by/ May. 22, 2018 11pm EST
Big Joe’s, 770 Seneca Street, was a popular Hydraulics tavern in the 1950s and 1960s operated by Joe Dudzick, the former Canisius College basketball star and at-large councilperson. Judging from the John F. Kennedy for President memorabilia displayed on the wall, this photograph is likely from 1960 or thereafter. Polish sausage and beef on weck are on the menu, and then-standard 15-ounce and 11-ounce draft beers are advertised. Big Joe’s closed in 1966, and the three-story building where Joe tended bar for two decades was demolished by the City of Buffalo in 1981. The tavern was reborn in 1993 with the debut of playwright Tom Dudzick’s fictional Over the Tavern, based on his life growing up as a Polish Catholic kid over his father’s bar.
Here’s the parking lot where the bar used to be: