Larry Olmstead has spoken in an article on barbecue in USA Today.
Direct quote: "after sampling the most famous of the many Texas joints, including Kreuz, Smitty's, City Market, and even the new and trendy Franklin's, I think The Salt Lick is the best."
It gets better when he remarks that complaining about Salt Lick's popularity is like complaining that Disney World is too fun.
I wonder if this off handed remark was intended to be as hard hitting as it sounds?
To be fair, I've eaten at Salt Lick many times and have had acceptable barbecue there. They do a good job with their sides and freshly baked breads but that's just to fill up your bellies so you can't do as much damage on their family style "all you can eat meat" plan.
Olmstead however is way off mark when he gets so heated up he hysterically proclaims "this is awesome, world-class barbecue."
No Mr. Olmstead, it's not.
Salt Lick owner Scott Roberts has a number of great gimmicks that have all coalesced into huge success. Here's hoping he doesn't throw his back out at night when he's trundling those duffel bags of cash out to his car.
Being byob for the last 40 or so years was an absolute master stroke. We've seen people wheeling in trash can bound kegs on dollies with 50 people in tow, all getting family style at $20 a pop.
Having the servers ask "care for another round of meat?"
I still get a little teary eyed over that line.
Having that circular stone pit at the entrance filled with enough meat for 15 minutes of a busy service. How many people actually think that is THE pit for the restaurant? A lot.
For a barbecue house that seats almost a thousand people, has a bocce court [ something tells me Louie Mueller and Fred Fontaine didn't spend a lot of afternoons up in Taylor Texas playing bocce ] and a winery, Salt Lick puts out ok barbecue.
Is it world class? Not by a long shot?
Is it Central Texas class? Not by a long shot.
We'd rather go to our normal spots like Davis Grocery in Taylor, Davila's in Seguin and R & G in McMahan.
Places you probably won't be reading features on in USA Today anytime soon.
18300 FM 1826
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