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Posted on Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Buffalo Wild Wings will open in ex-Damon's Grill in Ann Arbor

By Ben Freed

A new Buffalo Wild Wings franchise will take the place of the Damon’s Grill that closed in February at 3150 Boardwalk Dr. in Ann Arbor.

Mallory McLellan, a spokeswoman for franchisee JK&T Wings, said that the company hopes to open the restaurant for business sometime in late fall 2013.


This former Damon's will likely be a Buffalo Wild Wings before the end of 2013.

File photo

“We’re still working with the city on the plans, so the opening date is still very much in the air,” she said.

JK&T Wings is headquartered in Shelby Township and operates 35 Buffalo Wild Wings franchises, three Smashburgers and one Newk’s Express Cafe. The company’s restaurants are spread across Michigan, Massachusetts, and Louisiana.

According to, the franchise fee for a new Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant is $40,000 with an ongoing royalty fee of 5 percent. A person or business must display a net worth of $1.5 million with $750,000 cash on hand to be considered for a franchise. Approximately half of all Buffalo Wild Wings franchisees own more than one location.

McLellan said that the four franchisees for Buffalo Wild Wings do not have distinct territories and often find themselves in close proximity. JKT&T Wings owns the Buffalo Wild Wings on South State Street in downtown Ann Arbor and the Brighton and Canton locations, but does not own the franchise in Ypsilanti.

“We’ve had our downtown Ann Arbor location for a long time, and we think that there’s the market to have a two in the city,” McLellan said.

“The one we have now is on campus so there’s not a lot of parking and it can be tough for families to go to. The new location gives us the opportunity to get more involved in the Ann Arbor community and appeal to the masses.”

She added that JK&T franchises offer fundraising programs for a wide variety of causes and often sponsor little league teams and other community endeavors.

It was a winding road for the property at 3150 Boardwalk Dr. to go from Damon’s Grill to potential Buffalo Wild Wings.

According to city records, California-based investor Ronald Campos bought the property in 2006 for nearly $3.5 million. In late 2009, Campos and his wife Zenaida were listed in the Washtenaw Legal News as being in default on payments to Flagstar Bank to the tune of $2.38 million.

Maryland-based McCormick 104, LLC, a subsidiary of an investment company that specializes in buying foreclosed properties, bought the property for $1.45 million in a sheriff’s sale on November 1, 2012.

The company initially allowed Damon’s Grill to continue operating but when the franchisee could not come to a new lease agreement, the restaurant closed on Feb. 24.

At the time, franchise spokesman Jason No told in an email that “the business has not been able to sustain itself, and it did not appear to be able to change course.”

The property was listed for $1.9 million by Realtor Jim Stokas and was purchased for exactly that amount by JK Ann Arbor Real Estate LLC on June 4. JK Ann Arbor is registered to the same address as JK&T Wings.

When the new JK&T owned franchise opens, McLellan said it will likely employ approximately 100 people including servers, cooks and the restaurant’s management team.

Buffalo Wild Wings has grown from 386 locations in the U.S. in 2009 to 504 in 2012. The company has not opened any international franchises.

Ben Freed covers business for You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Get in touch with Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2



Wed, Jul 3, 2013 : 2:08 a.m.

Sigh. I was hoping for PF Changs, or something else new to town.


Wed, Jul 3, 2013 : 1:53 a.m.

I distinctly dislike the Buffalo Wild Wings food and atmosphere. Food is awful, over priced, and not worth the effort to eat there. Way overrated.


Wed, Jul 3, 2013 : 1:13 a.m.

I use to love this place! Over the years, the prices went up, the service and food quality went down. Parking at the State St was a hassle. The worst part about this place is on a regular night it's hard to have dinner with someone and hear what they are saying, although they are sitting right across from you. Wingstop>>****


Wed, Jul 3, 2013 : 12:05 a.m.

