I had my post titled "Sam's Barbeque, Any Risk Eating There?", removed from the Austin board.
My son lives in Austin, but had never been to Sam's. When I visited him last summer he, SO and I went there for lunch, because the name kept coming up when I looked for barbecue. We went in but neither of them wanted to stay and eat there. (YOU wouldn't want to eat in there! Just get it to go!)
Recently eGullet brought up Sam's again, and it piqued my memory. When I asked, there were several responses mentioning the neighborhood, panhandlers and whores... One respected eGulleter said, "Probably the scariest (good) restaurant in Austin." He didn't mention the crack dealing in the alley and addicts coming into the place, or the cop that died, while trying to catch dealers.
If you've never been around 2000 East 12th Street, it is a pretty rough neighborhood. When we went arrived there were vagrant-looking people on the deck, hanging out, eyeballing us. I worried about the car being broken into, but we didn't stay long enough for that to happen.
MY POINT is that Chow doesn't let concerns about safety to be posted. Don't we (collectively), have some obligation to let people know more about a place than the lure of the good chow? At Sam's, people are hassled and propositioned. Do we want to send off UT newbies to a (well established), bad part of town with no clue of what they might be getting into?
You can say this on Chowhound: "at Sam's, while I was inside waiting for the food, the guys were approached not once, but three times by unsurly's for money....and twice by the same person who said she had kds to feed and the first 5 bucks wasn't enough", or "Open very late, a definite dive, basically a shack on a corner with a couple of card tables and a window to order through. You will want to take out, but their brisket is excellent, they do fine ribs, and they also serve mutton, a specialty. Not a place to sit back and have a beer and enjoy the atmosphere", or this, "I couldn't really see your group driving into economically-distressed Deep East Austin to eat BBQ on a card table in front of a shack", or this, "With regards to Sam's.....I do not mind taking chances for great barbecue".
On Chowhound, you can dance all around the facts with offhand comments, but I can't ask if it's safe to go there?
I am disappointed that Chow has this "Don't Ask-Don't Tell" policy. Yours is the only forum I know of on the Internet with this restriction.
Chow Moderators: Would you want your (newbie from out of town), freshman daughter or son going there at night, just because they heard their barbeque was the greatest? You wouldn't want them to know there's a risk?