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Bills fever lives on at the Big Tree Inn in Orchard Park

When it comes to football season, the Big Tree Inn, at 4277 Abbott Road, is considered synonymous with the Buffalo Bills for many fans.

The bar has been a fixture on Abbott Road under Danny DeMarco’s ownership for 37 years. In that time, he’s seen it all when it comes to football games and he's looking forward to the U2 concert. While his business soared during the Bills’ glory years with four runs to the Super Bowl, he still draws big crowds, and the bar is a staple for football fans.

As fans descend on New Era Field again this year, no matter how pessimistic the team's fans might be, DeMarco will be waiting to greet them with a smile on his face. While he is contemplating a future retirement, he’s not ready to throw in the towel just yet – on the business or the team. He sat down at the Big Tree’s bar to reminisce, talk football and more.

Question: Over 37 years, you’ve gained popularity with Bills fans and players themselves. Do you have good stories to tell?

DeMarco: I can’t say them. But yes, I do.

Q: How does it feel to be entering another football season?

A: I don’t think it’s going to be… well I hate to be down on the Bills. I wish them the best. Time will tell.

The Big Tree Inn is a fixture on Abbott Road just blocks from New Era Field. (Elizabeth Carey/Special to The News)

Q: Do you notice a difference during a winning season?

A: The big deal for me is in the beginning of the season. We’re fine. After that, toward the end of season, with three home games in December, if we’re not in the playoffs, forget it.

Q: How important is football to your business?

A: It’s very important. It’s still good all year, but I mean I’m going back to when the Bills were in the Super Bowl and the playoffs – that was completely different.

It's not unusual to find bartenders like Marilyn Lange dressed in football gear to root on the Bills at the Big Tree Inn. (Elizabeth Carey/Special to The News)

Q: Do you look forward to the home opener?

A: Yes, it will be fun. Plus the U2 concert on Tuesday – I expect a lot of people in here for that.

Q: Fans also come in here to eat. What’s popular besides chicken wings?

A: Definitely chicken wings and pizzas – we sell a lot of pizzas, subs, everything. Some players come in here and there. They pick up food, but they’re not a group anymore.

Q: Did you notice camaraderie during the Super Bowl years?

A: They would come in here and band together. We have a lot of pictures on the walls. I’ve traveled around to see the Bills, too. I welcome them all to come by.

Bills memorabilia and photos like this one of owner Danny DeMarco with Thurman Thomas line the walls of the Big Tree Inn. (Elizabeth Carey/Special to The News)

Q: Is the home opener your busiest day?

A: It will be busy – and toward the end of season if they make the playoffs. It’s a whole different scenario if that happens. Who knows? They might make the playoffs! That would make a big difference to business.

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