SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, located on the corner of West Willow St. and North Franklin St. in downtown Syracuse, is celebrating its 35th anniversary this week.
What started with a party this past Sunday, where all proceeds were donated to the Food Bank of Central New York, Dinosaur is commemorating a now-35-year run that started in the late ’80’s — when the bar didn’t even have a liquor license.
In 1988, John Stage took over the N&H Tavern, which was a St. Louis Cardinals bar in Central New York, and created Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.
“Before they were even open,” Syracuse.com food critic Charlie Miller remembers, “a bunch of reporters would go out to lunch. And we went in [to Dinosaur] and it was unlike any food I’d had in Syracuse at the time. They didn’t even have a liquor license!”
Once Dinosaur got that liquor license, though, it was full steam ahead for the burgeoning restaurant.
“It wasn’t long [before Dinosaur became popular],” Miller said. “It took off very quickly, especially once they got the license. It was becoming very, very profitable. It became more and more busy. By 1992, it was really big and it kept expanding.”
Known for its Southern-style meats and brews, Dinosaur also has a very welcoming, and exciting, atmosphere. It has helped the restaurant open six different locations across the Northeast, as well as start a line of sauces and rubs. Dinosaur was even once voted “America’s best barbecue” in ABC’s Good Morning America poll.
Looking ahead, Miller says the sky’s the limit for what Dinosaur Bar-B-Que could do next — mostly because of owner Stage.
“I don’t know what he could do next, but I’m certain it will succeed.”