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Review of Bull Durhams's Texas BBQ & Steaks in West Chester, Pennsylvania
Bull Durham's Texas BBQ and Steakhouse opened March 2020 in West Chester, Pennsylvania, in the location previously occupied by now-defunct Bennigan's. Is it worth a visit? This article dishes out on Bull Durham's!
As I am always up for a good steak - or better yet, prime rib - I picked up my dinner companion (my daughter Angela) for the evening on the fourth day the restaurant had been opened, and we set off to find out the scoop on the new restaurant. Both our entrees were described as coming with two side dishes, as well as homemade corn bread and bread/rolls. The choices for side dishes was satisfactory - not extensive, but more than just a choice between steak fries or a baked potato.
The location provides ample parking; although many spots were taken, there were still enough left so that we had a short walk to the entrance of Bull Durham's. Just inside, we joined a number of patrons waiting for a table, and my guest looked at me with dismay, anticipating a lengthy wait. Fortunately, since it was just the two of us, the hostess seated us almost immediately in a comfortable booth. The seating options consist of pub-style tables, booths, and bar aisle seating; we were lucky that although the hostesss had not asked our seating preference, we ended up with what we would have asked for.
It was only a few minutes before a waitress stopped by with menus and to take beverage orders. She quickly took our orders, left and then returned with a basket of chips and bread, which appeared to be sliced Italian rolls. We decided to order Bull's Fried Onion ($6.25) as an appetizer.
Regretfully, there was no prime rib on the menu, so I settled for a 12-oz ribeye steak ($19.99) Angela asked about the beef ribs, knowing that unless beef ribs are cooked right, they can be dry, stringy or chewy, rather than moist and tender. The waitress happily informed her that the ribs are slow-cooked all day and were sure to be tender, and so Angela chose to try a full set of the ribs ($18.95). Happily munching on the bread and chips, we observed the atmosphere and activity in the restaurant.
There was a generally happy hub-bub of conversation, with many families present. Having seen a "family style entree" section on the menu, that was not surprising. It's a good place to go for families with a few children in tow. Wait staff bustled about constantly, and the environment appeared to fresh and clean. Of course, the stereotypical western decor was on the walls.
Angela and I had worked our way through the bread and chips basket, and the Bull's Fried Onion as well. Then we began to anticipate our food arriving soon. We waited; Angela went outside to indulge a nicotine craving; she returned, and still no food. We finally caught our waitress passing by, who quickly informed us that our food would be just a few more minutes.
From the time we ordered to the time our food finally arrived, a full hour had slipped by. As it turned out, there were problems with both of our orders upon delivery. Both of our entrees were supposed to be accompanied by home-made corn bread, but there was none to be had. We asked, and were told that the kitchen had run out of cornbread, even though it was still early in the dinner hour.
For myself, I had asked for one of the sides (baked beans) to be packed to go, and not brought to the table, but there it was, in a dish. That was easily rectified. My daughter looked with some trepidation at her beef ribs, which looked to be dry and crispy. Still, she gave it a good try, first sampling an end rib (inedible), and then sampling a middle rib, hoping it had not been overcooked as much. It was hopeless. We managed to get our waitress to come back, and explained the situation.
She quickly took the ribs back to the kitchen, where the manager apparently was notified. In less than ten minutes, a much nicer set of beef ribs sat on the table in front of my daughter. Sampling the new ribs, the look on her face said it all, as she beamed and chewed happily on her replacement meal. The waitress expressed hope that we would not blame her that the kitchen was slow, or that the initial food had been burnt, telling us the staff was still working out the kinks - it was only the fourth day of operations.
The meal sizes were ample; both my daughter and I had left-overs to take back to our respective homes. Quite full, we looked at the desserts but decided to skip them. The waitress surprised us with an additional discount off of our meal check and informed us that the manager expressed his regrets that the first set of ribs had even been seen by a dinner patron. I had also seen that the chain offers a frequent diner program "Corral Club". However, when we tried to join the club that evening, we were told that it can't be done. Signup is through the internet only.
Overall, the atmosphere was fine on the night we went. We did learn that the restaurant has DJ's in on some nights, with an event calendar online, and occasionally offers dance lessons, so the atmosphere will obviously vary from day to day.
The quality of the food was reasonably good, although I have had better rib-eye steaks elsewhere, I've also had worse steaks elsewhere, so I rate the steak average. Angela indicated that the second set of ribs had been just average as well, and that her boyfriend can (and does) make better beef ribs. Knowing someone who really digs baked beans, I took the baked beans to my friend, who said they were delicious. I am hopeful that the service will improve as the staff works out their routine.
Comparing Bull Durham's to several other chain restaurants - say, Ruby Tuesday's, Barnaby's, Outback, and Lone Star, I would put Bull Durham's squarely in the middle. The entrees were not as good as Outback nor Lone Star's entrees, but were better than Barnaby's and Ruby Tuesday's.
Restaurant Contact Information:
Bull Durham's Texas BBQ amp; Steaks
1347 Wilmington Pike
West Chester, PA 19382
Phone: (484) 315-8039