Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

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Location Dinosaur Bar-B-Que at night.jpgDinosaur Bar-B-Que at night. Photo by [WWW]_yoshi_
99 Court Street, Rochester NY, 14604 [Directions]
Hours (as of January 2016)
Monday - Thursday: 11:00AM to 11:00PM
Friday/Saturday: 11:00AM to Midnight
Sunday: Noon to 10:00PM
585 325 7090
<rochcatering AT dinosaurbarbque DOT com>
[WWW]2006-07-20 EatOutRochester Review
[WWW]2008-03-14 Insider review
[WWW]Evite user reviews

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que (aka Dinosaur BBQ and just Dinosaur) is a barbeque restaurant located in the 1905 Lehigh Valley Train Station on Court Street in downtown Rochester.

In 1983 three bikers, including John Stage, set off on the road to cater festivals, fairs, and motorcycle shows. By 1988 they had traveled and seen lots, and decided to settle down in Syracuse to open a barbecue joint. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que quickly became the place in upstate for blues, bikes, and barbecue. In 1998 they opened a second location, in the 1905 Lehigh Valley Train Station in downtown Rochester. In 2004 they opened a third location in Harlem.

The Dinosaur gains credit as one of the places to bring barbecue into style in the manner Cajun 'got style' in the 1990's. One popular cookbook about the best diners across the US featured two Rochester restaurants including the Dinosaur. In 2001 John Stage and coauthor Nancy Radke completed a [WWW]cookbook, ''Dinosaur Bar-B-Que: An American Roadhouse''. They now sell sauces through supermarkets. Nowadays the Dinosaur brings more families and fewer bikers, but at least two things have stayed the same: good ribs and live blues.



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2008-01-28 23:03:11   Okay, best wings in Rochester. Hands down. Dry rub + smoked = delicious wings. I had their hottest wings (tossed in the "Hottest Devil's Duel" sauce) and they were so good. I will probably not do it again any time soon because I had to take a couple of Tums later but I strongly recommend their wings. —OneLove

2008-02-11 23:05:33   Fantastic! I've been there a number of times, and Dinosaur never disappointed. The place is consistently good, has wonderful service (occasionally spunky, in a fun way), and to top it off, has a really good selection of beers. What else could you want. —RemekKocz

2008-03-29 12:14:47   I ate here once and didn't understand all of the hype about it being the best BBQ in town becouse I have had better at chain restaurants like Applebees. The ribs were rubber tasting to me as if the weren't done well enough. —EnishaCray

2008-04-24 17:18:08   Maybe I'm just lucky, but I've always been very impressed by the food at Dino! The nachos are fantastic; when they ask if you want chili or pulled pork, just say you want both :) Chicken wings are amazing. I usually order the "Tres Hombres" platter — you get ribs, beef brisket, and pulled pork. Cajun corn and black beans & rice are my favorite sides. —NathanHenderson

2008-07-31 16:35:35   This place is a little hit and miss, IMHO. I've been twice, and while I enjoyed the roadhouse ambiance, I found the food a little dicey and the pricing and service way below average. The first time I got a brisket plate and the brisket was great, very tender and succulent. However, the second time I went, I got a pulled pork sandwich that was rather dry. I basically had to smother it in the sauce they have at the table. The sides are very average; they're palatable but nothing to write home about. The food is also somewhat overpriced; where I'm from you don't have to pay $10 for a sandwich plate. Plus, the service leaves a lot to be desired. My server took her time getting around to our table, and she left our pitcher of beer at the bar so long that it was lukewarm by the time it arrived. The place was kind of busy, so that might explain the service issues. All in all, I'll probably come back here because I have some friends that love it, but it's far from high on my list of dining choices in Rochester. —JohnHavard

2008-08-14 14:32:10   mmmm. There is usually a wait for a table, but I've never been disappointed here. Excellent meats and sides. It's a great place to take out-of-town guests. Good selection of beer. I've found the servers to be especially friendly, without the fake enthusiam put on by some restaurants. —EastSideStephen

