Thursday, September 24, 2009

Allman's Barbecue (4/10) - 1299 Jefferson Davis Highway, Fredericksburg, VA 22401

Ole Fredericksburg.  It has been coined by some as 'Fred-Vegas' (not to be confused with Las Vegas or Nash-Vegas) as it provides all the local entertainment once can swallow in an evening.  People from all round (specifically King George County) will 45 miles out of their way to cruise the local movie theaters trolling for tail (See Justin "Uncle Fester" Stutler).    Even an old coworker, Michael Coffey, who was approximately 50 years old would regularly karaoke his face off at Shannon's inside Fredericksburg's Holiday Inn.  Without question, he'd walk into work smelling like he'd just left a coal mine (until I realized that he'd probably already taken 5 cigarette breaks by the time it reached 10am).

From initial impressions, I was really excited to try Allman's barbecue.  The place had a nice outdoor tables that wrapped around the outside of the dining room and looked like it had a lot of character and history.  The inside decor looked nothing like I anticipated however and instead more resembled the inside of a diner.

I ordered two pork sandwiches and sat at an inside table.  As appetizing as those sandwiches appear in the picture, they did not have a strong smoke flavor at all.  Although the meat was soft and tender, it tasted more like it had been steamed in water.  The coleslaw was fairly bland, and the sauce wasn't too much better either.  I looked over my shoulder and spotted 'Mom' creeping in the back kitchen.  I received permission to go in the back to have a quick chat but Mama wasn't much in the mood for chatting.  Perhaps I hit this place on a bad afternoon and the pork typically has a stronger smoked flavor, but on this afternoon the food did not live up to its reputation.

Allman's Bar-B-Q on Urbanspoon


  1. Dear Sir or Madam,

    I am sorry you had such an unfortunate experience at Allman's. As you know, there are good days at restaurants and there are days when everything doesn't quite fall into place as we'd wish it would in a perfect world. Despite your negative impression of this much esteemed establishment, Allman's BBQ is delicious! Somedays Mom doesn't feel up to snuff and the BBQ leaves a bit to be desired... But on the whole, and on most all occasions, Allman's food is awesome. Did you try the potato salad? Come back and give it another chance!!

    Also, Mom is a great lady. She's been working at Allman's for (I think?) 57 years. That's a whole lot of Allman's. She has a lot of regulars who poke their head into the kitchen to say hello, and she always greets them with a smile and a laugh. So forgive her if she wasn't too thrilled to have some random person show up in her kitchen expecting to be treated with the warmth and kindness bestowed upon seasoned Allman's regulars. Even employees get sassed for being in the way in that tiny little kitchen, so don't be surprised that you weren't showered with affection for wanting a tour.

    I hope some of this explains your less-than-perfect dining experience. I'd like to encourage everyone to go eat some Allman's because it's really a great little hole-in-the-wall! And the traffic at the strange intersection of the feeder street, Rt. 1, Powhatan St. and Augustine St. out front is always a tremendous source of entertainment while you eat!

    Oink oink,

    Allman's Lover

  2. Bar-B-Que ConnoisseurJune 3, 2010 at 6:25 PM

    I have to agree with 3rd degree Berns, I tried Allman's and will not return. I understand the place may be a Fredericksburg institution but Bar-B-Que is Bar-B-Que, and what I got was not Bar-B-Que. The meat was moist and tender, but had absolutely no smoke flavor, now in all fairness I will give it another shot even though Berns and I did not eat there on the same day, and if everyday is a bad day well...
    I don't mean to slam you so hard, I know first hand how hard the restaurant business can be, but I also know that you just can't call anything with sauce on it Bar-B-Que.


  4. Allman's Bar-B-Que was my first job, working behind the counter serving up minced and sliced sandwiches. There was no pototo salad in those days, 1976-79, but the best "slaw" and pork sandwiches around. We used to dip the fries in the delicious bar-b-que sauce! Mary Brown aka "mama" made the best cheeseburgers and grilled cheese around. I find it hard to believe that she was not in a chatting mood. She is the most wonderful lady, and she knows her food and recipes. No one was ever allowed, not even me to see the "secret" recipes fot the sauces! Mr. White, the original owner would be so sad to here these reviews. I moved away from the area for over 30 years, and came back 3 years ago for a visit and stopped by Allman's. "mama" was there, much to my surprise, I had not seen her since I was 16. The pork was delish and I went back into the kitchen and spent quite a bit of time sharing memories. I don't know who owns it now, but the pork tasted the same to me and it was amazing. the only difference was the taste of the cheeseburger and I would have to assume that beef tastes different now than it did 35 years ago. I'll be going back in June and will again stop there and enjoy a delish sliced pork "plate" and expect to find the great taste of Allman's Bar-B-Que and hope to see Mary, as I know her, "mama" and give her a a big hug and kiss.

  5. You've barely tapped virginia... check out "blue ridge pig" in nellysford, va by the wintergreen ski resort. VERY original sauce(mustardy, but orange, and I swear there is at least some kind of meat product in it), and Strawberry's giant brick smokehouse pumps out some tasty(in high to low order) ribs, pulled pork, turkey, brisket, and chicken. The dill sauce on the potato salad and turkey croissant is also amazing. as is the fresh squeezed limeade.

    Charlottesville's jink's pit's top bbq is also great (on some days) but don't be surprised to get your fries in a popeye's sleeve;-)

    Belmont BBQ(alsoin cville) is ok, but you have to try their slop bucket: brisket, pork, cheesy potatos, beans AND slaw all thrown into a large styrofoam cup... mmmmm

    Cville's new "butt's bbq" has the best chopped brisket I'd eaten in a while, and their house-made pastrami is the heat... pulled pork and nice variety of sauces are great too.

    Tell Mr. Richard Young to bring you to cville one weekend, and we'll do a mini tour!

    Sweet blog btw! jealous of your bach party. looks fairly amazing!

  6. I-Dawg - RTY is only interested in taking me up north to explore the ways of Hagerstown. Next time I'm in the area, I'll definitely take you up on this proposed adventure. Also, pass along any tips that you uncover as you try to master the craft of making sausage. That is something that I could definitely get excited about. I need to get a grinder ASAP.

  7. I had my first taste of Allman's yesterday (I'm pretty new to Fredericksburg), when a friend brought pork and and sauce to a lunch potluck. I can't wait to actually go to the restaurant and have a whole meal! I thought the pulled pork and the sauce were great!!!


Ratings and Reviews

In order to provide a consistent grading standard across each restaurant/region, I order a barbecue pork sandwich (and other meats/sides if a restaurant/region specializes in another specialty). In addition to comparing the quality of food, I will also take into consideration other intangibles (ambiance, atmosphere, service, authenticity, etc.) in my ratings as I deem appropriate.

Basically, a 10/10 represents an incredible meal, while a 6/10 score indicates a decent dining experience but a substantial number of dishes fell short of great. Lower scores indicate unpleasant experiences which I would most likely not even recommend to my worst enemy (Jonas Singer).

I reserve the right to continuously edit/update previous posts and to change rating scores as I see fit.