We were greeted shortly, as a hostess in sparkly pocketed jeans wandered out from a side section and gathered menus before seating us. The table was nice, actually roomy enough for two people to sit next to each other without smashing shoulders or elbows, and solid enough I think it could even stand up to our family!
We looked around for a moment, taking in the decor. The wood paneled walls and the old metal signage on the walls, it was rustic, but not an overwhelming hodge podge. The restrooms were at the rear of the dining room as they often are in restaurants, but they didn't require passage through the bar, which is a really high point when you're trying for family dining. They were clearly marked without any kitschy gender names that are difficult for small ones to identify, and the restrooms (well the women's at least) were clean and well appointed, with several stalls, two sinks, and enough space to pass by others who might be waiting. It was painted in soft golden yellow, with regal Native American Princesses gazing down from their paintings hung on the walls.
A young man came by, introducing himself as our waiter, and explaining that he was in training, and we would in fact have two servers, so that he would be able to practice and learn. They brought Paul's soda and my water, and let us peruse the menu for a few minutes. When Paul asked them for suggestions, he wasn't quite sure what to recommend since he'd only been there a short time, but she stepped right up with her suggestions, which included her favorite, the mac n cheese, and the "amazing" ribs.
We decided to order a variety of things, and started with Dave's Sampler Platter. This huge platter came with Southside Rib Tips, Fried Chicken Strips, Center-Cut Cod Strips, Onion Strings, and Traditional Wings tossed with Dave's Pineapple Rage sauce... Sweet and tangy but with a kick of spice - "booby-trapped with habanero peppers" as their website states. While we were waiting for the appetizer, our waiter brought out a dish of barbeque chips and sat down to explain the sauces. He was knowledgeable about the flavor of each sauce and had suggestions of what you might try them with.
The original "Rich and Sassy" barbeque sauce is their original sauce, and is bold, tangy and rich, with just a touch of sweet. I didn't care as much for the "Texas Pit", which didn't have quite as much tang, but the "Sweet and Zesty" (which was recommended for kids and those who wanted a milder flavor) was absolutely amazing. I loved the sweet, vinegary tang of the "Georgia Mustard", and smiled a little at the full flavor and spicy kick of "Devil's Spit". If you a lot of heat, then you will enjoy "Wilbur's Revenge",which will sear your taste buds into submission, but packs great flavor along with that fire.
Soon the manager himself delivered a huge silver tray filled with all kinds of delicious goodies. There was a variety of sauces in the center for dipping, which we identified as "Rich and Sassy", "Georgia Mustard", tartar sauce, and ranch. Their ranch is thick and creamy, tasty and perfect for dipping. We dug right in, quickly discovering our favorite combinations as we sampled, dipped, combined, and tasted again. The rib tips were yummy, the onion strings were decadent and delicious, and the fried chicken strips were crispy on the outside with perfect white meat in the center, not too dry, and not greasy at all. The wings were good, but I quickly decided as much as I liked the sweet of the pineapple, I wish I would have made a milder choice. I quickly fell in love with the beer-battered fish, and determined that it will absolutely be one of my entree choices for our next visit.
Soon after we nudged the still half-full platter to the side, our supper plates appeared, again borne by the restaurant manager. He asked how we were doing and if we needed anything, and we let him know that we were doing fine, and were enjoying our meal so far. Our servers also checked on us several times throughout the meal, and we thought the service was absolutely wonderful.
Paul had ordered "The Big Slab", which is a full rack of St. Louis Style Ribs, served with a cornbread muffin, and two sides. He chose the delicious famous fries, as well as the mac n' cheese, which was definitely not a huge hit with us. The ribs, however, were simply divine. They were so tender that the meat just fell off the bone into our mouths, and the flavor was just beautiful. My husband, who does not like cornbread, savored a few bites of his muffin, then tucked the rest away for breakfast the next morning, but he would not part with any of it!
I chose a Two-Meat Combo, which I filled in with Georgia Chopped Pork, and after a small debate, Texas Beef Brisket. I filled in my choice of sides with Wilbur Beans (baked beans with smoked pork, brisket, hot link sausage and jalepenos), and their Creamy Coleslaw, which was zesty sweet with a small horseradish kick, and of course a fabulous cornbread muffin! My meat choices were served on Texas Toast, which unfortunately was a little soggy by the time it arrived. I tasted the bread, which was buttery and good, then tucked it aside to concentrate on the other flavors.
The Georgia Chopped Pork was phenomenal. This is my hands down favorite menu item from this restaurant, and can run with some of my all-time favorites. It was tender and fragrant, and had absolutely fantastic flavor. I would and will order this again and again. The muffin was moist and wonderful, not hard and dry, but melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I enjoyed the tang of the Creamy Coleslaw, and I will absolutely order it every time I visit. Unfortunately, the Texas Beef Brisket was completely unimpressive, and actually rather bland. I will definitely not repeat that menu choice.
Overall, we really enjoyed our first visit to Famous Dave's, and are excited to take our whole family soon. We were able to eat our fill, and still take home three takeout boxes of leftovers to share with the kids this morning. The food was fantastic and the service was wonderful. The restaurant has a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, and the music was great. I felt like I was sitting in a barbeque joint on Beale Street in Memphis, listening to the legends sing the blues. I highly recommend a visit to Famous Dave's in Casper, Wyoming.
*I did have a little trouble with their website, notably realizing that once you've chosen a location you can't go back to their main site unless you use another browser, so if you're checking out the details online, be aware of this challenge.
Casper, WY 82609