Those who savor the pulled pork, ribs and sides at Dinosaur BBQ won't have to make the trek down the Thruway for a bite come next year.

The Dinosaur is headed to Buffalo.

The Syracuse-based barbecue institution announced Monday it will open a restaurant next summer at 301 Franklin St., south of Tupper Street, ending a "will they, won't they" debate that has raged in Buffalo for years.

A favorite stop during the Taste of Buffalo each summer, Dinosaur BBQ will move into a 7,200-square-foot building that used to be a storage facility for old films, according to John Stage, Dinosaur founder and CEO.

Stage said he has had Buffalo in his sights for a long time.

"We've been working on this for about a year," he said. "I've wanted to come to Buffalo for years now, and the timing was right, and we got a great spot. I love the location. I like the energy and what's happening [downtown]."

Stage said he has entered into the design phase of the project with a local architect. Together, they are laying out the space and preparing to give the location a special feel, much like what other Dinosaur restaurants in Syracuse, Rochester, Harlem, Troy and Newark have become known for.

Dinosaur cuisine has received a lot of positive feedback in Buffalo, Stage said, and he thinks the downtown location – sandwiched between the Chippewa strip and Allentown – will be the perfect spot for the restaurant to become part of the local culture.

One-hundred thirty people "like" the Facebook page "Bring Dinosaur BBQ to Buffalo." The group was started in 2010, and members have quietly hoped for the big announcement after rumors of such a move persisted.

Dave Mackiewicz, a Depew resident and member of "Bring Dinosaur BBQ to Buffalo," said he has been waiting for this day for years.

He said that he and his friends stop at the Southern-style barbecue joint whenever they are in Rochester for a concert or anything else.

"It's barbecue done the right way," Mackiewicz said. "Dinosaur has a good combination of meat cooked right and great sauces. In Dinosaur, I trust."

Dinosaur's Buffalo location will seat about 180.

The company also plans to open restaurants in Stamford, Conn., this year and Brooklyn in 2013, which will bring the company's total to eight locations.

email: ?