Unhappy with my assessment, the proprietor tacked up the column and asked clients for their reactions. He sent me several pages filled with their comments, all attesting to JQ's superior qualities and my lack of same. Here's a sampling of customer opinion, which, except for corrected spelling and cleaned-up punctuation, is presented without editorial revision.
* "The best BBQ in town. Even beats Honey Bear's."
* "Yellow journalism at its best! This is the best BBQ out West here. The ribs are the finest I've ever had! And the side dishes are beyond compare."
* "Being a Texan I have an opinion on barbecue and your manners. The food was good, and as any decent person may agree--any attempt at barbecue is a good one. Your comments are not taken seriously."
* "I'm a new customer here and I'm very pleasantly surprised at how fresh, moist and tasty everything is. I'll be back!"
* "I have been eating BBQ regularly for the past 30 years. JQ's surpasses the BBQ I've eaten in Texas, Oklahoma, North Carolina and all points in-between. . . . Something is definitely wrong with New Times' taste buds."
* "Dear Bonehead Reporter: I take offense to the slandering of JQ's. I have eaten lunch at JQ's twice a week since opening. I find the pulled pork and ribs to be absolutely outstanding. I am very fond of eating out and pride myself on patronizing good-quality establishments. JQ's is most definitely one. So sober up and try the food again."
* "I think your article on JQ's BBQ was totally uncalled for, rude and obviously not taken seriously by the patrons or JQ's. I don't know what your idea of great BBQ is. But obviously, your opinions suck."
* "I like it here at JQ's BBQ. It's simple, clean and the food tastes great. I make it a point to stop here when I can. Anyway, who cares what a wimpy fag has to say?"
* "Destructive criticism evinces greater animosity toward the critic than the victim! This is a typical character assassination of a good establishment by a no-name critic attempting to become a bigger jerk than what's required to pull pork."
* "I've been eating here for a few months and I think all the food here has a unique taste. The comment made on the ribs was horrible, the ribs here are the best I've tasted in AZ. So instead of saying JQ's sucks, I say you suck."
* "JQ's is the best--not just in Arizona, but anywhere I have eaten BBQ. Have also eaten at Jed's, which is some of the worst food (lukewarm at best)--how dare you compare the two on the same page?"
In fact, I heard from Jed's BBQ, too, which got a mixed review the same week. A new proprietor has taken over, and he assures me (surprise) that changes have been made. It's at 11219 East Via Linda in Scottsdale, in the Ancala Village Shopping Center.
Suggestions? Write me at New Times, P.O. Box 2510, Phoenix,