Belting Out The Blues @ Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

The last stop on our tour of Syracuse: Niagara Mohawk Building

What do you call a barbecue shack, a blues joint and a biker bar all rolled into one? If you happen to be in central NY the answer would have to be Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. There’s several locations in NY/NJ including Rochester (in the old Lehigh Valley Railroad Station), Harlem, Troy (Albany area, adjacent to the Hudson River) and Newark, NJ near the Prudential Center. A prime location considering it’s the home of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and the Big East Basketball Conference’s Seton Hall Pirates and all of their hungry sports fans. Other locations include Stamford, CT, Brooklyn and Buffalo, NY.

I stumbled across this little jewel while exploring downtown Syracuse. The most interesting thing about this restaurant is that it gives off a completely different vibe depending on which way you look at the building. From one side it looks like a down-home honky-tonk straight off of the Broadway strip of Nashville. From the front it looks like a biker bar while stepping back it looks almost out of place when contrasted against its urban surroundings. Whichever way you see it, when you do see it, you automatically know that it’s someplace you want to check out. And even with the bikes out front, you still get a feeling of warmth and a friendly atmosphere before you even step inside.

Once inside it’s easy to forget that this is a biker bar AND a nationally known restaurant (with many honors and awards to boot!). The Dinosaur doesn’t give off any of that in its appearance. Inside it’s lit with primarily crimson colored lighting and it’s predominant wood timber-like construction hearkens one to the old style saloons of the old west. Everything’s wood including the bars, the tables, the chairs and the floors and the walls are covered top to bottom with everything from wild west memorabilia to Norman Rockwell style prints to neon. There’s even a patio/deck for when the weather’s warm.

The New York/New Jersey based chain opened their first restaurant in 1988 right here on Willow Street in downtown Syracuse where the menu specialized in authentic barbecue using a wood-fueled barbecue pit. The food here is so good that they even market their sauces, pulled pork, chili, and baked beans at local supermarkets and at regional giants such as Wegmans, Fairway, D’Agostino’s, Price Chopper, and Shaw’s Supermarkets.

Dinosaur BBQ is known for their sauces which come in wide variety including dry rubs, hot sauces, and BBQ. Flavors like: Sensuous Slathering Sauce, Roasted Garlic Honey BBQ, Mojito Marinade Dressing, Creole Honey Mustard Sauce, Garlic Chipotle Pepper Sauce, Devils Duel Pepper Sauce, Cajun Foreplay Spice Rub, Wango Tango Habanero are the reason why they’ve gained national attention and acclaim and won top honors in magazines like Men’s Health and Eat Well and was also named #1 BBQ by GMA (Good Morning America).

The best part is that if you find yourself craving their flavor in the wee hours a cookbook with many of the restaurant’s recipes is available called Dinosaur Bar-B-Que: An American Roadhouse and you can buy their sauces online at their website

But with all the emphasis on the great food it can easily be forgotten that Dino BBQ is an entertainment venue. Besides finger-lickin’, mouth-watering, stick-to-your-ribs eats, it’s also a roadhouse style live music juke joint specializing in the Blues. It caters to all adult age brackets and features some of the best local and regional talent.

On a final note, Adam Richman, host of the Travel Channel’s Man v. Food, took the show to Syracuse (season 3, episode 13) on June 8, 2010. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que was the first stop while there and he had the restaurant’s “Pork-Sket” sandwich (which features 1/2-pound each of brisket and pulled pork). The episode was broadcast on September 1, 2010.

The last stop on our tour of Syracuse: Niagara Mohawk Building

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que: Syracuse, NY

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Author:The Man About Town

The Man About Town is an avid traveler and good time thrill seeker. A long haul trucker and the founder of, The Clique For Men network and the entire World Clique Movement, his cross country hauls were the inspiration for this website. When he's not writing or running his company, you can find him circling the globe in search of new adventures to report on.

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