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Damien’s grills its first burgers in campus center

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Long-awaited sports-themed restaurant Damien’s opened in the Campus Center on Feb. 13 to long lines of students ready to try the grill’s cuisine.

The sit-down restaurant, run by the national chain WOW Cafe, serves chicken wings, burgers, wraps, salads, and appetizers like nachos and mozzarella sticks.

“I really enjoyed the Louisville Slammer Burger,” said Mercedes Johnson, a sophomore studying emergency preparedness, homeland security, and cyber security. “This place is much better than everywhere I have been.”

The Louisville Slammer Burger is a bacon cheeseburger with Colby cheddar cheese.

“Yesterday, I was in the Campus Center and someone suggested that I should try it,” said Johnson.

University Auxiliary Services director Steven Pearse described Damien’s as a place on campus for students to eat, relax, and watch TV. The 39 televisions in the restaurant played ESPN, NBC’s broadcast of the Olympics, and CNN.

“The TVs are nice,” said Johnson. “I like the whole store and the setup of the restaurant.”

Several diners said they preferred Damien’s over the Sodexo-run Fountain Grill.

“I like Damien’s so much better than the Fountain Grill,” said Akim Adebayo, a junior communications major. “I had the Philly Cheeseburger.”

The Philly Cheeseburger is a burger loaded with onions, peppers, mushrooms, Monterey jack cheese, and drenched with ranch dressing.

“This is a great new place and I would come here with my friends,” said Adebayo.

“This is a good new spot, however, the Halal Shack is my favorite,” said Assief Khan, an economics major. “Damien’s, however, has a great atmosphere and is spacious. I had the five piece wing combo and it was good.”

Damien’s was named after Damien the Great Dane, UAlbany’s mascot.

“We thought that having a space that not only televised local, national, and international sporting events, but, celebrated our own excellent athletes would make sense,” said Pearse. “It would be a place to display and celebrate Great Dane Pride.”

Tully’s, an upstate New York sports pub, had been expected to run the on-campus restaurant, but contract issues with Sodexo made the plans fall through.

“I created the name for the restaurant,” said Pearse. “Once Tully’s was no longer going to be the restaurant in that space, I decided to make the area Damien’s.”

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