WARNER ROBINS -- Sometimes the first person you talk to at a place sets the tone for the whole visit. Thats how our visit to Martins Bar-B-Que began.
We had a bunch of coupons from a fundraiser booklet and wanted to use three of them. Instead of telling us that we couldnt use them all (like we expected), the young blonde cashier told us how we could make the most of them in our order. She was pleasant, smart and she seemed to enjoy helping us with our order. I didnt get her name, but the owner should make her a manager.
Because the eight of us wanted to try everything, she recommended that we put everything from our coupons onto platters, so we ended up with a meat platter, a fried side platter and a cold side platter. Normally, it comes like any other barbecue place -- a meat with two sides. But this way we passed each platter, family style, and everyone got to try whatever they wanted.
The biggest hit was the ribs: smoky, juicy and falling off the bone, they were some of the meatiest ribs weve had in this area. The next favorite was the pulled pork barbecue, which came with regular sandwich bread, old-school style. Like the ribs, the pulled pork was tender and juicy and didnt need any sauce. The beef brisket and barbecued chicken were a little bit dry and needed just a little sauce.
On the fried side platter, the fresh cut fries, fried pickles and fried okra were gobbled up immediately, without any ranch or ketchup. The other sides were at least as good. The baked beans must have a secret ingredient that makes them better than others and the homemade potato salad was a good kind of mushy. The coleslaw was refreshingly crunchy and the Brunswick stew was so full of meat and vegetables that it actually lived up to the term stew.
We topped it all off with dessert -- key lime cake, chocolate layer cake and banana pudding. The cakes, ordered from Macon, were OK; but the banana pudding made there at Martins was ridiculously good. Thick, cold and full of fresh bananas, it was traditional but still better than what other restaurants carry.
Martins is no longer open for dinner and most of their business comes from Robins Air Force Base. If they want to hit the four star mark, all they need to do is keep the chicken and beef a little more moist and keep an eye on the cleanliness of the tables (you clean off your own and some of us are better at it than others). Martins Bar-B-Que gives every other local barbecue place a run for its money.
Address: 102 First St., Warner Robins
Hours: 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Saturday
Payment: Cash, credit
Kids Menu: Yes
Noise Level: Low
Health Rating: 100
Price range: $5.99-$10.99
Rating: 3.5 stars