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Review: Dr. BBQ in St. Petersburg, Florida

Sarah has eaten at many barbecue restaurants in Florida over the years.

Dr. BBQ is located in St. Petersburg, Florida

Dr. BBQ is located in St. Petersburg, Florida

What Is Dr. BBQ?

Dr. BBQ is a barbecue restaurant located in the historic downtown section of St. Petersburg, Florida. The restaurant is owned by Ray Lempe, aka Dr. BBQ, and he opened his doors in October 2018.

Dr. BBQ serves a variety of traditional barbecue items such as ribs, pulled pork, and beef brisket. However, this restaurant is very different from other traditional barbeque purveyors because they serve some unique food that you won't find anywhere else—like Tai Pei Street Corn and Frito Chips Pie.

I ate here for the first time in early 2019 and hadn't been back for three years. I finally returned yesterday, and now I will give you an honest review of this restaurant.

The Menu

As I said before, Dr. BBQ offers many traditional barbecue items, including beef brisket, pulled pork, sausage, and ribs. However, they also serve many unique items that you wouldn't normally find at a barbecue restaurant. In some ways, it is like a fusion of different flavors and cultures.


One appetizer, called Tai Pei Street Corn, is fire-roasted corn basted in honey-Sriracha aioli and then garnished with sesame seeds and cilantro. Another appetizer, called Nana's Frito Pie, consists of Frito chips with chile, queso, and jalapeños. Other appetizer choices include fried cauliflower with garlic oil, cornbread madeleines, half pineapple with a brown sugar cinnamon rum glaze, kimchi fries, chile mac 'n' cheese, and chicken wings.

Owner's Favorites

There's a section of the menu listing the owner's favorite foods. Options include a combination of a quarter smoked chicken with white barbeque sauce and a half rack of St. Louis ribs; nachos with beef brisket; house-made pork rinds with sweet barbecue sauce, queso, pico de gallo, lime crema, and pickled onions; ribs made with Korean barbecue sauce and topped with sesame seeds and green onions; and meatloaf with barbecue sauce and a baked potato.

Traditional Barbecue Items

There are also traditional barbecue items as I mentioned previously. You can order pulled chicken, smoked turkey, beef sausage, jalapeño cheddar sausage, beef brisket, pulled pork, sliced pastrami, pork belly, half chicken, St. Louis ribs, grilled salmon, and their specialty which is burnt ends of beef.

All of these platters come with two sides, pickles, onion, and white bread. If you want more variety when it comes to the traditional meats, you can also order two of the meats and two sides or four of the meats with four sides. You can also order most of these meats by the pound if you're going to be taking your meat to go.

Side Dishes

There are many sides that you can order such as; fries, chile mac 'n' cheese, barbecue beans, bacon blue cheese coleslaw, purple cabbage coleslaw, potato salad, green salad, collard greens, tortillas, Texas toast, house-made kimchi, smashed fingerling potatoes with Ray's original barbecue butter, Brussels sprouts, and cowboy caviar, which consists of roasted corn, black beans, cilantro, tomatoes, onion, garlic, lime juice, and jalapeños.

Sandwiches and Tacos

If none of these items sound appetizing, the menu also offers sandwiches. There are many sandwiches such as a smoked chicken sandwich, beef brisket with cheese sandwich, pulled pork sandwiches, a pastrami sandwich, a turkey breast sandwich, and even a vegan burger. All the sandwiches come with fries, too.

Don't want sandwiches? How about tacos? They also serve Korean barbecue pork belly tacos, beef tacos, vegan meat tacos, tacos al pastor, and smoked pulled chicken tacos.


After all these savory items, it's time to talk about desserts. They serve pineapple upside-down cake, bourbon chocolate cake, banana pudding parfait, and peanut butter pie with various chocolates and cookies.

Delicious barbecue

Delicious barbecue

Food Quality

I ordered the two-meat platter and tried the beef brisket and pulled pork. I enjoyed my beef brisket a lot because it was very tender and not at all chewy. Also, the homemade sweet sauce was very good and went well with my food. However, the fries were just average and didn't have any taste and my pulled pork was dry and resembled pulled chicken. I had to drown my pulled pork in barbecue sauce to make it have any flavor. I'm unsure if this was due to the pulled pork sitting around or if it was almost empty from lunch but I didn't enjoy my pulled pork at all. My husband also didn't enjoy his meal and said it was only average. I tried the Jack Daniel's barbecue beans from his plate and they tasted like eating Mexican food so they didn't blend at all with the flavors of traditional barbecue. Therefore, I didn't enjoy them, either.


The prices are pretty average for a barbecue restaurant. Most of the dishes are between $10-$20, with the exception of the chicken and ribs costing $26, and a full rack of St. Louis ribs costing $34. Most of the appetizers and all of the side items cost less than $10 so if you're looking for something cheaper, you can try an appetizer or a side item. Barbecue is generally a more expensive food, so the prices are pretty normal.

Restaurant interior

Restaurant interior

Atmosphere and Service

Dr. BBQ has a very big location. There is both outdoor and indoor seating as well as upstairs and downstairs seating. The restaurant has a very relaxed vibe and the decorations are very unique. The staff were very kind and attentive.

Unfortunately, because we came between the lunch and dinner rush, some of the traditional and more popular barbecue items were unavailable so we weren't able to have the best experience possible. However, the employees were very nice and asked us if we would like to eat something else.

My Verdict

Even though the employees were nice, I'm unsure if I will be returning in the future. Although I didn't enjoy the food very much, this was the most unique barbecue restaurant I've ever been to and this restaurant is worth seeing if you're looking for unique food.

© 2022 Sarah Wong