Although Kansas University was ousted from the national basketball championship running, customers still packed into Buffalo Wild Wings, 1012 Mass. St., Monday night for, in manager Michael Kricsfeld's words, "sports, beer and wings."
Kansas University's journey through the basketball bracket has boosted business for this fairly new establishment. The restaurant and bar, which opened on Jan. 20, is the third chain restaurant in the Olathe-Kansas City area. The chain boasts 187 locations nationwide.
"The tournament brought in a lot," Kricsfeld said. "When Kansas played, it was a madhouse. We couldn't get food out quick enough or beer out quick enough. ... It really helped to get our name out, because we were the place to be to watch the tournament."
According to management, more than 400 customers were counted Saturday night during KU's game against the University of Maryland.
"We came for the TVs and the beer," said Jessica Stretz, a KU junior. "It's funner to be around other people while watching the game. There were more people here (than other sports bars). People have talked about it."
The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday. The establishment contains 28 television sets, four satellites, NTN trivia boxes and a couple of 2002 Golden Tees, a popular golf arcade game.
Peter Hahn, a sophomore at Haskell Indian Nations University, who was absorbed in a Golden Tee game, explained that while the cost sets at $3 for 18 holes, it's cheaper than going to a golf course.
"We come here just to relax," Hahn said. "Watch the game, drink a few beers and hang out ... but I think Golden Tee is addictive."
The sports bar is also well-known for its buffalo wings. According to Kricsfeld, on a busy night, they sell 5,000 to 6,000 buffalo wings.
"We have true buffalo-style wings, with 12 signature sauces ranging from the sweetest teriyaki to Blazin', which will kill you," Kricsfeld said.
Although acclaimed by current customers, prices have come under criticism. The restaurant charges 50 cents more per pint for alcohol, according to a Red Lyon Tavern bartender. An employee at the Red Lyon, 944 Mass., and one-time customer at Buffalo Wild Wings, said the food also was more expensive.
"For the amount of food I got, I thought I got ripped off," Eric Williams, KU junior, said. "For the amount of money I paid, I might as well have gone to Chili's or a restaurant restaurant."
The Red Lyon employees said they did not think the flow of their business has decreased since Buffalo Wild Wings had opened, but also do not think the two can be compared. The Red Lyon does not serve food and plays host to many customers considered regulars.
Nonetheless, students at Buffalo Wild Wings said they enjoy the atmosphere.
"We came here whenever it opened up and liked it," Hahn said. "It's a nice place to come and relax. It seems to be (cleaner than other bars)."
Elaine Meyer is a student at Baker University in Baldwin.