Monday, December 29, 2014
Restaurant Review: Mission BBQ
Mission BBQ that recently popped up in Laurel, MD. I'd never heard of the chain before, but I enjoy visiting Hill Country and Shane's Rib Shack every once in a while, so I figured this was a okay lunch spot.
At first I wasn't sure what type of "mission" they were talking about; my first instinct was a religious mission to convert indigenous peoples to Christianity. But once you walk in, it's pretty obvious: the restaurant is an homage to those who serve to protect us, either in our military or our local communities as firefighters and police officers. There are photographs of those in uniform all around the restaurant; sport jerseys from the Navy and Army football teams line one wall, local police patches are sprinkled along the half walls around the room, and on the back of their menu, the "Our Story" piece tells us that Mission BBQ is all about giving back to those who have served to protect America, and "there is nothing more American than BBQ."
I ordered at the counter, filled my cup up with sweet ice tea (my favorite!), and waited maybe three minutes before my food was already waiting at the counter. The large room had plenty of seats: booths, regular tables, high tops, whatever your fancy may be. I also noticed that at each table there were six types of homemade BBQ sauce, along with North Carolina vinegar. So I tried all of them with my (somewhat dry) pulled pork sandwich (they also serve "NC pulled pork," which just means the sandwich has "cold slaw" on it.). Here's my take on each sauce:
Kansas City Classic: This tastes like Sriracha sauce, so if you like spicy, go for it!
Tupelo Honey Heat: This is the next spiciest, and is more like a regular hot sauce than a BBQ sauce.
Smokey Mountain (West Virginia): This is the most like a classic BBQ sauce, with that smoky flavor and thick, viscous texture.
Bay-B-Que: Although I'm from Maryland, there just wasn't enough of an Old Bay kick in there to satisfy me.
Memphis Belle: This one has a blackberry or boysenberry flavor at first, then is quite mild.
Texas Twang: I thought this was similar to the Memphis one, but more citrus than berry-like.
My favorite: Mixing the Memphis and Texas two together. The tinges of fruit flavors complimented each other quite nicely!
I had the mac 'n' cheese and green beans with bacon as my two sides. The mac 'n' cheese was delicious, and I only ordered the green beans because they were the only vegetable on the menu of sides (coleslaw doesn't count). I do see on the take-out menu that you can order a salad (full size or a side salad), so either I didn't take note of this on the menu at the restaurant, or it's not available in house. Other sides included cream of corn, baked beans, and the seasonal pecan pie casserole.
My only complaints are these:
1. I would have liked to see more veggies on the menu. How about some collard greens, creamed spinach, or a side of succotash?
2. If you want to have a patriotic, all-American restaurant, you need a dessert menu. So some apple pie, a brownie sundae, and milkshakes would be proper additions to the menu.
Other than those few things, I think this is a great lunch spot. The food is tasty, the ambiance is feel-good, and most importantly of all, the service was phenomenal. Someone from the staff opened the door for us when we were first coming in, the staff was patient while we ordered, and when I eyed someone else's plate with cornbread and asked how I could get some next time, they immediately gave me some cornbread and even asked if I wanted butter with it. THAT is great service. Everyone working there is so nice and polite; you can't help but leave with a smile. So 3.5 stars out of 5. I will be back!