First of all, I want to clear one thing up right now: The quotation marks on “Country Store” are Rudy’s, not mine. In fact, they ought to be docked a full letter grade for indiscriminate use of quotation marks. But since we’re talking barbecue and not punctuation, I’ll let it slide. (But really, people, don’t do this. Don’t just go putting quotation marks any old place. It’s weird.)
Apparently, Rudy’s has a pretty big following, so were were excited when one landed in the Springs. At first glance, it looks very much like a place I’d want to eat barbecue: very informal, warehousey. But it felt phony. Like those faux-vintage Coca-Cola signs you see everywhere. The picnic-table seating, the red and white checkered tablecloth, the rolls of paper towels, the pop-your-own-top Coke in bottles — it all just seemed to be trying too hard.
And the gas station? Oh, I’m sorry: “Country Store.” What’s that about? It’s kind of cool that there’s a gas station attached to the restaurant, but do we really need another gas station? That felt gimmicky, too.
But all of this is really immaterial. We’re here to eat barbecue, right? Turns out the barbecue is only OK. The sauce was fairly typical, the kind you can buy at any grocery store, made mostly with high fructose corn syrup. Tasty, for sure. But ultimately unsatisfying.
Barbecue needs character, and you don’t get character from HFCS. Compare Rudy’s to this place in Kansas City, LC’s Bar-B-Q. The place had character. Of course they were shut down for health code violations earlier this year, but whatever. The food was amazing. And besides, what kind of pansy-ass life do you live where you can’t risk a little food poisoning for some barbecue heaven?