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In thinking about things restaurants MUST have, I came up with these as a start, and not just for BBQ joints, but All restaurants:

(1)Must serve properly smoked meats as a central fixture on their menu. No steamed, boiled, and sauced impostors.
(2)All tables must offer hot sauce as a condiment
(3)Fried fish must be served at least two days a week, and all tables must have tarter sauce squeeze bottles with enough of the squirter cut off so that relish doesn't impede flow
(4)Each table should have a paper towel dispenser
(5)Hushpuppies should be given to all tables at no charge as soon as you are seated- manager should be subject to flogging if pups aren't hot!
(6)Parking lot should smell good, be dimly lit, and be gravel
(7)Restaurant does not need to have a bar, but should be understanding of patrons that periodically excuse themselves to the parking lot for a nip or two
(8)Restaurant must serve a good steak, cooked over charcoal or blackened on cast iron, and properly portioned. I suggest 14oz as minimum for NY Strip, 16oz for ribeye, and 20oz for bone in ribeye.
(9)Must make good onion rings
(10)Salad dressings must be made in house (as everything should be within reason) and served at table "old school" style in dressing boats.
(11)Restaurant should be located in area without cell service, or employ cell jamming technology so I don't have to listen to your calls and you don't have to listen to mine.

There will be others as they come to mind. Please feel free to add your own.
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Originally posted by dls:
My addtions.....

A clean restroom, preferably inside.

A waiter or waitress who does NOT cheerily greet you by saying "Hi,my names Jason / Jasmine (or whatever), and I'll be your server tonight". However, I will compromise for "I'm Buck / Buelah, whadda ya want".

I like a pleasant "Hey honey" as she places the basket of hushpuppies and a glass of sweet tea on the table.
Originally posted by: Wheelz

Mom-n-pop up the road already do a fantastic job!

Yeah Wheelz, you can say that, but remember, you live in Arkansas. I've got kin folk spread all the way from Pine Bluff to Jacksonville. I can tell you from experience there's a place on just about every corner specializing in fried catfish, french fries, coleslaw and hush puppies. The worst I ever had was great. Man, just thinkin' about it makes me hungry.
Originally posted by Wheelz:
Omit #3. I love fish but certainly wouldn't go to a BBQ joint for it. Mom-n-pop up the road already do a fantastic job!

Someone once said in a similar post to choose one cuisine. Focus on it & do it well. In time, the rest will come naturally.

Just my $0.02...

I know what you're saying, and it's good advice so I'll drop the steak requirement. That was just the carnivore in me coming out. I'll have to keep the fish though. Around here, fish is sold in more BBQ joints than ribs. Really. It's just as common to get a fish and Q combo as it is to get a chicken and Q. Chicken and dumplings too.

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