For the 3rd time in a week, my original plan was thwarted, mainly because the place I was planning to go to looked like such a dump (and had such a bad crowd hanging around) that I aborted without getting out of the car. On the drive back, I saw Shorty's and I haven't been here in a long time. So I made a U-turn and found my way into one of the many misguided parking lots in Davie.
As I walked in my memory was getting some shots; they have all of these signs on the outside "No Outside Food or Drink Allowed". The outdoor take out window.
There's a hostess stand just as you enter; its'a big dining room but for some reason the stuff everyone into the front section. Shorty's is one of the bad 80's establishments that still breaths; the experience here is indicative of a business that hasn't learned a thing in 20 years.
Shorty's Davie Interior
Instead of a nice, comfortable table in the middle of an empty restaurant, I got a small table on the wall just in front of the bussing service station.
Shorty's Bad Front Tables
I ordered an unsweeted iced tea with extra lemon. My server, Shannon, took the order and ran off. She returned with this.
Shortys Iced Tea. No Lemon Available
Note to Shannon and others of her Ilk: When someone asks for extra lemon in their iced tea, they probably like lemony tea. The correct response is "I'm sorry sir, but we only have limes". You don't just bring a tea with lime like some Latino restaurant where none of the servers speak a word of English. I wouldn't have ordered the tea if I knew you didn't have lemons. And Why they hell don't they have lemons? They don't serve mixed drinks, so why have limes and not lemons?
Country music fills the air, as if people lunching on ribs are also interested in Country Western music. Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood. Not bad stuff.
The ribs came out 4 minutes later. I ordered the Lunch Special, which was a 1/2 rack or ribs with fries and cole slaw, No Substitutions. I wanted to try the Brunswick stew, but there was no regular combination that would have allowed me to get it for under $20. So I figured ribs and slaw was worth $10.
Shorty's Lunch Special
One thing about these old-time places is that the ribs always look the same. On their own, the ribs are dry and badly in need of sauce. There's the standard sauce on the table in the squeeze bottle, and another "vinegar based" sauce was supplied in a spice shaker, which was pretty strange.
The regular sauce was better. The ribs where kind of gray and didn't really impress me. They were luke warm. They served as protein, at least.
It's interesting how experience can hone your opinion of food. 4 years ago, I was perfectly happy with these. Now, they seem gray and tasteless, with not enough smoke. Not terrible, but not very good either. In the middle of the pack as ribs go.
The fries were useless; crinkle cut like they have at Shake Shack, but not cooked enough to be crispy on the outside. They they were just potato sticks; not worth the calories.
The cole slaw was too sweet, but edible. I needed something to go with the ribs.
Paying is an equally 1980's experience. Shannon bolted mid-meal, so I had another server bring my check. You have to pay at the register on the way out; and you have to tell them how much tip you want to leave, which I strongly dislike. I really would have liked to stiff her more than I did. Service sucked rocks.
Shorty's is a bad establishment run by people who've been running a mechanical establishment that doesn't consider the comfort and convenience of their customers. Why stuff all of your customers near the front of the restaurant where the take out people are hanging out and near the noisy bus station? It's not like it's near the kitchen; it's like they're inconveniencing everyone to save themselves from a bit of sweeping.
Shorty's is the kind of place you take out, but given their prices. you might want to take out somewhere else, because it really isn't that good.
People rant and rave about the Brunswick Stew and Mac and Cheese here, but on Memorial Day I was here for some ribs. The place was bustling at 3:30 on a holiday; I guess as many people BBQ out rather than in their backyards these days.
Shorty's has a takeout window on the porch so there's no reason to go into the dark, disorganized dining room if you're doing take-out. The have big ads running for their 1/2 rack babyback lunch special for $9.95, but they don't honor their lunch specials on holidays. They lost a service star for that.
I also don't like that their "dinner plates" include cole slaw and fries. I prefer what most BBQ places do, which is let you pick 2 sides.
Shorty's BBQ 1/2 Rack BabyBack Dinner
The ribs here are top notch; they put a little bit of BBQ sauce on them so they have some taste but they're not wet and saturated, so you get a lot of the smokey meat taste. I put a bit more sauce on, which is sweet but very good. The cole slaw is a little too sweet but it's edible, and the garlic bread was very garlicky and some of the best I've had. The fries were pedestrian; boring, unseasoned and a waste of calories. I would have preferred to get beans.
All in all, a pretty good BBQ with some bad policies.