Restaurateur John Stage of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que - Biography

Harlem, NY

September 2019

The bones for Dinosaur Bar-B-Que were found in 1983, when John Stage began grilling out on the open road. An avid motorcyclist, Stage realized there was a gap in the market for quality food at motorcycle fairs and festivals. As a result, he and his two partners crafted a grill out of a 55 gallon drum and travelled across the east coast to feed hungry bikers. 

Growing tired of a life on the road, Stage landed in Syracuse, New York, where he opened the first Dinosaur Bar-B-Que restaurant in 1988. Over the next twenty years, the southern barbeque joint became a Syracuse staple and expanded to Rochester and Harlem. In 2008, Stage partnered with Soros Strategic Partners, and in 2014, he stepped away from day-to-day operations and moved to an advisory role. Dinosaur continued to expand throughout New York City, upstate New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Missing the personal touch and culture that Stage brought to the company, Stage took back full ownership of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in 2018. Now with eight locations, a catering division, and a retail line of award-winning barbecue sauces and rubs, Stage leads the Dinosaur team from his Syracuse home base. Stage’s cookbook, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que: An American Roadhouse was voted “Cookbook of the Year” by the National BBQ Association.