Spice rubbed meat, slowly smoked and roasted outside: We're smelling it wafting through the air all over Central New York this Memorial Day weekend, as we work in our yards, walk our dogs, ride our bikes and take in parades. We're doing the barbecue thing ourselves today, and the thought of leaving the work to someone else is what lured us to the Limp Lizard Roadside Cantina and Catering Depot on Main Street (Route 11) in North Syracuse last night. The small restaurant is a suburban outpost of the popular Limp Lizard Lounge on Onondaga Boulevard, on the west side of Syracuse.
THE VIBE: Barbecue and bikers go together like leather and denim, and we wondered if we'd be the only diners not to arrive on a Harley and accessorize ourselves with tattoos. We found a mixed crowd: Twenty- and thirtysomethings, families, bikers and senior citizens, some dining inside and others sharing space and talking 'cue at picnic tables under umbrellas outside.
LIQUID ASSETS: You'll find about 10 beers on tap and wines by the glass. The locavore in us was drawn to the Limp Lizard Ale, brewed by Middle Ages Brewing Company in Syracuse. Refreshing! THE MENU: Besides stuff from the smoker and food with Tex-Mex (quesadillas) and Louisiana flavor (jambalaya), you'll find soups, salads, appetizers, burgers, sandwiches and wraps. There's also a selection of family takeout dinners with your choice of sides, designed to serve four people.
CHOWIN' DOWN: Robert settled on the "kick butt" Carolina pulled pork with coleslaw on the side. The meat was moist, tender and somewhat smoky in flavor and piled high on a soft white roll. He was happy with his choice of sides, collard greens (you don't see those on menus every day) and nicely browned and crisped French fries.
I had the southwestern chicken salad, which has a tortilla bowl as a base. It was filled with romaine, iceberg and spring greens, layered with pulled/shredded chicken, shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, red onion and sliced olives and topped with southwest ranch dressing, served on the side. The salad was dense and filling with all its layers and textures, and two people could easily share one, along with a shared appetizer or plate of cornbread. WHAT'S A VEGETARIAN GOING TO FIND?: Baked black bean soup served in a bread bowl; a house salad; bean tacos; fried mushrooms (an appetizer) and sides like slaw, roasted corn, macaroni salad and cornbread. You might be in carnivore heaven, but you'll find plenty to make a meal of. DESSERT: A selection of pies, cakes and other sugary things changes daily. The Big Dip, a popular spot for soft-serve ice cream is two doors down and was enjoying a steady stream of traffic on a nice night. We headed to Geddes Bakery, also on Main Street, and lined up for an Italian-style frozen treat: gelato. Dozens of flavors of it. THE DAMAGES: $26 for two meals and two beers (and $8 more for two small dishes of gelato). WOULD WE GO BACK? If we're in the neighborhood and in the mood for barbecue, you bet. DETAILS: The Limp Lizard Roadside Cantina and Catering Depot is at 224 N. Main St., North Syracuse. Phone: 315-299-5747.