2008-08-14 17:28:03   I HATE barbecue sauce and everything on their menu has barbecue sauce, except a side dish meal. The sides are delicious! Their mac and cheese is awesome. The interior is a dirty dump, but its great to sit outside in the summer and enjoy that mac and cheese. —MrRochester

2008-12-09 12:42:07   Service is sometimes spotty and there is one extremely annoying waiter there, in particular. The food, though, is outstanding makes any annoyance worth it. Also, the only place I can find Pork Slap by the can! —BatGuano

2009-10-28 19:31:51   Ever since Jimmy Mac's closed, Dino has taken the mantle of "Best Nachos". DO NOT come between me and my nachos when I'm here. —BatGuano

2010-03-01 20:13:48   My date and I went to Dino's last night on the tail end of the dinner rush and had a great experience. A lot of it was due to the serendipity of getting a parking space right in front and finding two seats wide open in the middle of the bar to kill 15 minutes waiting for the coziest table in the joint. The food, in the form of the Big Shot dinner, was also excellent. However, I also want to commend Ashley, our friendly and attentive server for her great hospitality. We weren't able to finish the Big Shot, but Ashley simply smiled and did a superbly neat job of wrapping our leftovers for us to enjoy later! —AdamFuller

2010-03-03 17:58:50   I've given them two chances to impress me, and they've failed both times. The pulled pork and brisket are no good, the sides don't do anything for me, and the place is always crowded and noisy. Parking is an inconvenience. I can't figure out why everybody raves about this place and I won't give it a third chance. —nickelcokes

2010-06-06 15:18:31   Like many of the other commentors, I don't understand why people enjoy this place so much. There are many, many negatives, and almost no redeeming qualities.

There are almost no comfortable, or good seats, minus a booth or two overlooking the water. Everything else are shitty little chairs, with uncomfortably small tables.

I've been here about 5 times, almost always against my will. Every time I've been here I've tried something else, hoping to find something good. The ribs are so hit and miss, its ridiculous. I've had them literally just mush apart on the plate (not good), or literally have to cut them off the bone with a knife, and break teeth chewing them. Rock hard or like mush, they still have no flavor. Management, here is a hint: If people have to soak the ribs with the table sauce so it's barely edible, you are doing something wrong. I've ordered baby back ribs, and gotten a plate of spare ribs (and no, not the succulent st.louis style, the scraps from the butcher style). Luckily most of the idiots from the city don't know any better.

The corn bread is like dust, the cajun corn is straight out of a can. The brisket is tough and tastes like roast beef. I've had better "brisket" at arby's. The chicken is ok, but its also hit and miss. Sometimes its moist and almost tasty, the rest of the time its dry and chewy. The sauce is very sweet, with minimal tang, heat, or flavor. Most of the dishes are too sweet to really enjoy. I've even had the different steaks offered. When they came out, I was a little excited, as it appeared they had a really nice crust, and Dinosaur has the equipment to cook steaks properly (at 1500+ degrees), but nope, it was just a quarter inch of charcoal. I asked for rare, and the only pink I saw was my date's lemonade.

The parking is atrocious. If you have a motorcycle, well I guess this is the place for you, as there is bike parking in the front. For everyone else, you have about 20 parallel parking spots on a bridge, or, your ass is walking (ROC location). This isn't relevant to dinosaur itself, but the surrounding plots of grass toward the library, smell like open sewage, I kid you not. Coming here at night, I've been harassed by the locals in parking lots asking me spare change (a common rochester scam, to ask for some "change to get home"), and then swearing at me for ignoring them. An awesome way to impress clients and dates.

The staff is surprisingly accommodating though, first impressions can be deceiving. They also have a decent selection of craft beers, although the prices are shit.

All of this would be ALMOST acceptable, if the price was about half of what it is. If you want some ribs, go to palmers meat market, grab some st louis ribs, go get some wegmans BBQ sauces, and shove it all in your crockpot or smoker for a few hours, and you'll have a meal twice as good as dinosaurs, at half the price.

The only thing impressive about this place is that it draws such a continuous crowd of suckers.

