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 customer-oriented.

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 sides.
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.

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