Small Restaurant Has Big Taste

. June 27, 2013.

I never sampled true barbecue until I moved to Alabama many years ago. Local barbecue joints were everywhere, so I quickly adopted the mantra “when in Rome”, and barbecue became another food group at our house. My neighbors had even become barbecue judges and traveled the barbecue competition circuit. Though I haven’t lived there for many years, I get the hankering for authentic barbecue every so often. Always on the quest for the best, when I had my recent craving, my family and I thought we’d give Deet’s BBQ a try.

They’re serious about barbecue
Deet’s is located in a small plaza in front of Meijer on Conant St. in Maumee. Opened in September 2010, Lisa and Bob Deeter, along with their son Trevor Deeter, own and run the business. “Bob had many years of restaurant experience and always wanted to open his own restaurant,” said Ms. Deeter. From past barbecue experience in Florida, you could say he knew a thing or two prior to opening Deet’s. “Barbecue can’t be rushed. It has to be done low and slow,” said Ms. Deeter. And because of that, you will find a sign hanging that thanks customers for understanding if they temporarily run out of something. If they do, another batch is probably in the smoker!
 Deet’s looked small from the outside, but I was surprised at just how small it really was inside. When the five of us walked through the door I felt like we had taken over the place. Thankfully the only table that could accommodate us was available. I seated the kids out of the way of traffic as we stood in line to order. While waiting at the counter, others were trying to get through to fill their drinks, grab napkins, etc. Many of the people who came in while we were there placed their orders for carry out, and many appeared to be repeat customers. Most seats were taken by the time we were done eating our meal.

 Though small, Deet’s had the same feel as many of the barbecue joints in Alabama. The great blues music over the speakers had me feeling like I was down south once again. As I worked my way closer to the front counter, I couldn’t miss the huge trophies and the phrase above the kitchen doorway; “We’re serious about BBQ!” The smell wafting through the air made me hungrier by the second.
Deet’s has bragging rights to Best Overall & Local Ribber from the NW Ohio Rib-Off for 2011 and 2012. Readers at our sister publication, the Toledo City Paper, also voted them best BBQ in 2012. I couldn’t place my order fast enough to get feasting!

Keepin’ it simple
Deet’s simple menu allows them to make just a few things, and make them very well. Even though I crave barbecue, my children can be hot and cold. I was fortunate they temporarily had some hot dogs on hand that had been from a catering event. They were the obvious choice for my sons that day. My daughter enjoyed the grilled barbecue chicken sandwich, and I suppose the boys could have split one as well had they not had the hot dogs available. They definitely were not in the mood for pork, brisket, ribs or smoked chicken salad. However, Deet’s has some very tasty, homemade curly mac & cheese. That can always be an option if your children don’t share your enthusiasm for barbecue.

They don’t have a kids’ menu, per se, but they offer “mini combos” and for $5 and $5.50 they include a smaller size sandwich, one side, and a fountain drink. Or the mac & cheese is $3 for a small portion and $5 for a large.  I wanted to try several things, so I was excited they offered the mini combos. The pork was done perfectly. The creamy mac-n-cheese, the baked beans and red skin potato salad delivered big taste as well. We absolutely loved the addictive rustic corn muffins complemented with honey butter. I could have polished off two more if I hadn’t practiced self-control.

Bottom Line: Without a doubt Bob Deeter and family know how to do barbecue. Deet’s in Maumee will have you feeling as if you might be south of the Mason-Dixon. The interior may be quite small, but the food is big on taste. The mini combos are a great deal for kids or those who just can’t tackle the big sandwiches and ribs.

Kid-friendly: Yes
To avoid wait: Anytime
Noise level: Moderate to loud
Bathroom amenities: No changing stations
High chairs: Yes
Got milk? No, but lemonade is available as well as soft drinks
Kids’ menu? Yes, though advertised as a “mini combo”

Karen Zickes is a mom of three active children and
freelance writer who resides in Holland, Oh.
She can be reached in c/o .