We tried the casual barbecue restaurant that New Yorkers rave about to see if it’s really worth the hype

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Hollis Johnson

While New York City may be one of the most famous cities in the world, there’s one thing it just has no claim to: barbecue.

But Mighty Quinn’s Barbeque is looking to change that.

With its humble beginnings as a food stall at Brooklyn’s open-air food market, Smorgasburg, Quinn’s has grown to eight locations in New York and New Jersey on the strength of its amazing barbecue.

It’s even spreading internationally, with smokey goodness in four countries, the latest having just opened in Manila, The Philippines.

And with glowing reviews over the years – including one from Pete Wells of The New York Times – I decided to head down to the East Village to see (or taste, rather) for myself how Mighty Quinn’s is bringing a barbecue renaissance to NYC.


There are eight locations stateside — six in New York City and one in New Jersey. I swung by the East Village Quinn’s in Manhattan on 2nd Avenue and East 6th Street.

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Hollis Johnson

The food is served cafeteria style, and the staff is very friendly and rather knowledgeable about the food.

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Hollis Johnson

The interior is very dark thanks to the trendy yet dim choice of Edison bulbs on all the lights. Dark, raw wood is everywhere, including the tables, which apparently are salvaged from old New York City buildings. It feels like a more inviting Chipotle interior: fast-casual chic, but folksy and warm.

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Hollis Johnson

The menu is straightforward: You can order the barbecued meats in a sandwich, naked, or even by the pound. I’m very curious as to what the “Brontosaurus Rib” is — sure sounds intimidating.

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Hollis Johnson

You can watch your mouth-watering meat sliced and prepped right in front of you seconds after you order.

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Hollis Johnson

Also worth mentioning is the restaurant’s coleslaw: I ordered the vinegar coleslaw, while there is also a mayonnaise-based option. It tastes very light and fresh, and has a satisfying crunch throughout.

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Hollis Johnson

The prices are relatively on par with most fast-casual chains; you can get a substantial meal for between $8 and $15.

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Hollis Johnson

The servings are pretty beefy — no pun intended. I ordered a brisket sandwich, a smoked-sausage sandwich, “dirty frites,” and burnt-end baked beans, plus a fresh ginger ale.

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Hollis Johnson

First off, the ginger ale. It’s a special unfiltered brand brewed right across the East River in Brooklyn. This tastes like real ginger ale. It’s light, effervescent, and incredibly refreshing. It’s unfiltered, so there is a gingery pulp swishing about at the bottom that lends a strong ginger taste. Of course, beer is also on tap for a true barbecue experience.

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Hollis Johnson

The “dirty frites” are Mighty Quinn’s smokey, outstanding, barbecued take on loaded fries. The thick fries are drizzled in a surprisingly spicy chili-lime sauce that has quite the bite.

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Hollis Johnson

Chunks of fatty and tender burnt ends are mixed in, and it’s topped with tangy red onions and fresh scallions. You can pick at it with your fingers, but to finish all that soggy, spicy, rich splendor, you’re gonna need a fork.

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Hollis Johnson

Next, the beans. In a word, they’re … perfect. There’s a slight tartness to the sauce, hinting at flavors of mustard and vinegar, as well as sweet molasses. The generous addition of burnt-end chunks that simply melt in your mouth lends a rich, savory, and smokey taste that rounds these beans out magnificently.

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Hollis Johnson

The brisket sandwich, while a tad on the dry side, is pretty fantastic. The bun is hearty, sturdy, and fluffy — enough to stand up to the myriad barbecue juices flooding the tray. The brisket itself is very tender, as the thin slices break apart easily. It’s a simple smokey flavor with some charred sweetness coming from the burnt edges thrown in for good measure.

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Hollis Johnson

Like I said before, it came across as a tad dry — but a splash of the house barbecue sauce easily fixes that. The sauce is a beautiful marriage of the two barbecue traditions: mustard-based flavors and vinegar-based flavoring.

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Hollis Johnson

The smoked sausage is surprisingly vibrant; it’s peppery and savory without succumbing to fattiness or grease. And while nothing sets it apart as a star of Mighty Quinn’s menu, it’s delicious nonetheless.

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Hollis Johnson

Overall, the meal was pretty extraordinary. I’m by no means a barbecue connoisseur, but Mighty Quinn’s is rather impressive — and worth a visit.

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Hollis Johnson