Syracuse, N.Y. — He still wears a bow tie and carries a platter. But his shade has turned from a bright green to a dusty yellow. And there’s something different about that flame.
The dinosaur featured in the logo of the Syracuse-based Dinosaur Bar-B-Que restaurants has a new look, courtesy of a total brand redesign from the local agency CINSYR Creative Group.
The look is familiar, but different.
“We didn’t want to mess too much with that old dog,” Dinosaur owner John Stage said. “But it was time for a refresh. We wanted to make it pop.”
The original dinosaur logo dates back more than 30 years, before the first Dinosaur restaurant opened in downtown Syracuse in 1988. The green figure blowing flames on a platter of food was initially drawn by a woman Stage dated when he and his buddy and co-founder Mike Rotella were still hauling a smoker to biker events in the mid-1980s.
It was later incorporated into the branding for the restaurants (there are now seven) and related merchandise.
Stage turned to the crew at CINSYR for the update. The agency was founded in Cincinnati by Michael Vine and Antoun Choueiry, before relocating to Syracuse (hence the name.).
CINSYR focused on updating the primary dinosaur caricature logo and the secondary mark, which had been a curvy version of the words “Dinosaur Bar-B-Que” but is now more block letter style. (The kept the funky spelling of bar-b-que, of course. Stage once admitted that came about because he and Rotella didn’t know how it was spelled.).
One element of the new primary logo is that the “Dino” part of the name is a different color — it’s white on the yellow version. (There are also black-and-white versions). That makes sense since so many of the restaurant’s fans simply call it “Dino” anyway. As for the flames, they now project from the platter, which no longer has food on it.
It’s a cleaner look overall.
“Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is a Syracuse icon, a destination,” Vine said in a news release. “We wanted the brand refresh to be an evolution, not a revolution.”
The new logo is now showing up throughout the Dinosaur world, on menus and T-shirts and more, Kathleen White, CINSYR’s director of creative content and strategy. It was painted on the front of the Syracuse restaurant last month and on the company’s headquarters on West Genesee Street last week.
It will also make its way to Dinosaur’s bottled sauces, but those versions aren’t likely to hit the market until next year.
Stage says the Dinosaur restaurants “are still hanging in there” despite the restrictions due to the coronavirus.
The Upstate locations (Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo and Troy) are all open for indoor/outdoor dining (with restrictions) and takeout. The two New York City locations are not yet open for indoor seating. And the Newark, N.J. location remains closed for now because its location is not suitable for takeout. A location in Stamford, Conn. closed permanently this summer.
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Don Cazentre writes for NYup.com, syracuse.com and The Post-Standard. Reach him at [email protected], or follow him at NYup.com, on Twitter or Facebook.