Originally posted by rbpalmer
Red, Hot and Blue got its start as a single restaurant in Northern Virginia, and I think that its story is typical of many chains. It was started by some staffers of a Tennessee congressman or senator (I don't recall who) who missed the barbeque from their home state. They modeled their restaurant on Corky's, a Tennessee-based chain. When they opened (15-20 years ago, if memory serves me correctly), their food was excellent and their barbeque was, I believe, the best in the D.C. area. In an attempt to duplicate that initial success, they open several other outlets in the D.C. area. The food was still good, but as they continued to expand to other areas of the country, the quality of their food, in my opinion, declined significantly. I think that what happened is that, as the people whose vision the restaurant initially was got farther and farther away from its day-today operations and more into running a restaurant empire, the quality of the food suffered. Therefore, the very thing that made them outstanding was lost in the process of expansion. A pity.
Thanks, rb, for sharing a bit of history on the RH&B chain. I had no idea about its origins.
Doing bbq research a week or so ago, I noticed Red, White, and Blue had 4 locations still open in North Carolina, 3 of which are in the Ralaigh, Durham, Chapel Hill area. That surprised me.
Corky's opened a location here almost 3 years ago. To date I've eaten at the one in Knoxville twice and the one here once. I didn't like either of them, and felt my ribs came either from a steam table or were heated up. Corky's got a failing grade from me and the people I've been with on all 3 occasions. I really did expect better, which is why I tried them again, and then again. I think the Knoxville store is better than the Lexington one, if that means anything.
Interestingly, Jane and Michael reviewed the Corky's franchise in the Nashville suburb of Brentwood, here on the Web site and gave it a good report. I'd like to know how the Brentwood "hickory cooked" que got its flavor as I've not seen any woodpiles around Corky's I've visited.
I like a variety of bbq sauces, but not Corky's. As bbq sauces are a very individualized matter of taste, what I think of a sauce does not count.