Dinosaur Bar B Que A Casual Date Spot Entices Diners

Men's Dating

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que: A Casual Date Spot Entices Diners to Relax & Stay a Good Long While

Amber Brooks

Written by: Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks is the Editor-in-Chief at DatingAdvice.com. When she was growing up, her family teased her for being "boy crazy," but she preferred to think of herself as a budding dating and relationship expert. As an English major at the University of Florida, Amber honed her communication skills to write clearly, knowledgeably, and passionately about a variety of subjects. Now with over 1,800 lifestyle articles to her name, Amber brings her tireless wit and relatable experiences to DatingAdvice.com. She has been quoted by the Washington Times, Cosmopolitan, The New York Post, and AskMen.

See full bio »

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

Discuss This! Discuss This!
Advertiser Disclosure

The Short Version: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is a friendly, jostling, and casual BBQ place in the Northeast. It serves up slow-cooked and homemade platters of food that’ll have you hankering for more. Since its first restaurant opened in 1988, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que has been a go-to date spot for many couples interested in good old-fashioned flavors and a fun, low-key ambiance. Whether you’re listening to live music while at the bar in Syracuse or spending an anniversary at a table for two in Brooklyn, you can have a great experience hanging out at one of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que’s eight locations. The Dino team cares about giving every person who comes in a dynamic, enjoyable, and delicious experience, and, as the Founder John Stage said, “Caring is the secret ingredient.”

The moment you walk into the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, you know you’re in for something different. The sound of overlapping voices and the smell of fresh barbecue fills the air as people dig in to family-style platters of chicken, pulled pork, or brisket with gooey mac and cheese and homemade cornbread on the side.

These smoky flavors satisfy couples on a low-key date — because who isn’t tempted by slow-cooked pork or chicken smothered in sizzling sweet sauces? It may be a little messy, but it’s worth every drop.

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que began in 1983 as a mobile concession stand serving barbeque at motorcycle shows, fairs, and festivals in the Northeast. John Stage and his partners attracted long lines of people hankering after traditional slow-smoked barbecue done right. In 1988, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que set down roots in Syracuse, New York, opening a quick-service joint. Now the Dino, as locals call it, has eight additional locations scattered throughout New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

When expanding to a new location, the Founders seek out buildings with a lot of history and character, so visitors can feel part of a time-honored, communitywide tradition of eating well and loving life. You can see layers of messages carved into or scrawled on the wooden tables and the walls at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. Countless couples have marked down their names in hearts, so they would always remember the table where they had their first date or celebrated a special moment.

If you’re looking for a low-key spot to take a date, you can’t go wrong settling in at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and treating yourself to its flavorful signature dishes.

“It’s definitely cute to see how being more laid-back helps couples relax,” said Jason Ryan, the restaurant’s Marketing Director. “You can eat good food and be messy together.”

Cultivating a Fun Atmosphere Where You Let Your Guard Down

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que provides a chill place where daters can relax while they eat delicious plates of barbecued meats and veggies. The menu has plenty of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options to satisfy people with different dietary needs. These high-quality dishes offer couples a mouthwatering dining experience. The Sweetheart Meal, which includes two full racks of ribs and four sides, is perfect for two people to share on a date.

The Dino will sometimes partner with breweries, trivia organizers, or other entertainment groups to give diners a little something special during their visit.

On Valentine’s Day, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que decided to open its doors not just to couples celebrating their togetherness but also to singles seeking comfort or camaraderie among friends. They partnered with Lyft to give customers a discounted ride home. The bar also offered fun drinks like the Right Swipe and the Bucket of Love to help people loosen up and laugh no matter what their relationship status was. “It can be a romantic place,” Jason said, “but it can also be a place to just have fun.”

Screenshot from the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que's website

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que infuses its slow-cooked meats with spices and smoky flavor.

Many couples are blown away by the Dino’s rich and flavorful dishes, including all-natural pork ribs and slow-smoked brisket topped with pickled onions and jalapeno relish. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que also has more than 12 homemade side dishes, so whether you’re in the mood for a Cajun corn, fruit salad, or beans, you can load your plate with your flavors of choice.

