BUFFALO WILD WINGS Downtown eatery ends 18 years of service with party

By William K. Alcorn



Buffalo Wild Wings, with its good food, convenient downtown location on Central Square and friendly atmosphere where a lot of people knew your name, has served its last brew and order of wings.

The popular restaurant/sports bar, which some say led the renaissance of eateries and downtown night life, closed Friday night.

“It’s a great spot. When I was younger, I came here regularly,” said Youngstown Law Director Anthony Farris, who was having a farewell beer with Rebecca Gerson, first assistant law director.

The Party on the Plaza was a big feature in bringing people back to downtown at night, Farris said. A party accompanied the closing Friday night. Hundreds of people attended it.

Gerson said she became familiar with Buffalo Wild Wings when she lived in Cleveland and was “excited to see one in downtown Youngstown” when she moved back to the Valley in 1994.

“We would have lunch here and meet friends after work,” Gerson said.

Martia Phifer of Youngstown and Shayla Brogdon of Warren were eating with friends on the restaurant’s final day.

Phifer, who attends Eastern Gateway Community College, said it is convenient to stop at Buffalo Wild Wings after school. “It won’t be the same [when it’s gone]because it has been here so long,” she said.

Brogdon, who works at nearby VXI Global Solutions, said she enjoyed the good chicken and prices “that aren’t too bad.”

The restaurant’s 20 employees, many of them Youngstown State University students, have the option of transferring to Buffalo Wild Wings locations in Austintown, Boardman or Niles, or staying and working at the new restaurant/sports bar that is planned for the downtown Youngstown site in the near future.

Jocelyn Yeager of Lords-town, a YSU student and wing-certified server trainer, said she has not decided what she will do.

When Ed Yaskowitz established the downtown Youngstown eatery in 1994, it was only the seventh franchise location, said Doug Esenwein, regional manager for Buffalo Wild Wings in the Youngstown market.

Buffalo Wild Wings was established at Ohio State University in 1982, and now has some 900 franchise and corporate locations in the United States and Canada, Esenwein said.

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