Cuban food and barbecue should make a nice combination, but Two Friends BBQ has a few glitches to fix before I can recommend it.
First, a customer needs to feel welcome when they enter, to make them feel like they are glad they came. Both times that we visited, the door made a strange alarm as if we were breaking in. There were no other customers and we came late the first time, and our weary server made us feel like we were messing up her early evening.
The second time was better, but we still had to be the first to talk and ask how she was doing, and there was no recognition from the same server that we had ever been there before. Considering we were the only customers both times, and she was the only employee both times, that seemed a little less than hospitable.
Second, cleanliness was a big concern. The last time I was handed a ketchup bottle that dirty, I was in a grungy hunters cabin. The restrooms did not have any toilet paper or a back up system for such a situation. I can overlook bugs as long as I can maintain my own personal hygiene.
Finally comes the food. If all other elements of the experience had been more positive, we might not have minded that some of the meat is only thawed out on certain nights, and so we couldnt order ribs or the Cuban sandwich on a Saturday evening.
Our request for the triple milk cake was met with, We dont have any, so we asked for the vanilla flan and got the same reply. After asking for every dessert on the menu one by one, we asked if they had any desserts, to which the answer was, No. Wasnt there an easier way to do that?
Once we had determined what choices were available on our first visit, my barbecue chicken was dry and topped with a thick paste of sweet sauce. The pulled pork sandwich was half meat and half sauce, and the coleslaw and baked beans were most definitely from plastic containers.
Our second visit held more promise. The half Cuban sandwich pressed together thick ham slices, cheese, roasted pork, mustard and dill pickles. The ribs were smoky and tangy, but they still had too much sauce, as if they had something to hide. The Brunswick stew was unusual but good, and the garlic shrimp had good flavor but was overcooked.
I think many of the food problems would be solved if there were more business coming through, but customers still expect clean surroundings and friendly service.
If Two Friends BBQ can fix those two elements and go a little lighter on the sauce, they could actually do well. They are in a prime location just minutes off the interstate, with very little competition for their type of food.
Hopefully, they will use this review as a guide to become the restaurant they set out to be.
Two Friends BBQ
Address: 2805 Peach Parkway, Fort Valley
Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays
Payment: Cash, credit, debit
Health rating: 88
Noise level: Low
Kids menu: Yes
Price range: $5-$10
Rating: 1 star