The Blue Mingo Grill and the Blue Mingoes

The Blue Mingo Grill grew to what it is today from the humble beginnings of a small establishment at Sam Smith's Boatyard known as "Dot's Landing," which opened its equally small doors to some starving local fishermen and sailors in 1987. Many locals and visitors alike will remember the gourmet hot dogs that were produced there every summer until demand for more extensive offerings necessitated the establishment of The Blue Mingo Grill in 1994.

For several years before that the owners of the Boatyard, Michael and Cory Moffat, had entertained friends at their small weekend cabin in the woods, where the lack of electricity meant that all the proffered victuals, from appetizers to desserts, had to be prepared over an open fire.

Due to this necessity an entirely new cuisine was born, one that was based on a variety of international influences and steeped in the ethnic diversity of outdoor cooking. It is this unique combination of fresh ingredients, varied cooking methods and ethnic origins which serve as the basis for the "Creative Grill Cuisine" of The Blue Mingo Grill.

The Mingo Indians were among the tribes most feared by early settlers from Virginia to Canada. The name Mingo, assigned by Indians of other tribes, means despised, contemptible and unworthy. Originally based along the Susquehanna River from Otsego Lake to the Chesapeake Bay, the Mingoes were allied at various times with a number of tribes of the Iroquois Nation, and while considered by many whites to be part of that group, the Mingoes were generally shunned by Indians and whites alike as a result of their particularly violent and unfriendly nature.

In fact, one need not be born a Mingo to become one. Evidence suggests that an Indian of any tribe who displayed a high enough degree of evil, dishonor, greed or general wickedness to be cast out of his own tribe, would be welcomed into the Mingo ranks.

Captain John Smith encountered several canoes filled with Mingo warriors in 1608, and Thomas Jefferson wrote that the Mingoes were "in war, daring, cunning, ruthless and wicked." George Washington noted seeing Mingoes living as far west as the Ohio River by the 1760s. In one of James Fenimore Cooper's salient Leatherstocking Tales, The Deerslayer, Natty Bumppo called the Mingoes "nat'rally perverse and wicked," and they appear throughout Cooper's works as the perpetual bad guys of the early frontier. 

The Mingoes were particularly despised by the American colonists as a result of their strong alliances with the French during the French and Indian wars, when several massacres perpetrated by the Mingoes and their half-breed chief, John Logan, were reported.

Due to the darkness of either their deeds or their skin, these bad guys were often referred to as the "Black Mingoes" or the "Blue Mingoes."

The first recorded contact with a Mingo warrior on Otsego Lake, which led to his death, is said to have been along the cove at the mouth of the Leatherstocking Creek, where Sam Smith's Boatyard now stands. 

Blue Mingo Grill


Closed for the 2017 Season!


12:00 pm to 4:00 pm


5:00pm to Close

 A Bar Menu is available

from 4:00pm to Closing at the bar

Reservations are recommended for dinner.

 Lunch reservations available for parties of 6 or more.

To make a reservation, please call 607-547-7496