2010-11-08 16:37:17   I must also be among the lucky ones. I went a few days ago - just me and my two year old - and we had a great time! Service was excellent. My little guy LOVED the apple sauce, baked beans with the pulled pork in it, and the fries. They have gluten free menu items, which is a plus. I had their version of the Cuban sandwich, and while I do think the Cuban at the Syracuse location is better, this is still pretty darned good. Also had the chili and their cucumber/tomato salad. I'm also a big fan of their pickles, which are delicious. The parking is bad, and I guess living in Rochester, I should expect that most people expect to park in front of the door. I parked up the street in the parking garage on the other side of St. Paul Street, and if my two year old and I can make the walk, I think most other able bodied people should be able to do so as well! —DavidGottfried

2011-01-31 10:08:27   Always great food and beer selection. I've tried all the local BBQ but Dinosaur always reminds me why they're worth the wait to get a table. The ribs really are a cut above everyone else. Definitely try the wings, not the same fried-and-sauced job everyone else offers. —JasonS

2011-06-03 11:24:38   DINO BBQ is just awesome! I've been to all three locations and have never had better bbq ribs anywhere else. I'll keep coming back as long as the meat stays awesome and the beer stays cold! —JenniferMason

2011-06-07 14:18:02   I've had dinosaur bbq catering before but just recently went to the actual restaurant. I can see the the atomosphere can be off putting, it's crowded with some rather unfriendly looking people, it's loud, and cramped. I would suggest trying to not get seated by the bar since it's even louder and your chair tends to get bumped alot which after about 5 minutes gets really annoying. But if you can get past that, the staff is very friendly and the food is great. I love ot try different things so with their small plates I was able to try two different wing sauces and a pulled pork slider. All three were delicious. —carolturo

2012-04-05 21:05:20   Second best BBQ in Rochester after Sticky Lips, but hands down most fun restaurant in downtown and maybe all of Monroe County. Beautiful location, awesome music and decoration. Better cornbread and BBQ beans than Sticky Lips. Awesome bar and better service than sticky lips too. —catwhisperer

2012-07-05 17:21:16   Yes, the barbecue is GOOD, but frankly, not THAT good. I also feel they are just a bit over-priced for the food they serve.

Let me start by saying this: I know barbecue. My mom came from Kansas City, and while her mother was alive (lived to age 97, BTW), we ended up either in KC or later, in the small town near Pittsburg, KS where she moved to. We almost always had BBQ when we took her out for dinner, and it wasn't until I was a teenager that I even knew that most BBQ was pork, not beef. Then, later in life, I spent about 8 years of my life driving a truck over-the-road for a company based in Arkansas. I've probably been to every good BBQ place between Little Rock and KC, MO.

A lot of people wax poetic about the BBQ at dinosaur. From my experiences here, and at some of the best BBQ places in not only the AR-MO region, but Texas and the Carolionas as well, I would have to say that dinosaur's pork BBQ is pretty good, but their beef BBQ is only 'better than average'. I could show you 5 or 6 places just between Joplin, MO and Ft. Smith, AR that serve better BBQ, and for a better price, as well. Heck, out there a beef BBQ like this would probably put you out of business!

I like what they've done to the old Lehigh Valley RR station, but those chairs they have are absolute torture to sit on! Parking around Dinosaur is a hassle, even on the best days, so we parked in one of the local garages and walked over. I guess this is such an unusual experience that the cops seemed to consider us 'suspiciuos' enough to stop and interrogate on our walk back to our car! Two middle-aged white guys with a doggy-bag from Dinosaur! Really??

Well, I guess some day I'll go back there, but I'm certainly not going to go out of my way to go there. Beale St. makes a pork BBQ that's just about as good, and without the problems of parking and police-rousting you get downtown. Oh, BTW, they are cheaper, and their seats are MUCH more comfortable.

If you go to Dinosaur, bring a chair pad and 2 forms of ID, just to be safe.... —alex-c

2016-12-02 15:28:13   The bbq is great, but the sides really set this place apart. The specials are always changing as well - if you're there when they have smoked turkey, get it. Unbelievable. Also - DEVILED EGGS! —Cretinx