It started as a quest to visit all the 60+ BBQ places in the counties of Madison, Limestone, Morgan, and Lawrence in Northern Alabama (that is the Hunstville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area).
Then I got sent back to Germany and there was no BBQ. But eventually I got assigned to a new job which takes me on business trips in the USA occasionally. So I reopened the blog – just deleted the “North Alabama” from the title.
Friday, March 15, 2013
Lawlers Barbeque Express #6
Quest Log No 49 – Lawler’s Barbecue Express #6 (Madison Hospital) Madison, Madison County
Now there are six. They are growing
like mushrooms. They surround us, they following the urban development in this
county. Are they evil, do they strive for world domination through BBQ?
Nope, they just use a clever
business idea and establish new restaurants of their chain where there is a gap
in the BBQ coverage.
This newest Lawler’s is right next
to the also brand new Madison Hospital, on Hwy 72 just at the west side of Madison. What a clever
move – not only will they get a steady customer base from the Hospital workers,
and the surrounding shops and the yet to be built hotel, but also from people
who come to visit patients there have now a place to eat BBQ. That location is
practically a license to print money. If the product is good …
The exterior of this newest
addition to the Lawler’s empire is nothing special – it is located on a corner
of a small block of shops and the style of that little mall is of the
contemporary functional variety. You can spot those mini-malls in the same
style dozens of times when you drive through the Huntsville-Madison area.
The inside is kept in the Lawler’s
corporate style – wooden furniture, with some fishing memorabilia decorating
the walls. The dining room is separated by a small wood-structure from the
counter where you order and receive your meal. It has about half a dozen
two-person tables at two of the outer walls, and a few more four person tables
in the middle. The whole layout is very cozy and homely for such a small place –
except for the ubiquitous flat screen TV above the dining room separator. Needless
to say that the place is spot clean and the service is very friendly and
After already visiting the other five
Lawler’s Express Barbecue restaurants, the menu has no surprises for me
anymore. I chose the ribs this time, with the BBQ beans and the potato salad as
Well, what can I say? Everything
tasted like at the other Lawler’s. The ribs were juicy and tender, with a bit
too much fat around the ends for my taste. But the taste itself – very good. The
beans and the potato salad were as good as always, without bringing me to any enthusiastic
public declarations. No wonder, because Lawler’s has the meat and the sides
prepared elsewhere in Tennessee each day and
drives them down to their places here in the Tennessee Valley,
which are strictly distribution centers. Well, the place in Athens on Hwy 72 seems to smoke their own
chickens, but that is the big exception to the rule.
But quite frankly, I do not care,
as long as they keep the quality as high and the taste as good as it is now. I
rather have good BBQ that is smoked elsewhere, than bad BBQ prepared at the
spot. And that actually let’s me look forward to number seven, wherever that
may pop up eventually.