Located on Broadway (Route 28) just before the canal, Three Dogz Diner is a restored diner car with an additional extension. As you walk in, you pass the compact kitchen and are immediately overtaken by the aromas of onions and meats wafting off the grills. There's a small model Southern Pride smoker in the corner. The dining area is a mix of antiques and country-homey touches with a canine connection. The views are fascinating, combining waterfalls against an industrial backdrop.
Three Dogz Diner is first and foremost a diner, offering the usual array of eggs, morning pastries and lunch sandwiches. Barbecue is a subset of the regular menu in the form of smoked turkey, pork and brisket sandwiches. On Fridays and Saturdays from mid-afternoon on, ribs are available. Pies seem to be a specialty of the house.
I stopped into Three Dogz Diner with a barbecue buddy for a Saturday lunch, a little too early for the ribs.
Biscuits: Light color, light texture, no greasiness. That was a good thing for the fingers and a good thing for the diet (ha!) but a bad thing for the palate. Grease equals flavor, and these lacked flavor.
Turkey sandwich: It wasn't clear on the menu, so I asked, and this is a smoked item. Ordered on Texas toast, this arrived with about six layers of 3/16" slices, each looking very much like deli meat. The edges had a nice golden brown color. Closer to the center, the turkey didn't have much (if any) of a smoky scent, and taste followed suit. The meat had a nice, fresh texture. The individual pieces were a little dry, but there was something about that six-layers-of-meat construction that produced some moisture upon bite. Overall flavor, despite the lack of smoke, was at least decent, with a cranberry chutney (served on the side) helping it along.
Pork sandwich: I forget if this was billed as pulled pork or simply smoked pork, but it definitely wasn't pulled. Instead, the pork arrived (this time ordered on a bulkie roll) in an arrangement similar to the turkey, with about six layers of 3/16" slices, each with a darker, more flavorful outer crust. Again there was not much smoky flavor or smoky taste, but the pork had a fragrant quality to both the smell and favor that was quite appealing. Overall texture was very similar to your typical deli turkey, but with more moisture and a more homey feel. As a barbecue sandwich, it was a letdown, but viewed strictly as a sliced pork sandwich, it was satisfying.
Brisket sandwich: Another sandwich ordered on a roll, this kept pace (and then some) with even thinner deli-like slices, an even crispier exterior (that's good), a much dryer texture (not so good) and light (if any) smoke. Like the pork, it was hardly what I think of when I think of barbecue brisket, but the stacking of thin slices made it at least workable. Unlike the pork, the brisket really depended on the addition of barbecue sauce for both moisture and flavor.
Three homemade sauces are brought to the table in squeeze bottles. Mustard is surprisingly tomato based and looks like your everyday Kansas City sweet barbecue sauce, but the mustard kick hits you immediately. House looks and tastes like your everyday Kansas City sweet barbecue sauce. There's a little too much "yellow factor' for me, but it does add some zip. Vinegar sauce was similarly tomato based but had a nice smooth texture and some tanginess to balance the sweetness.
Macaroni and cheese was very unusual, made up in a pie shell and served pie-like as a wedge. The cheese was neither moist nor generous; muted flavor compounded the disappointment. Cole slaw picked things up with crisp cabbage and a creamy, tangy dressing. Potato salad returned to bland basics with the fresh potatoes pretty much standing on their own.
The Bottom Line
A charming little place with some homey touches. Looked at as a barbecue joint, Three Dogz Diner comes up short, but treated strictly as a sandwich spot, it's a breath of fresh air. I'll be back someday to try the ribs. I'm just not sure when.
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