Watts Family Grill is locally owned and operated by a family that’s been BBQing for the last 30 years. According to their website (they are also on Twitter) they are carrying on the family tradition of home cooked meals by offering food to Fresno. Therefore, Watts Family Grill came into existence in October of 2010. Based on the reviews on Yelp and some of the tweets I’ve been seeing, I had somewhat high hopes.
Watts is located in central Fresno on Blackstone just south of McKinley. I do have to say that it’s nice to see people willing to set up shop and invest on the south end of Blackstone. Seems like everyone is really concerned about moving north these days but I’ll save that argument for another time.
Watts really did a nice job with the interior of the restaurant: flat screens throughout pumping March Madness, new tables/chairs and it was clean. Kudos to the owners for showing some pride here. Well done. They also have beer on tap. Blue Moon anyone???
The parking in the rear is ample and leaving the lot after eating is an adventure worth paying for in itself. I think I found an engine that might work for my next project and some hub caps for the Gremlin. Saved me a trip to pick-n-pull. All of this adds character to the place and who doesn’t love that?
When you walk in through the back entrance you can see the two giant smokers to the left (at least I did because I peeked over the doors) and a seating area to the right with a mounted T.V. With the amount of smoke billowing from the cookers I am not sure about eating outside unless you want the pit-master experience but at least it’s an option.
True to form I ordered ribs, mac-n-cheese and baked beans. Part of my goal with the Fresno BBQ Triangle series was to order similar items from all three joints to draw a fair comparison. In addition to the ribs I also ordered tri-tip as a second item because I’m fat and fat people like to eat large quantities of food. The rib plate was huge and a good value but I was ultimately disappointed. The ribs were very fatty, tough and had virtually no seasoning/rub. Could be that I happened to get ribs from a bad slab, not sure. The sauce provided most of the flavor and if you have read my previous posts I don’t believe the sauce should be the star here. Maybe I need to learn to order it on the side from now on. Hopefully when I come back they will be better. Either way I left a lot on the plate. I enjoyed the tri-tip more than the ribs. It was cooked properly, had a nice smokey flavor and was sliced nice and thin. Since Fresno is addicted to tri-tip this bodes well for Watts.
The sides were serviceable. Not the greatest I’ve had but not bad. They are making them from scratch which is nice to know. If the mac wasn’t overcooked it would have been great. The menu said the combo plate came with a side of bread but my plate didn’t have it for some reason. There was so much food I didn’t really miss it.
On to the more positive. My wife opted for the pulled pork sandwich and really enjoyed it. I thought it was a great value at 5 bucks which included a drink. There was an ample amount of meat that was smokey and moist. With the sandwich came a few onions, pickles and “watts sauce”. Personally I could do without the onions and pickles. Of course you can always order it without or scrape them off.
Overall my experience at Watts was just so-so. Chalk it up to an off day? Not sure but they deserve a second chance and I will be back. Aside from the food the service was great and the people are friendly. Next time I think I’ll go with the fried chicken and waffles.
Well that just about wraps up the BBQ Triangle series. It’s been tasty and I’ve successfully expanded my waistline if anything. But that’s not all the BBQ Fresno has to offer. Becky’s, Mike’s Grill and QN4U still need tasting.