barbecue, brisket, lenexa bbq, zarda bbq

Zarda Hickory Pit Bar-B-Q in Lenexa, KS

Zarda brisket sandwich and fries

Today I visited Zarda Bar-B-Q for lunch.  Zarda Bar-B-Q has been open since 1976, when they opened their original location in Blue Springs, Missouri.  They opened the location in Lenexa, Kansas in 1979 and have been going strong ever since.  That makes 38 years now that the Lenexa store has been open.  Growing up as a kid in Lenexa I remember Zarda as being one off the “go-to” barbecue places in town.  I have eaten there many times in the past, but decided to stop in today to officially check it off my barbecue quest list.

I got there around 11:50 AM on Wednesday.  This is a place where you order at the counter and they serve your food there and then you seat yourself.  There were five people taking orders at the counter as I walked in.  They were already fairly busy and must have been getting ready for the noon lunch rush.  One of the people behind the counter asked if she could take my order and I asked for a brisket sandwich.  They have a regular and a large size and I ordered the large sandwich with a side of fries.  My total bill was $11.09.  I noticed that the drink station at Zarda is behind the counter and they serve your drink along with your meal.  The other barbecue places I’ve been to with a similar setup all have a self-serve drink station, so this was a bit different. I received a ticket with my order number on it and they called my number about five minutes after I placed the order.

I noticed that they have a salad bar for lunch, which so far on my visits is unique to Zarda.  I didn’t pay much attention to it while I was in the restaurant, but when I got home I got on their website to see the salad bar is $6.99.

The restaurant was about half full at this time of the day, so I found a table relatively easily.  The brisket sandwich is served with their regular “original” sauce on it.  I prefer my sandwich served without sauce but they didn’t douse it by any means, so it was ok.  The meat was hot and tender, but did not have much flavor to it.  I decided to finish the sandwich without adding additional sauce to it and decided to try the sauces with the fries.

Zarda has three sauces to choose from

The fries are wedge-cut fries, but otherwise nothing to write home about.  The Zarda original sauce is a little sweet and has a small kick to it.  A pretty good sauce overall, but not my favorite barbecue sauce by any means.  They have an apple harvest sauce that had what I thought was a brown sugar taste to it.  I looked at the label and they add apple cider vinegar and molasses to it, among other ingredients.  I wasn’t really a fan since I’m not a fan of sweet sauces and this was really sweet.  The bold and spicy sauce is exactly what it says it is:  bold and spicy!  It has quite a kick to it and I really liked it.  Overall, I’m a bigger fan of Hayward’s sauce when you compare the two with each other, but choosing which sauce you like better depends a lot on the individual’s taste.

I checked in to Zarda from my Facebook page while I was there and their social media person commented on my post within a couple of minutes, so they’re really on top of their social media game!  They suggested I try the reserve burnt ends, which I am definitely going to try next time.  Overall, this was a good experience.  I knew going in that they have good barbecue, but wanted to try the brisket for the purposes of this review.  It’s a good sandwich and I’d put it about in the middle of the list of all the places I’ve tried so far.

I’ve got 13 places down now.  One more and I’ll hit 20% completion.  Please feel free to like, share and comment on these posts.  It helps keep me motivated to complete this crazy quest!  Till next time….