TIMELINE

March

Smiling Bison Foods, LLC established.

April

Purchased the Smiling Bison Food Cart (formerly Big Bruno’s Bites). Sold a variety of house-made sausages and street meat goodness at various locations around town (Will’s Pub, Redlight Redlight, College Park Sunday Makers Market, and Audubon Park Garden District market)

June

In our hunt for a brick & mortar location, the stars aligned when we were introduced to our current location at 745 Bennett Rd.—the former Redlight Redlight location, and ironically, where Big Bruno’s Bites was set up on the patio nearly every night for the previous 2 years.

July

The month of reckoning…..transformed the space, developed the layout, hired the team, created the menu….a true 30 day sprint.

August

Opened on August 1st

October

Hosted our first beer pairing event with Cigar City Brewing.

November

Redirected some focus to Late Night, filling the monthly calendar with some of the best local musicians around.

July 2014

The beginning of Sunday Brunch!

August 2014

A month long 1st year anniversary celebration 🙂 More to follow …

OUR STORY

The two questions we’re most often asked are if we serve bison on our menu, and why exactly is the bison smiling?


Our name is actually a nod to Buffalo NY, the former hometown of our chef and co-owner Josh Oakley. We never planned to serve bison, but we’re glad that everyone made that assumptiom, as it ultimately led to the creation of our world famous bison burger. As for why the Bison Smiles, no one knows for sure, but we’re pretty sure it has something to do with how tasty our food is ...

OUR VISION

Serving bison wasn’t the original intent, but we do have several dishes that utilize this healthier, red meat. The healthful, sustainable, and moral qualities behind its farming align with our philosophy and the high standards we have for the food products we use.

Our vision includes a primary focus on handcrafting creative, high quality, delicious tasting foods while utilizing the local food supply chain whenever possible. Additionally, within the restaurant, we take great pride in creating and sustaining an environment that completely compliments the food.

Our beverage menu contains a strong selection of craft beers coupled with an assortment of the best tasting wines available. Our décor is a collage of local artists and photographers, while our stage is a platform for some of the best local musical talent around. We have set the bar very high for service as well, and we are continually improving.

Our goal was to create a fun and comfortable dining place for anyone and everyone, where we serve up some of the highest quality, creative, and most importantly, tasty food in town. As for Late Night. we transform into a more lively social scene featuring some of the best musicians in town, and accompanying that with a late night food menu to compliment.

THE TEAM

JOSH OAKLEY

Chef / Owner


The man in the window: Over 18 years of restaurant experience, recently serving as Manager of FOH and BOH operations at the Enzian Theater from 2006-2011, and his last 2 years working with the kitchens of The Ravenous Pig and Cask & Larder. Born and raised in Buffalo, NY, Josh is the original Smiling Bison visionary and his kitchen’s daily creations continually give us all something to smile about.

RON THOMAS

General Manager / Owner


Happy to serve you 🙂 His background spans from driving ships in the Navy to running manufacturing plants with GE. In March 2013, he jumped at the opportunity to serve with best buddy Josh, and create The Smiling Bison.

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