Damon's Rib Restaurant Opens at GMU; First on a College Campus

From a Damon's news release today: Students at George Mason University this week become the first in the nation to enjoy the famous ribs, onion loaves and big-screen entertainment served up by a Damon's Grill located on a college campus.

More of the news release:
Owned and operated by Sodexho USA, the university's campus dining partner, the 150-seat, sports-themed restaurant features the chain's signature Clubhouse equipped with two giant video screens and 11 42-inch plasma televisions for sports, network programming and interactive entertainment. Portable tabletop speakers complete the Clubhouse entertainment experience. For students, staff and campus visitors on the go, the restaurant features an "express" quick-service dining area and a curbside delivery service. There also is a full bar.

Not only is this the first on-campus Damon's, it is the first full-service, branded casual dining restaurant to open at a U.S. university. It is located in the recently renovated and expanded SUB 1 student union building. Monday's opening included a VIP luncheon for university and campus guests, with a portion of the proceeds donated to the college's hurricane relief programs.

"We've seen a lot of enthusiasm among students, faculty and staff, and friends of the university about Damon's," said Chris Chisler, director of University Services. "We believe the opening of a full-service restaurant responds to the demands for variety in campus services and that Damon's will serve as one of the main gathering places on campus - bringing together all members of the Mason community."

Damon's Grill, one of the nation's largest casual dining chains, is known for its barbecued ribs and other grilled specialties. The Mason restaurant is serving the full Damon's menu, including such items as the signature Damon's Steamboat - a hearth-baked loaf filled with Southern Barbecued Pork and topped with melted Jack and Cheddar Cheese - Grilled Chicken Caesar "Freshwich" and Sinfully Chocolate Malt Cake.

Rodney Miller, director of operations for Mason Dining Services, said, "There's a buzz on campus that is louder than I've ever heard before. Students have never seemed more focused on food!"

"We are excited to welcome this dining concept onto our campus," said Moe Emami, Sodexho's general manager at the Mason campus. "We look forward to this great partnership with Damon's and to enjoying some high-quality barbecue on campus."

Sodexho and Damon's may take the brand to other campuses. "As the casual dining market becomes more crowded, we need to look for more non-traditional locations," said Shannon Foust, Damon's president and CEO. "The Damon's concept, which brings together sports, entertainment and distinctive food, seems to be a very good fit with both college students and staff."

The Damon's at George Mason is open Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to midnight, Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday, noon to 2 a.m., and Sunday noon to midnight. The restaurant, which offers on- and off-site catering, employs 150 people, including a large number of students.

By Steve Fehr |  October 5, 2005; 1:05 PM ET  | Category:  Colleges and Universities
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