The Dino’s edgy vibe attracts a younger crowd, but barbecue lovers of all ages can settle in for a savory meal here. “The one thing we really like is how diverse the people who come here are,” Jason said. “People come together — not just for dinner. Because it has this great atmosphere, it’s a great night out for couples who want to go out for a few hours and have fun.”

Live Music Gives Couples a Reason to Linger Over Dinner

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que isn’t your average barbecue place. The team seeks to give diners a memorable experience every time they stop by. People don’t have to just eat and leave — they feel welcome to stop and savor. Many couples linger for hours enjoying good food and good company in a lively setting.

Six of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que’s locations host live music at least once a week to give their guests a reason to stick around and sway to the music. The restaurants invite local bands to play country, blues, or rock music while people settle in for a savory dinner.

The Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Syracuse features musical performances six nights a week — and the locals can’t get enough of it. People from all walks of life love hanging out at the bar and applauding talented bands and singers. You can check the calendar to see who is playing on your next date night.

“It’s definitely fun and adds an atmosphere that gets people moving, laughing, and talking,” Jason said. “We love to entertain people while giving them an awesome meal.”

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que sets the stage for romance on the nights it showcases live musical performances. Couples can enjoy a relaxed party vibe, split a pitcher of beer or a plate of chicken wings, and stay for hours in a relaxed setting.

A Rowdy Community Savors Their Moments Together

The Dinosaur Bar-B-Que team gets rave reviews from a lot of customers. It has been around for decades and has become a fixture for many couples who have spent dozens of dates happily digging into platters of barbecue. Some couples love the food so much that they had Dino cater their weddings or rehearsal dinners.

Whether you’re going on a first date or about to propose to a longtime partner, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que can help you get over your nerves and enjoy the moment in a casual setting.

Photo of barbecue food at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

Good Morning America named Dinosaur Bar-B-Que the number one barbecue joint in the nation.

“Best BBQ around!” said Loren Westcott in a review. “The smoke is perfect, and the sauces are awesome. Service has always been great, the beers are cold, and the food is always hot.”

Ruperto René Ruiz said he and his girlfriend won a free bottle of barbecue sauce on a visit to Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. “Their homemade BBQ sauce is to die for,” he said in a five-star review on Facebook. “Great food and service the few times I’ve been there. Their famous Donkey Punchdrink is absolutely the best!”

“As a long time happy Dino customer, I was even more pleased when I went online and was able to select ‘gluten free,’ and it altered the menu to show me my options,” said Brittany Lewis. “Since I’m still getting used to what not to eat, this was very convenient!”

“Just love it there!” said Michael R. “Been there a few times, never disappointed!”

“We want to offer a place where everyone feels welcome,” Jason said. “We see a lot of fun stories from people who love Dino and spend their date nights or anniversaries here.”

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Welcomes Barbecue Lovers of All Stripes

Hot. Juicy. Flavorful. What’s not to love about barbecue? These dishes take hours, sometimes days, to get the flavors just right. The Dinosaur Bar-B-Que team takes their time to prepare your food, so you can take your time to enjoy it. You can linger for hours in a casual atmosphere full of locals having fun.

Couples at the Dino don’t just get a savory and filling meal — they get a full night out complete with signature drinks, live music, and friendly service. It’s a rowdy and accessible place to enjoy homemade food dripping with award-winning sauces.

Whether you’re starting a new relationship or trying to get out of a dating rut, you can improve the quality of your nights out with that special someone by making a pit stop to one of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que’s locations in the Northeast.

“Barbecue is a social thing that brings people together,” Jason said, “because everyone loves barbecue.”

Advertiser Disclosure

DatingAdvice.com is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation from many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across the site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). DatingAdvice.com does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.

Our Editorial Review Policy

Our site is committed to publishing independent, accurate content guided by strict editorial guidelines. Before articles and reviews are published on our site, they undergo a thorough review process performed by a team of independent editors and subject-matter experts to ensure the content’s accuracy, timeliness, and impartiality. Our editorial team is separate and independent of our site’s advertisers, and the opinions they express on our site are their own. To read more about our team members and their editorial backgrounds, please visit our site’s About page.