Bandana’s Bar-B-Q

301 E 1st St
Ankeny, 50021
I'm always looking for great BBQ and in Central Iowa, there's a fairly decent selection of barbeque restaurants. Bandana's (301 E. 1st St., Ankeny) is an okay option, but I don't find their food to be better than either Jethro's or Smokey D's. Those are the two places that I would deem "go-to" barbeque restaurants and this would probably be an alright "third" selection. It's far better than crappy places like Ames' Hickory Park (see our other review) but again, isn't the first place we'd pick. Nothing about this place blows me away. The service is good, I'll give them that. The staff is friendly and attentive. The décor of the restaurants is what you'd expect to see at a BBQ restaurant, but is VERY spacious compared with many. The menu is nice because it's not overly-complex. It's easy to order. They advertise "KC-style sauces" and "St. Louis-style" ribs here and I don't think either one of them is even close to anything you'd find in either city. They do have a wide assortment of sauces, but so do any of the other local places. I didn't think the meat was all that special. It was smoked nicely and had good color, but I found my meat to be chewy. The baked beans, fried okra and corn all tasted like they came from a can. The cole slaw is not good at all - this is a STAPLE at any good BBQ restaurant. Would I eat there again? Yeah, I probably would. The food isn't terrible, nor is it anything to write home about. The sides are basic and pretty unmemorable and the meat is just okay. The service is excellent and the restaurant has an authentic BBQ-themed décor, but other than this, not the best BBQ I've ever had. Plus, this place is a franchise and with most franchises, the quality of the food is inconsistent varying on location. I'll take my Jethro's and Smokey D's before going here.
Exceptional ribs, a great aroma, and terrific service! It started when Ally greeted us at the door with a vivacious smile and a red, white, and blue head gizmo made of a sequined hat, waving flags, and spinning pinwheels. It was quite a hoot and got our evening off to a great start! All the wait staff was in competition for the best July 4th outfit on what they call 'Freaky Friday.' Customers voted for the best look. Our waitress, Danae, had some flag stripes on her cheeks and was wearing the right colors, but we had to rib her about her low profile bling. She took our ribbing in stride. She just missed Freaky Friday's full July 4th dress code memo, . Denae definitely gave us stellar 'stars and stripes' customer service! Breanna, stopped by to brighten our day with her Uncle Sam tribute outfit complete with wild glasses with an attached white beard and a fancy big bow to wrap up her costume. Rosy the Riveter (I am sorry I missed her real name, maybe Ally), Alesha, Breanna, and Danae sang, "Happy Birthday" to my husband. He was grinning ear to ear. Sarah, assistant manager stopped by to wish us well. Coming up with 'Freaky Friday' is definitely a way to reward the staff and give customers a great experience. We'll be back again! Loved it!
Oh god I got the pulled pork sandwich with the sauce on it. I have been craving more of it ever since. The bread is a French loaf that is TOASTED so it's kind of crispy but still super soft in the middle. That alone made me love my sandwich. But I could not get enough of the sauce. It was sweet and tangy with just a little heat. I would go back all the time if I were local. I will definitely be returning everytime I'm in Iowa.

(515) 964-9989


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