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.


  • great story i cook bbq all the time,l’m very glad for you.

  • Uhhhhmmm aren’t we forgetting Spanky’s???? I don’t care what anyone says… (outside of their attempts at fried foods) their Barbecue is freakin’ awesome!!! (anyone who orders fried $#¡â€  there gets a ‘Tard Card) but get the combo platter, it seems expensive but unless you’re a rhinocerous, its 2 complete meals… I Swear!!! AND I CAN REALLY PACK IT IN!!! Check it.

  • Seafood: You are obviously the freaking originator, sponsor & poster child for the Tard Card. Your shrill postings warrant nothing, except a tall cool glass of SHUT THE FUCK UP. You have no idea what you’re talking about, and since folks like you don’t listen to reason, just take your hands off the keyboard and pray to your deity for deliverance from ignorance.

  • I’m glad a Texas transplant can demonstrate that Virgil’s can transcend the “barbecue elitism” that some people have adopted. Sure, Virgil’s isn’t “Real Barbecue” in the same way that Chinese restaurants in NYC don’t serve “Real Chinese”. In both cases, it’s good enough (perhaps even better). Frankly, I like Virgil’s brisket better than RUB, as whenever I’ve had brisket there, it’s been far too dry (and I don’t like saucing barbecue). Then again, Katz’s pastrami has ruined me for brisket in general as they’ve set a standard for brisket succulence that’s unachievable by anyone else. Lastly, I’ve yet to have any wings that can top Virgil’s (though comparing traditional wings with Virgil’s is comparing apples to oranges).

  • Here is a bit of the review that I wrote on my little site . . . maybe it will entice you to read some more?!

    “The only thing that was a bit rough was the $4.00 sweet tea – but again – since it was brewed in tea heaven in pitchers held by ancient gods that used cherub tears to get it to that perfect sweetness and sprigs of mint delicately harvested from the untouched (by dirty human hands) mint fields of legend to infuse the taste with an extra special level of depth . . . I really can’t complain – I mean criminy – how much is gas these days?!”

  • I was going to ask if you were a teacher and prone to sharing outtakes from an introductory essay assignment in a HS freshman english composition class but then I clicked on the link, saw the second entry and all was revealed.

  • Can anyone tell me where one of the carts is located these days?

  • Not a big fan of their brisket or pulled pork, but when you’re the only game around, people (especially in NYC) think the style and trappings make the food.

    The chili (as a hater of normal bean-ey chili) is astonishingly good, and not a dish you find a lot of around.

  • The Chilli is not really chilli more like beef in a bbq/chilli type sauce. I thought it was good but chilli it is not.

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