|Sausage, Cheese, & Crackers|
But we came to eat so let's get on with it! At a blogger's lunch in mid-June, hosted by Scott Kleckner, Dinosaur's VP of Operations, we were treated to a non-stop parade of appetizers, mains, and desserts. Important to note that everything is made in-house and from scratch. During the tour, Scott made it a point to show us the storage room so we could see that there are no boxed items and nothing frozen. Even the pickles are house made.
Appetizers included a benign sounding "Sausage, Cheese, & Crackers." Whoa, there was nothing benign about this! House made smoked hot-link sausage served with pimento cheese, and black pepper cheddar crackers and pickled onions. Absolutely addictive!
|Fried Green Tomatoes|
Still on appetizers...next up, the Bar-B-Que Shrimp. Wild-caught Louisiana Gulf shrimp sautéed in a Creole butter sauce and served over grilled corn bread. Just like being on the Bayou!
|Korean Chicken Wings|
|The Pitmasters - don't mess with them!|
The Newark location has 160 employees, including two pit masters. They have 12 people just in the finishing kitchen on the main floor. The three smokers are in the basement and they go through at least two cords of wood each week. That's hickory wood. They do all their own butchering, and all the BBQ gets inspected and approved by a manager before it gets served. This is a very hands-on operation. The managers must learn every aspect of the restaurant and learn to make all the food, even the sausage.
We asked Scott what they do with any ribs that perhaps don't make the cut for the manager's approval. Like any restaurant, they put it to good use. Here, they make an incredibly delicious BBQ Fried Rice. You read that right. It was fabulous.
There is a full bar with a large list of great cocktails, wines,and craft beers. They even put their smoking expertise to use here. Their winter beer is a Smoked Porter. The hops are smoked and then sent back to the brewer for finishing.
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, which is adjacent to the Prudential Center, will soon open an outside dining area. Inside, they've got seating for 200. In the future, they'll open a private dining room for 60, and will even offer "whole hog." Sign me up!
Three to six months before the opening, they put a sign out for "help wanted." They were inundated with applicants. They hired all locals, some for whom this is a second chance. Management didn't hire a Pastry Chef - they hired someone who needed a job and could be taught the recipes. Like the areas that the restaurants are in, it has more to do with the building than the location. They look for buildings with character. They use reclaimed furniture, the bar top is made from old beams. Seems to me they've got the right idea. By going into areas that are underdeveloped, they're transforming more than just buildings.
224 Market St.
Open Monday-Thursday: 11:30am - 11:00pm
Friday and Saturday: 11:30am - Midnight
Sunday: 11:30am - 10:00pm