This weekend I drove to Kansas because my daughter is trying to decide if she can commit to being a Jayhawk. We stayed in KC, MO on Friday night, and because I hadn't had time to perform my due diligence and find us thirty-seven options for late-nite snacking, we approached the good man at the front desk of our hotel.
We asked him for a good BBQ place, natch, it was Kansas City for crying out loud. He replied that in the hot, hot new hot spot in town, the Power & Light district, there was a new place that just opened up: Famous Dave's.
What?! I just drove seven hours south into the BBQ belt, and I'm offered Wisconsin BBQ first?! Don't get me wrong, I like a little Dave's now and then, and it feeds my giant family well, but I was hoping for some crusty old place that secretly lives in the basement of a tool shop and cranks out ungodly sauce.
It seems like I'm always looking for that place.
In fact, I think we have our own weird fascination with BBQ here upnort'. I don't know if it's because we have to parka-up most of the year and we crave something to melt our bones or if that's just how our Scandi roots rebel, but we are preoccupied. OK, I am preoccupied.
So much so that the mere mention of a new place opening puts me right in my car. I heard about a place in Champlin that opened not too long ago, Qfanatic. Scratch cooking, local owner, homemade sauce. On my way up there, I was rather hoping it would turn out to be a joke because how can I haul my cookies to Champlin every time I need a sauce fix?
It is a small, humble space, and the boys in the kitchen were chatty and sweet. Jake, my sauce-lovin' five-year-old, and I did ribs and corn fritters and onions strings. I chose the espresso sauce, medium heat, and loved its sweet-to-smoky balance and thick character—clearly made in that kitchen. The ribs were slow roasted but used liquid smoke, of which I'm not a huge fan. I think they're brilliant in offering Cabin Packs for the coming carloads heading north. I'd say grab a gallon of that sauce.
Was it the revelation of BBQ nirvana? Not quite.
It struck me as odd that the Qfanatics claim there is a hole in the local BBQ market, that somehow we're being underserved. Although I welcome any new upstart (with gas prices, please within the metro), I'd say we're lucky to have the depth of choices we do.