The idea was hatched by founder John Stage and his two partners at the Harley Rendezvous, a massive motorcycle gathering near Albany, N.Y. The three partners believed that bikers deserve a good plate of food and that the Dinosaur could provide it. For five years, the Dinosaur's home was the road, where they served good bar-b-que at motorcycle shows, fairs, and festivals throughout the Northeast.
Burned out from life on the road, the Dinosaur settled in 1988 in downtown Syracuse, N.Y., as a quick-service lunch/dinner bar-b-que joint. In 1990, the restaurant tripled in size, adding a full bar, full service dining and live music. Since then, Dinosaur has opened nine additional locations: Rochester, NY (1998); Harlem, NY (2004); Troy, NY (2010); Newark, NJ (2012); Stamford, CT (2012); Brooklyn, NY (2013); Buffalo, NY (2014); and Baltimore, MD (2015).
Our bar-b-que is nationally acclaimed. Our food and sauces have won honors in publications such as Men’s Health and Eating Well magazines. We were named the country's Number One BBQ on Good Morning America and have been featured on various Food Network and Travel Channel shows. Our spice rub and full line of specialty sauces are available throughout the country and in Europe and Japan. Our cookbook, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que: An American Roadhouse, was voted as one of the best BBQ cookbooks in 2002 by the National Association of BBQ.
At Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, fresh, homemade, and high-quality aren’t just catchwords, they’re our foundation. Our commitment to food quality and genuine hospitality is unyielding and intense. We pride ourselves on our loyal guests, employees, and being a great place to have fun and while sampling some of the best bar-b-que in the country. Our menu is firmly rooted in the traditions of Southern bar-b-que, but there are other influences that shape our flavors and give our food its own distinctive character. That’s one of the secrets of great bar-b-que -- staying committed to tradition, but finding your own stamp and signature.
The concept of “community” is at the core of what Dinosaur Bar-B-Que believes in. When a Dinosaur BBQ opens, it doesn’t build a new building; it repurposes an existing building with an eye towards blending in with the community surrounding it. We hire from the community we are in and we train those employees to allow them to grow as citizens in their community. We sometimes add items to the menu that we have been introduced to us by the local community. Sharing barbecue is a community experience and we know that. That is why the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que takes an active part in many charities and causes that are important to the surrounding community.
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que teamed up with SoldierStrong, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing advanced medical technologies to veterans, for a limited-time charity offering called ‘Sauce for a Cause.’ Dinosaur created co-branded Sensuous Slathering BBQ Sauce bottles and sold them in stores and online from Memorial Day weekend throughout June. All proceeds from purchases of the co-branded Sensuous Slathering BBQ Sauce went to SoldierStrong, which the organization will use towards the purchase of cutting-edge medical technologies to benefit injured veterans. We were able to raise together $20K.
Dinosaur BBQ is proud to be the official BBQ and BBQ Sauce of the Buffalo Bills.
John Stage - Founder
John Stage, the founder and owner of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, began his career in cooking out on the open road. In 1983, John and two partners started the business by cutting a 55 gallon drum in half to form a makeshift barbeque and hit the road—catering to motorcycle shows, fairs, and festivals up and down the east coast. In 1988, tired of the gypsy lifestyle, Stage decided to settle in Syracuse, NY, where he opened his first Dinosaur Bar-B-Que restaurant. In the following years, Stage has expanded with locations in Rochester, Manhattan, Troy, Newark, New Jersey, Stamford, Brooklyn, Buffalo and Baltimore. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que has gained a reputation far and wide for serving some of the best BBQ in the country with a vibrant and lively setting. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que’s menus are firmly rooted in the traditions of southern barbecue and influenced by flavors that give Dino BBQ’s dishes their own distinctive character. “That’s one of the secrets of great barbecue,” says Stage, “staying committed to tradition, but finding your own stamp and signature.” John Stage has built Dinosaur Bar-B-Que into a nationally known brand that includes a catering division complete with mobile barbeque rigs. Dinosaur’s line of award-winning BBQ sauces and rubs is available in Whole Foods. Additionally, Stage is the author of a successful cookbook, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que: An American Roadhouse (Ten Speed Press; 2001) that has sold over 175,000 copies and was voted cookbook of the year by the National BBQ Association.
Leland Avellino - Executive Chef / Pitmaster
Founder/Pitmaster John Stage’s right hand man, helping with menu creation, staff training and culinary supervision across Dinosaur’s nine locations. Leland has over 20 years of experience cooking and has an undeniable love for low and slow barbecue. In order to truly develop an authentic menu, he travelled the country to learn about different barbecue styles, eventually crossing paths with Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. Today, keeping Dino Harlem as his home base, Leland continues to blends smoke, spice and sauce to deliver some of the country’s best barbecue.