By: Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
“Make sure to tell your friends about us,” said the blue-and-white Facebook sign above one of the tables at Wyoming’s Dallas Deli. Have no fear Dallas Deli, I shall take to the modern-day form of shouting it from the rooftops, a.k.a. Facebook.
Yes, our traveling troupe, Mike and joining us, Victoria, moseyed on over to 3660 Byron Center Ave. SW, home of Dallas Deli and Lions Mane barbershop (separate owners). I learned a long time ago that some of the most amazing food places are small. In fact, a friend had warned me that the seating space at Dallas Deli consisted of three tables — one that sat about six and two that sat two. Even with the warning, I was surprised how small the space was. According to owner Sam Barnes, the place started as an ice cream parlor then was a pizza parlor, before Frank and Mary Weikert opened Dallas Deli some 30 years ago. Sam and his wife Kim took over the place – along with Weikert’s original Texas-style barbecue recipes – in 2003.
What Dallas Deli lacks in space it certainly makes up for in food — at least my chili packed a wallop of flavor being voted best meal selection by our little group and leaving Victoria and I planning chili runs in the winter. I had the World Class Chili which was topped with the restaurant’s signature brisket, cheese and onion. With the right mixture of heat and sweet, it was perfect even for our blistery hot summer day visit. (By the way, the air conditioning was not on while we were there but the place stayed pretty cool with the door open and a breeze moving through the building.)
After the first bite, I really did not want to share but Mike and Victoria were being generous with their selections, so I did…a little. I did order the medium-size portion to share, but could have easily eaten it without any help.
This little Wyoming gem is garnering quite the reputation. Most recently, Dallas Deli was part of the Grand Rapids’ Barley, BBQ & Beats and named one of the top 12 Hole In the Wall Restaurants in Michigan by onlyinyourstate.com. “After that we had about 500 people come in in about a week. It just about killed us,” Sam said with a laugh. So let’s keep the stampede to perhaps a trot.
But do come because even if you can’t find a seat, take-out — along with catering — is a big part of the Dallas Deli’s business and quite honestly, I can not think of better way to saddle up and go then with a half rack of ribs. Oh heck, we’re make that full. Yippee-ki-yay!
By: Mike DeWitt
When Dallas Deli was drawn out of the hat earlier this week for our Going Local location, I almost fainted. I love meat, I love BBQ, and I love it smoked. This is my job? Seriously!? In the words of the great Belinda Carlisle, “Ooh heaven is a place on earth!”
Joanne already covered the decor and atmosphere above, so let’s dive right into the only thing that matters… the food!
Taking a glance at the menu feels like trip through the meat market with Oprah as your tour guide… “You get a brisket, and YOU get some pulled pork, and YOU get some ribs!” How on earth am I supposed to fit it all on one plate?
Two words, Combo Dinner.
The Combo Dinner comes with two different meats, two sides, and a choice of bread. The two meats can then be enjoyed with one of three BBQ sauces available at each table, Dallas Deli Mild Sauce, Sweet and Tangy, and Hot & Spice. All three have their own distinct taste and are worth a try. My meal consisted of rib tips, sausage, collard greens, baked beans and corn bread. Talk about a full house on a plate!
The rib tips were excellent and very rich, but I’m still kicking myself for not taking the brisket as my second meat choice. Don’t get me wrong, the sausage was good, but passing up the brisket at a BBQ joint? Rookie move, DeWitt.
As for the sides, the collard greens and baked beans were excellent compliments to the overall meal. While the meat and BBQ added a rich flavor, the beans and greens kept things at even keel with a consistent texture and flavor.
Now, about that corn bread, it was warm, full of taste, and melted in your mouth. Cornbread for me is very hit or miss and Dallas Deli hit one out of the park.
Thanks to the size of the meal, I had some leftover for lunch the next day (that doesn’t happen very often) and it kept its taste upon a second serving. The corn bread tasted even better the next day, if that’s even possible.
Overall, Dallas Deli lived up to the hype. It’s well priced – only $12 for my whole meal – tastes great, and it feeds the beast. I will be making a second trip.