Daisy May’s BBQ Cart: the best-scratch that- ONLY BBQ in Midtown

New Yorkers love their BBQ.  If you doubt that, try going to the Big Apple BBQ Fest at the beginning of the summer in Bryant Park Madison Sq. Park (I’m retarded).  I had read tons about it- but couldn’t believe what I saw when I actually went.  People waiting hours in line to buy these tiny $7 plates of BBQ from different vendors from across the country.  And if you want to try all the different choices, you’ve got to go with an entourage of friends, each waiting in a separate line.  Go alone and you have to sit in 3 different one hour lines to get what would be considered a meals worth of food.  And worst of all- what does it say about the BBQ places in New York City?  Are they so bad that you’d be willing to wait an hour for four baby back ribs from Illinois.

Well, despite people’s willingness to wait hours in line every June in Madison Sq. Park, there are *some* decent BBQ places in NYC.  Which one is the “best” is always up for debate- you know, when people aren’t arguing about where to get the “best” burger in town.  (Actually the irony of the BBQ fest being in Madison Sq. Park was not lost on me.  It is also home to the longest burger line in New York City.)

Lucky for us in Midtown there is no real dispute as to where the best BBQ is.  Seeing that Dinosaur, R.U.B., and Blue Smoke are all outside of Midtown- it leaves only one true choice for the best BBQ (for the purposes of this blog of course).  Daisy May’s BBQ.  (Beware those of you who feel the need to speak up for Virgil’s on 44th… unless you want to be accused of being a tourist who knows nothing of good BBQ). 

The actual Daisy May’s restaurant is on 11th Ave. & 46th St., but they have graced Midtown with the presence of THREE carts serving BBQ sandwiches and chili during lunchtime.  I thought everyone knew about Daisy May’s…  but once again, I brought my sandwich back to my desk, and the guy next to me asked where I got it.  I had to answer “The BBQ cart.  You know… the one that is right outside the entrance of our building”.  Of course, this is the same guy who asked if my sandwich from Cosi was a falafel…  (If you work next to someone like this- and I know you do, please forward them a link to this blog.  They need our help the most…)

Pictures, where you can find the three different carts,  and the +/- after the jump…

DSC00887First off, if you’ve been to the actual Daisy May’s, you must lower your expectations.  Because it’s a cart, there is a limited menu.  Aside from there being very few side dishes, there are sadly no ribs.  Your choices are the Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich ($8), Texas Chopped Beef Brisket ($8), BBQ Chicken Sandwich ($7), or the Big Bowl o’ Red Texas Style Chili ($6).  The Pulled Pork sandwich comes with a side of coleslaw (that clearly should be put into the sandwich if you know anything about anything), but the other two sandwiches don’t come with any side dishes.  Cajun dirty rice and beans are available for an extra $1.  There’s also sweet tea for $3.

If you don’t like your BBQ saucy, then you probably won’t be into the sandwiches at Daisy May’s.  The meat is already mixed with the sauce.  It’s sweet, and there’s a lot of it.  So if you don’t like your BBQ sweet, or saucy, this probably isn’t your place.  If you don’t mind that, then you just found a new best friend.  They also insure that you’ve got the best sandwich possible when you get back to your office by putting the meat in it’s own plastic container (separate from the bread).  I guess it helps people who are cutting down on carbs as well (???), but I won’t acknowledge that +, because those people are crazy, and don’t deserve to be eating BBQ anyway.

I’ve had the Pulled Pork and the Brisket sandwich and both are delicious (and messy) as long as you don’t mind your BBQ sweet and saucy.  While I haven’t had it, I’ve read that there is “no better chili to be had” in Manhattan then the one at Daisy May’s. So if you’ve got the craving for BBQ, and you work in Midtown- Daisy May’s is clearly for you… (although now that I think about it, it’s not as good as that Whole Hog Sandwich I had at the Big Apple BBQ Fest last June- you should really check it out next year.  It’s definitely worth waiting in those lines…)

THE + (What people who like this place will say)

  • If you want real BBQ, there’s no other choice in Midtown (especially if you want a quick lunch)
  • Quick and easy to take back to your office.  Everything comes separate, so you can assemble the sandwich when you’re ready to eat it (keeping the bread intact!)

THE – (What people who don’t like this place will say)

  • It’s a little expensive.  (But when you consider what $8 buys you at most midtown lunch places- it’s not too bad)
  • There’s no ribs!
  • There’s no side dishes!
  • Only the pulled pork comes with cole slaw
  • Too sweet.  Too much sauce.
  • It doesn’t hold a candle to (insert name here), this place I ate at in (insert Memphis, Texas, Arkansas or any other red state, here) 

Daisy May’s BBQ Cart, 3 Locations

  1. 50th St. btw. 6+7th
  2. 55th St. btw. 6+7th
  3. 47th St. & Park Ave.


