Mar 092009

Daniel’s BBQ closed up almost as soon as it opened, the space is currently oc

Daniel's BBQWell, here’s some good news for my friends and avid readers out in Shawnee: Margarita’s on Johnson Drive near Quivira has recently turned into Daniels Bar-B-Q, a highly respectable joint that, based on one visit by yours truly, seems like a winner for either lunch or dinner.

I first heard about this place via Fat City a month or so ago. Then I forgot about it and was happy to “discover” it last week having no recollection that Owen beat me to the punch by a long shot.

Daniel’s sits in a strange little strip mall, occupying the weirdest space in the building. When I opened the front door, I did NOT expect to see a rather sizable staircase extending down in front of me. While other stores in the strip lie at street level, Daniel’s is down in the basement. Well, sort of. Once you enter you realize that the slope of the land outside actually puts a good portion of the place above ground, windows and everything.

This is a place with at least 3 or 4 levels. There is a sunken dining area, a raised bar, and the aforementioned south dining room which sits halfway up the stairs. With all the steps, this place would be a nightmare for wheelchair users and stumbly, drunk people.

All in all, it’s kind of a cool room, just the right mix of dingy and comfortable. The funniest aspects are the remnants of its life as a Mexican restaurant. A faux-road sign attached the wall at one end of the bar reads “Corona Street.” And one end of the dining area is decorated with this stunning, southwestern mural:

Daniel's BBQ

This is a table service joint and despite the odd entry, I was greeted immediately and given a choice of where to sit. After I sat down and received my Pepsi, the waitress took the calculated risk of informing me that I had a sizable piece of the straw wrapper stuck to the bridge of my nose. This, I very much appreciated.

They have the usual BBQ offerings with the addition of bar food staples like wings and burgers. But the place smelled enough of smoked meat that I opted for one of their “long bun” sandwiches with fries–a good deal at $5.99. They offer three sauces: Regular, Hot and Competition sauce.

The regular sauce, as is often the case, is the best of the lot. It’s a little sweet but has a nice tang and is hotter than one would expect. This is one of the better traditional sauces around. The competition sauce is a molasses-laden, dark, sweet sauce which I did not care for at all.

Daniel's BBQ
The pulled pork had excellent smoke flavor and a dry rub that really came through after cooking. The texture was a little dry, but fans of burnt ends will enjoy it. The beef was also very good, but was sliced way too thinly for my taste. My major problem was with the little sub rolls they serve the sandwiches on. I would much prefer white bread or even a nice soft bun. These long rolls are more conducive to Italian sandwiches at the airport. The fries are typical crinkle cut taters, not likely homemade. They did cook them nice and crispy which is all too rare.

Daniel's BBQ

Daniel’s website also advertises that they are accommodating to gluten-free diets. If you know anyone with celiac disease or just a general intolerance to gluten, you know that this is a major selling point. The meat, sauces, fries and beans are guaranteed gluten free, but more importantly they plan to offer gluten free beer and baked goods.

The service was simply outstanding. I never felt lacking for anything. My server brought my check over just as I was finishing up. “I know you are probably on lunch,” she said. Yes, someone who gets it. Likewise she refilled my drink without me having to ask. In general she was genuine, pleasant and really goods at her job.

The closest BBQ joint to Daniel’s is probably Bates City Shawnee BBQ on Quivira. RJ’s is not too far away either. I think Daniel’s can roll with either one of them. The beef is better than Bates, and the pork may very well be if you like the drier texture (I do). The original sauce is far better than RJ’s odd, sweet concoction, though the atmosphere can’t really compete with the little roadhouse ambiance.

All in all, this is a welcome addition to the suburban KC barbecue landscape.

Read more:

Daniel's Bar-B-Q and Catering on Urbanspooncupied by Char House

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  10 Responses to “Daniel’s Bar-B-Q: 12200 Johnson Drive – CLOSED”

  1. It’s good to know about that gluten-free thing. I wonder how many barbecue places would qualify but don’t even know it.

  2. That’s true, most BBQ doesn’t involve gluten anyway, though beer certainly does. I’ll bet that the owner or someone in the family has celiac disease which accounts for the special emphasis.

  3. Awesome! I live really close to there. Yes, most BBQ is thought to be gluten free, but it is good to know that they probably understand eating gluten free and take the extra precautions.
    When I go eat BBQ, especially at local places, you never know if the sauce is actually gluten free or if the fries are cooked in a dedicated GF fryer.
    I will be eating at Daniel’s very soon!

  4. you’re most likely right about the family thing. Nothing against barbecuers but they hardly seem on the cutting edge of the gluten-free movement.

  5. Haha…I’ve almost rolled down those stairs many times when the joint was Margarita’s. Perilous!

    Glad to know it’s something good that replaced Margarita’s, I’ll definitely try it soon.

    Also, I think Bates City might be closed now. Will have to verify.

  6. Is this any relation to the Daniels in Tonganoxie or the Daniels that used to be in Lansing, KS?

  7. Well if its the same Daniel`s that is in Tonganoxie,and was in Lansing, it is just a poor copy of Rosedale BBQ. He has had locations all over the metro and never seems to last long at any location.

  8. Yes it’s the same operation as Tonganoxie and Lansing. The guy recently got back into the business after being out for a while. The Pitch story has a little more detail.

  9. Alot of people/bbq joints don’t understand gluten. Not only do you have to worry about the ingredients but the cross contamination that can happen in a kitchen full of bread and breading!

  10. Also it is the same company as the Tonganoxie and Lansing joints.
    But the tongie store has been there for 12 years and the lansing one was open for 9 years before they moved it to Shawnee.