THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED.
I was bachelor-ing for a couple of days, with the girls at the beach, and had my appointed painting to do. In the manner that all projects begin, I made a second trip to the home improvement store. Seizing the opportunity to go someplace my family has sworn to never go again, I stopped on the way to Home Depot at Benson’s Grill / Benson’s BBQ (they seem to promote themselves as both).
It’s not that anyone has anything against Benson’s. It’s just that the building has had six or eight different restaurants in it over the last twelve to fifteen years. I don’t think I’ve eaten there in this iteration, although I vaguely remember some carry-out ribs from there a couple of years back.
When I arrived there were two young ladies working and two tables with customers (notice the lack of anyone in the picture). The waitress walked over to the table and asked what I would like for dinner.
“What’s freshest?”, I asked.
Dead silence, accompanied by a deer-in-the-headlights look.
“What’s most recently off the pit.”
More silence. “The pork, I guess.”
Wow! What a ringing endorsement.
I ordered the pork plate with mac & cheese and green beans. When it arrived, the first thing I noticed was the pickles on the edge of the plate. Man, I hate pickles.
The mac & cheese looked a lot like Kraft macaroni and cheese. And it tasted a lot like Kraft macaroni & cheese, with extra cheese thrown in to make it seem “fresher”. It wasn’t bad. It wasn’t good. It just was.
The green beans on the other hand, were likely the most tasteless things I’ve eaten in quite a while. I don’t how you can make green beans have so little taste. They seem to have something innate in their nature – a green taste. But it just wasn’t there in these. Maybe seasoning would have helped, but after a whole lot of salt the taste didn’t improve to speak of.
The pork itself was smoky and really dry. Not like dry from a dry rub, but dry as in cooked a while ago and sitting too long under a heat lamp. The pork was in dire need of sauce, which was the best part of the dinner – the sauces. There were two sauces on the table, Benson’s regular and Benson’s sweet. Somewhere between those two, is a pretty good barbecue sauce. All things considered the trip to Benson’s had been made. I went on to Home Depot to pick up a paint tray and went back and painted. And now I don’t have to stop there again (until it changes hands, and names, the next time.)
[…] you may think that the building above looks familiar – you’d be correct (check out this entry). As we drove by a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that the name had changed. Again. I had […]
You will be welcome at our house anytime. It will be an honor to serve you.
Very much enjoying your blog. Finding your comments insightful and all-too-familiar to our own experiences here in the Paulding in Douglasville areas. As to Bensons, we agree. We have been going on and off with the experience swinging from one extreme to the other. When it first (re)opened as Bensons it was really trying in terms of service and quality, particularly the meats. We actually had what we considered the very best burgers in our entire lives there on not one but two occasions. Alas, it steadily and readily went downhill. And with each consecutive visit we experienced yet another bizarre mishap with regard to everything from badly cooked meat, undercooked meat, overcooked meat, to astounding delays in delivery of our orders, mixed up orders, ignorant waitstaff, and other things you just don’t want to hear about. But the local indigenous natives rave about the place. Amusingly, for well over a year they didn’t serve waffles because the waffle machine was perpetually broken. It became a running joke for us to order waffles just to hear them tell us it still wasn’t fixed. Our last experience going for burgers about a month ago was so hideous that we walked out rather than allow them the attempt to screw things all over again. This time we’ve sworn we will never return. We were told several times that the management had changed or the cooks had changed or the staff has changed, and in fact, we just heard the same thing once again just last week. So sad to have a place at one time give us such delights only to every other time give us an experience that had us walking out shaking our heads.
There is a new Turkish place up Dallas Acworth Highway in Paulding, Bay Leaf Cafe… Been twice with very mixed impressions
I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only person with a bad experience there. I’ll have to try the Turkish place – thanks for the tip.
Well, in willoughbyandy’s defense, I had an experience of ordering 2 full rack baby back rib plates for ‘take out’ and they were very very dry, not moist! Only sauce remedied that. when I called to speak to the manager, i wasn’t met with anything resembling helpfulness so I called back another day and spoke with the manager (or owner I don’t know which) who excused my bad costly experience away with comment “they must have forgotten to steam the ribs first”… I won’t be going back again either. They can be the kindest folks around but it doesn’t excuse sale of costly but dry ribs.