  • It’s not Bryant Park, it’s Madison Square Park..

  • You left out the biggest plus: the sweet tea (with mint) comes in mason jars. Not only do you get a nice beverage, you get a jar that you can store thigns in, or just use to decorate your desk with. Having tried everything there aside from the chicken, I can say that the red beans and rice is bland and dry, but the chili (basically just chunks of beef in sauce) is quiet good.

    By the way, the Big Apple BBQ fest and the Shake Shack are both in Madison Square Park, not Bryant Park, as I’m sure you know. Hudson River Park’s Blues and BBQ festival is this Sunday. I suspect the lines there will be shorter, since some people are too lazy to go that far west for anything.

  • I tried the chili today and it was delicious. As Jesse mentioned, it’s pretty heavy on the meat. No beans. And there are red onions, cheese, sour cream, and a flour tortilla on the side. Not bad for $6.

    As a rule, I don’t drink out of Mason jars, so I grabbed a soda from the adjacent halal cart.

  • I tried the pulled pork sandwich today. It’s more than I’d like to pay for a sandwich, but a nice once-in-awhile treat. I had no idea they had a cart around here.. thanks for the info. :)

  • I had the BBQ chicken sandwich and a sweet tea. Delish !! I love how they serve the sweet tea in a mason jar. Not bad for 10 bucks.($7 sand. $3 tea) The sweet tea is a MUST have if you ask me….

  • My girlfriend goes to this place almost daily.

    Or she talks about it almost daily.

    Either way, definitely worth the hype.

  • I jumped in and tried the pulled pork sandwich today as the 49th St. cart is literally outside my building. Loved it, could easily eat another one! I made a mess with it of course, more napkins would have been helpful. I also liked the rice and beans but I seem to be in the minority.

  • I’ve tried the pull-pork several times and have had inconsistent quality. Still good nonetheless. Will try the chili soon.

  • What about spanky’s? what do people think of the food there? Daisy May BBQ – unfortunately, no ribs.

  • The cart at 47th and Park has been gone for a month. Does anyone know where it went? The others are too far. Sigh.

  • I hear what you are saying about Virgil’s being touristy, but the one thing that Virgil’s does really well is a pulled pork sandwich. If that’s what you crave, Daisy May’s cart is a distant 2nd. Actually, not even 2nd, because I’d take Margon’s (different style) pulled pork over Daisy May’s as well. Daisy May’s cole slaw – required any time you have a pulled pork sandwich – is tasteless.

  • I noticed that the link to best burger and best chili were both my posts on Chowhound. I’m flattered. thanks.

  • I got really excited after reading this review, but I went on down there on my lunch hour today and couldn’t find the damn kart anywhere! Seriously, I looked on 49th street first (I work on 50th and I’m lazy), couldn’t find it. Walked up to 55th — nothing! Is this kart still away in April? By the way, your site’s fantastic. I’ve been working here for months, my friend James just showed me your site (we both know Adam Roberts from school), and thank god for it, cause I thought I was stuck with Cosi and Au Bon Pan.

  • any word on when their carts are coming back out?

  • chefesque: i ate there yesterday, 50th btwn6th/7th

  • well, I must admit….

    The Chili is damn good. This isn’t even chili… its a paper cup full of tender beef and sauce. Not a bean to be had. Great flavor. Lean meat. Quality stuff.

    The BBQ Beef sandwich was surprisingly good. Great bun and plenty of beef to make sure it falls out and stains something you are wearing. Pickles and onions make the sandwich.

    I’ll be back.

  • I had the chili today. OH MY GOD. Amazing. They were actually sold out of everything but Chili. Must mean it’s all GOOOOOD!

  • Real Chili hain’t got no beans………..ever won know thet.

  • I’ll try out Daisy Mae’s carts in warmer weather, but to this Texan Virgil’s brisket ain’t bad. I don’t like the sides – the potato salad is too dill-y and the pickles are just all wrong. But in three out of four brisket sandwiches I’ve had there, the brisket was done right (falling-apart tender, very smoky, fat left on). And their sauce is good, in a city where ‘bbq sauce’ sometimes means ‘ketchup’.

    Of course, you’re paying an insane amount to sit down with tourists and power lunchers, the decor is hokey and the service is … meh. But if you need a fix you need a fix, and they’re both climate-controlled and less than a block from my office. Hard to beat in winter.

  • It’s not on 50th bt. 6th and 7th. Does anyone know where it went?

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