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Olvera’s BBQ

November 18, 2022

  • 6800 Eastman Avenue
  • Midland, MI 48642
  • (989) 296-0678
  • Website
  • Menu

The best laid plans, amirite?

We were in Midland for a figure skating competition a few weeks ago. It was the last individual competition of the year and almost all of L’s coach’s skaters made the trip over for this event. To celebrate a successful season, L’s coach wanted to go out for dinner with everyone after the competition.

J actually took the helm at finding a place for a large group. She called a few places and no one was willing to reserve space for 25 on a Saturday night…except for Old Chicago.

Our group started to arrive at Old Chicago at about 4:30…right when we told them they would be there…only to find they had given away our reservation to another group because they thought the other group was us.

We were kind of screwed. J called a few places but they all said it would be about an hour wait. It had been a long day at the ice rink and we still had a two and a half hour drive home so we didn’t want to wait.

One of the parents noticed the Midland Mall across the street. Mall’s still have food courts…right? They went over to see what the options were and since there were actually four or five options to choose from and plenty of seating, we chose to eat dinner in the mall food court like it was 1992.

The best thing about picking a mall food court is the options. Some in our group are vegetarians. Some are gluten free. Others, like me, are much more carnivorous.

I went off by myself and found the BBQ joint.

Olvera’s BBQ is one of several food options at the Midland Mall food court. The mall itself is on Eastman Drive near the interchange with Highway 10 on the north side of Midland. The food court entrance can be found from the outside if you take a right from the main entrance on to Mall Drive. The word “Menu” hangs above the entrance making it easier to find.

I dropped L and J off at the door because it was raining….hard. I found a spot to park then headed in. They were already in line for pizza. I asked them to grab me a slice then headed over to BBQ.

Olvera’s BBQ was a food truck before they were a mall food court option. They moved in to the mall last fall taking over a space that was previously a Taco Bell.

I was on a BBQ streak. My last two meals were at Piggin’ N’ Grinnin’ in St. Joseph and Molasses BBQ in downtown Midland. I didn’t *need* more BBQ but I never pass up BBQ.

Olvera’s does all the traditional BBQ but they have a couple of unique food truck items that sounded too good to ignore.

I ordered a meal called the Big Tex. This creation takes inspiration from a walking taco. It’s served in a cup so it’s easy to eat while walking…like you would if you bought it from their food truck.

The Big Tex cost me about $12 and it took just a few minutes to be put together and handed to me.

I joined the rest of the group over in the corner of the food court. We needed a lot of space because we had about 25 people. Like any good group, the adults sat at one table and the kids sat at another. 20 years ago, this food court would have been packed at this time on a Saturday night, but alas, it is no longer the ’90’s

So, what is the Big Tex? It starts with a slice of white bread that is topped pulled pork, brisket, BBQ sauce, mac ‘n cheese, cheese sauce, jalapenos and a rib bone. It’s actually supposed to have beans too but I asked to leave those out.

That whole mess of a pile of food was delicious. More than one of the kids saw me sit down then came over and asked if that was a rib sticking out. That rib was super tender almost falling off the bone. The mac and cheese was super cheesy but not dried out like a lot of BBQ mac and cheese is. This is a mac and cheese that would make a good meal on it’s own. The brisket and pork both delicious on their own but also tasty together in one bite. The only thing that would have made this better is if instead of white bread they used corn bread. The white bread was fine. It just didn’t add anything to the dish. It just kind of soaked up all the sauce and meat juice…which is what it’s supposed to do.

I ate a lot of BBQ this particular weekend but I’m glad I went for another one. Finding a great BBQ place in a mall food court…of all places…isn’t normal. I’m actually pretty glad Old Chicago screwed us over. This was much better than a mediocre chain pizza place.

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