For its second act, Dang BBQ could not have picked a setting more different from the first. In stark contrast to the aggressively plain brick building that has housed the Islip barbecue restaurant since 2017, Dang 2.0 opened Monday in the blindingly shiny structure that had been the Seaford Palace Diner from the '90s until late last year. (The diner went through a few owners, a few furloughs, and a brief run, in 2016 as The Friendly Greek.)
With the exception of Dang BBQ signage, the building’s exterior remains untouched (is it my imagination or is it even shinier?) but inside, owner Anthony Mastrantonio has transformed the dining room into a rollicking modern smokehouse. There are booths and tables; one counter is now a proper bar, the other, a “milkshake bar” where you can watch Dang’s signature overtopped shakes being crafted.
With about 130 seats, Seaford’s Dang is more than twice the size of Islip’s. The menu is the same at both locations. When I reviewed Dang BBQ in 2018, I noted the pulled pork, “sweet, tangy and smoky in the right proportions” and the brisket, “thick, ragged slices of juicy beefiness,” as well as many good-humored Baroque signatures such as the Aporkalypse Now 2.0 (a burrito filled with pulled pork, smoked sausage, bacon, French fries, onion rings, cheese sauce and sweet barbecue sauce), the Farmer’s Sunrise burger (with melted American cheese and Cheddar cheese sauce, bacon and a fried egg) and the Melissa hot dog (with cheese sauce, chopped brisket, fried onion tanglers and spicy barbecue sauce).
Pitmaster Brian Chichester oversees both restaurants, but he’ll be spending most of his time in Seaford. Looking after the Islip smoker will be Brian Welti, a smoking veteran who gigged at, among other Long Island restaurants, Smoked Barn in Lake Ronkonkoma, Stuey’s Smokehouse in Locust Valley, Pig & Queen in Rockville Centre and Fatwood Southern Kitchen in Bay Shore (the last two, have since closed).
Both Dangs are open every day, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Dang BBQ is at 3864 Merrick Rd., Seaford, 516-682-2855, and 174 Islip Ave., Islip, 631-581-3264, dangbbq.com.