“You’ve got to try Dinosaur Bar-B-Que,” seemed to be the consensus when I tweeted for Syracuse dining recommendations.

Really? Dubious. I mean, I’m from the South where barbecue reigns supreme.

But I live in an eternal state of FOMO, so Dinosaur Bar-B-Que for our second dinner in Syracuse it was.

We entered the restaurant to find a thick buzz in spite of it being a weeknight. Live music courtesy of a rockabilly band with talent boosted the vibe. We were immediately seated at a booth and looked after by a punctual, polite server. We ordered a rack of pork ribs, beef brisket, pulled pork, and the Dino poutin. Unsure of which additional side to order, the server recommended the cole slaw. To balance out our heavy meal, she reasoned.

It turned out the cole slaw was meh. The meats were pretty good, but I’ve had better down south. Still, I was surprised yet again to find the barbecue, like the Korean food here in Syracuse, was quite palatable, and I could definitely see the locals growing soft spots in their hearts for such comfort foods.

The superstar of the meal was the Dino poutin, which consisted of hand-cut fries smothered with beef gravy, pulled pork, and (gasp!) pimento cheese. My disdain for pimento cheese has only reversed in the last few years after I’d tried a homemade version at Empire State South in Atlanta. It was then that I realized all the globby pimento cheese chunks we’d grown up eating from a plastic tub were not at all how pimento should be. Anyway, it was glorious on fries, a perfect marriage of New York’s northern and southern neighbors.

We were stuffed by meal’s end and got a bill to match. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que doesn’t really fit into a college student’s budget, but then again, Syracuse is a private university in New York. These students can probably afford it just fine.

All in all, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que isn’t the best, but I’m convinced it’s the best in town. And when you’re away from home for school, sometimes you just want to suck on a comforting rib bone while the rockabilly music wraps you in a hug.

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
246 W. Willow St. (At N. Franklin St.)
Syracuse, NY 13202
Phone: +1 315 476-4937


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