It has not had several names only Rodney’s and Benson’s so you are wrong there and the mac and cheese is made from scratch and it is owned by very caring people. They smoke their on BBQ and if you don’t like pickles you should have said no pickles. It also depends on what time you go you will find the resturant very busy. Bensons is very good place with down to earth people who care about others and the food is not bad it is good. My family eats there every week my in laws eat there twice a week and breakfast every Saturday. WE LOVE BENSON’S!
Wasn’t it also Hiram Hickory House? Or something else with 3 H’s in the logo at one point? I did say that the Mac-N-Cheese was like Kraft macaroni and cheese, only cheesier – maybe that’s their aspiration / inspiration. I would have said “no pickles” had their been any warning that I might receive them. I’ll know that should I ever choose to eat their again. (I also didn’t say “no brussel sprouts” and I wouldn’t have liked being served those either). I’m glad that your family loves it. “Taste”, as it pertains to barbecue, is a very personal choice.
First I’ll apologize to you for your bad service, your bad food, your bad green beans and us placing pickles on your plate. In our defense, most BBQ houses I know of include pickles on BBQ. Some on the bun itself. I won’t address your Brussels sprouts comment as, well, I don’t really know what to do with that. Hmmm, yes I do. I will keep my comments to the issues and not literary amusement.
What we have done to address your comments:
We have done away with both green beans and mac and cheese. Our mac and cheese was homemade daily and made with the best cheese, but after all that expense, being compared to Kraft shows me it’s a waste of time. If fact, we have totally changed our menu:
We now offer Biscuit Breakfast, Real Ground chuck Hamburgers, BBQ pork and beef, Ribs, homemade fresh French fries and in house made fresh onion rings. We have also reduced our prices by about 20%, to provide our guests the best value we can possibly provide.
Regarding servers, we are re-training all of our servers to assure all the service at Benson’s will be second to none. It is possible one of our mistakes was we give a lot of young people their first job, and sometimes that hurts us. However, we have several of our servers who have gone on to great things, including several in college, and one is a police officer now. I know it means nothing to one who just wants perfect service, and I believe you fully when you say your service was un-acceptable, but I am really proud we can give young folks a start, and hopefully the risk is worth it.
Regarding BBQ, we have modified our BBQ system to include a moister BBQ. We also now chop our BBQ. We still serve it without sauce and will continue to do so, to allow our guests to choose sweet or smoky sauce.And unfortunately for you, we sill put pickles on the plate.
It’s a shame you won’t be back to see our improvements. However I do look forward to reading your reviews of future visits to other BBQ houses, and especially see if they upset you with pickles. I only ask you be as detailed with them as you were with our little house.
I do really love to be reviewed. It keeps the staff sharp. It keeps us wanting to do better. Especially with one such as yours. It keeps the dream alive that the 24 families who call this their work place will rise to the occasion, and provide the next customer better service and fresher food. I’m sorry it won’t be you.
Thank you for allowing me to comment.
P.S. My name is Wayne Randle. I manage Benson’s. For those guests who wish to speak to the manager or have a comment or suggestion, you won’t have to go far. You can call me on my direct cell number 678-363-7722.
Wayne – first and foremost, thanks for taking the time to comment. I appreciate your passion and your dedication to your employees. Small employers are the backbone of this economy.
You’re correct that many BBQ places include pickles and I’m okay with that, as long as they’re “disclosed”. Nowhere on the menu, that I recall, did it say pickles were included or I would have asked that they be omitted – pickle juice can spoil many foods, in my opinion. (FWIW, I was shocked that Waffle House puts them on top of an otherwise wonderful grilled cheese sandwich.)
I believe that I am detailed in most reviews about what I do and don’t like – I’m a “hobby” eater. I blog because I’m passionate about food. From your comment I see that you are also. I’m pleased to hear that your menu has changed and that lowering the prices has been part of it. I may take the opportunity to try it again one day.