About Us

Underdog BBQ definition of the name

Erie Pennsylvania, to many, is considered an underdog city. Its people define hard work, perseverance and overcoming odds stacked against them. The rise of local foods, breweries, small businesses and start-ups along with a growing arts and culture scene highlight the city’s willingness to embrace and succeed in the role of the underdog.

Underdog BBQ was founded by a group of Erie entrepreneurs who wanted to open a restaurant and create a sauce that represents the city of its origin. Like Erie, its local businesses, its people and the promise of its future...this dog is still in the fight.

Fight like the underdog. Eat like the Underdog.

Our Restaurant

Underdog BBQ Erie PA
3040 West Lake Rd.
Erie, PA 16505

Sunday - Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday - Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Meet the Underdog Team

RJ Messenger

RJ Messenger

Owner of Iron Empire Clothing. RJ has made quite the name for himself as well as his business, in Erie and nationwide. Over the last three years he has spoken on multiple occasions on both business and personal subjects. He lives by the saying, "I'm not in the business of making money, I'm in the business of changing lives."


Matt Sanders

Matt SandersA veteran with extensive experience in the fields of Information Technology and Crisis Management. Matt’s passion has been volunteering wherever he is needed, firefighter, search and rescue, emergency management, Team Rubicon and more. Using his knowledge and experience to make a difference to those in need is the core of who Matt is.

Cleat Collins

Cleat CollinsWith 30+ years of experience working in the Erie City School District, Cleat is well known for his service to the youth but even more recognized for his meat-smoking skills. Seriously, this guy knows meat and when you taste Underdog BBQ, you will see why he’s our Pit Master (emphasis on “Master).

Dawn Van Scoter

Dawn Van ScoterA Custom Painter and Designer, Dawn started painting furniture by day and bartending a night until she was able to quit her bartender job and paint full time. She opened Nine20 Furnishings & Design House in 2015 and then in May 2019, she opened her second store, Mercantile 89, selling antiques, vintage, and salvaged goods. 

Chris Norris

Chris NorrisThe Social Media Marketing Consultant joined the team shortly before leaving his corporate job to pursue his passion of consulting with brands and businesses full-time. Chris has extensive background in social media marketing along with video production and web design and has worked in professional sports, higher education and ministry. 

Chris Trott

Chris TrottOwner of Second Chance Restoration and Design, a full service metal fabrication company focusing on customized metal products, Chris brings experience, creativity and personality to the Underdog team. This guy built our smoker.

Michael Loveranes

Michael LoveranesDubbed by ManBQue Erie (local grill club) as their resident smoker, Michael has a combined 15+ years behind the grill & pit. Michael is very familiar with starting as the underdog having spent the last 15 years building corporate teams that blow past the the industry leaders. In all things he believes: We're going to do things in ways yet to be imagined! 

Armando Reyes

Armando ReyesOwner of Lake Erie Woodworks and Lake Erie Drumworks, Armando specializes in custom furniture, carpentry and is an all around handy man. Bringing Erie back one project at a time.