In place of the recently closed Bernardo's Bistro on S. Willow St., it has just been announced a Famous Dave's BBQ will be opening. This will be the first Famous Dave's in NH, among a small selection of NH BBQ joints. (The Union Leader news release says FD's has over 100 locations, both franchised and company owned.)
Bernardo's started out terrific a few short years ago... but went through a gradual decline to mediocrity - so it may be for the better. If the heart of the management isn't into it... better to go into the good night, IMO.
I've only eaten at one Famous Dave's, in Knoxville, TN, and for "chain" BBQ it was decent, as in OK.
In Manchester there is Down and Dirty, the first Manch BBQ place, and then KC's. Both are independently owned. Oh yes, there is Sausage Heaven now doing some BBQ items but is a take out/deli place. (Trying to keep this Manchester BBQ topical, but must mention how great the Sausage Heaven sausage is!)
It just strikes me as interesting how until Down & Dirty opened up about 10-11 years ago there was no BBQ to be found in the area! And now we have 3-1/2 places. (the 1/2 is for Sausage Heaven)
Having grown up on Tennessee BBQ as a kid during summer visits, BBQ has been always on my mind. (Insert Willie Nelson/Elvis background music here.)
I'll be waiting to give Famous Dave's a good try... I don't have high expectations for any chain though. Not only do I believe (from experience) that the independent places do better justice to the concept, I just prefer to try to support the locally owned, independents.
The best BBQ usually comes from the worst looking roadside joints with a pit out in back. It's an inexplicable BBQ phenomenon.