff. If an attentive staff is too much to ask for then maybe a bell at the counter like at Empty Arms Hotel. I always got a chuckle when Roy Clark would jump up from behind the Empty Arms Hotel counter. If you were born after 1990 go buy the box set of Hee Haw. The show was fashioned after Rowen and Martin's Laugh-In. ...Nothing? Right.
It was a slap-stick comedy show during the 60's and 70's. Google it when you run out of other things to Google.
On a positive note the murals on the walls in the "dining area" were pretty cool
as were the Cypress counter tops.
Randy's Rib Shack needs to figure out what they are going to be. What they are is very curious, very bland, and very slow.
86 the TV.
Thanks for reading,