I'm ready to give up on the idea that we will ever have an original quality restaurant anywhere south of downtown. More suburban high sodium bagged trucked in food chains. Will continue to eat at home or go downtown.


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 11:56 p.m.

I'm happy that this property will be put to use, but I think it's very sad that people choose to shop/eat at national chains and ignore the local mom & pop stores that struggle on a daily basis.

Rabid Wolverine

Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 10:39 p.m.

Another crappy BW's. Awesome...I'll be sure not to visit this location either. BW's has gotten very expensive to eat at. Their food is all subpar and doesn't even resemble what actual Buffalo Wings are. BW's is a place for those who don't know what actual Buffalo wings are or don't care


Wed, Jul 3, 2013 : 7:27 p.m.

Huh, Ann? What does buffalo meat have to do with chicken wings?

Ann English

Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 11:48 p.m.

I'm getting the impression from your comments that those who buy buffalo meat at Hiller's are among your peers; that anyone who prepares buffalo dishes does not patronize BWs. I've read recently that buffalo meat is very nutritious.


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 7:27 p.m.

Where is Bombay Bicycle Club when you need it? Anyone remember Thursday nights in the 80's, early 90's at Bombay? Those were the days...


Wed, Jul 3, 2013 : 12:03 a.m.

Ahhhh yes! Thursday nights at Bombay! That was the hoppinest place in Ann Arbor at that time. I think the cougar era started there.


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 10:29 p.m.

Used to like that Bombay Bicycle Club. Can't remember for the life of me what I ate there. It was too long ago. Good atmosphere, though.

you can't handle the truth

Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 6:58 p.m.

I would go if it was the old time Buffalo Wild Wings and Weck with $2 23oz beer of the month specials. The current version of expensive beer, horrible and overpriced "wings", and the Chuck E Cheese atmosphere, no way. Before I climb back into my old man rocking chair, where is a good place to get wings in town? It sure isn't the home of bones and sauce wings.


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 6:45 p.m.

i don't get BWW - the food is very rubbery but I know it appeals to the young folks best of luck


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 5:11 p.m.

I like it. Maybe pricey for some but the location is perfect. It will be a good fit for football Saturdays, either home or away. The other location on State Street is mainly for students (not that there's anything wrong with that). Parking for the rest of us is awful. Parking at the former Damon's has lots of room with easy in and out access. It is spacious. Am looking forward to it's opening and the sooner the better.

Ann English

Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 11:43 p.m.

I was thinking that an older location was patronized mainly by university students from around the world, too. Being off Boardwalk, Bdubs could draw plenty of people just visiting from other states, staying in the various inns and motels all around it.


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 4:38 p.m.

Texas Roadhouse would have been so much better (as far as chains go)!

Ann English

Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 11:39 p.m.

Paula, I was thinking the same thing about OTHER roadhouses, such as Zingerman's and Logan's, choosing to locate near freeways; on Ford Road west of I-275, Logan's chose to locate. I consider that in Canton.


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 6:25 p.m.

Michelle - I found the original story that posted. It mentions a Longhorn Steakhouse.


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 6:19 p.m.

Paula - reported a few months back that a Steak House was coming to one of the outlots by Meijer. I do not remember the name. You also reported that a Cheddar's was coming. It was compared to Applebees.


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 5:13 p.m.

As one franchise closes, another opens up. Texas Roadhouse could come into our community as well.


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 5:05 p.m.

Logans' or Famous Dave's wouldn't be bad either.

Paula Gardner

Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 4:54 p.m.

That's a favorite of my family when we travel out of state - my kids love the rolls! I'm curious about their expansion plans and whether we're on their radar: I've seen their restaurants in Westland, Taylor and Grand Rapids. Since TR does well near highways, maybe there's a chance one will open in one of the Meijer outlots under development on AA-Saline Road.

Sean Thomas

Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 4:46 p.m.

oh my goddd yes. I miss having one of those close by!


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 3:59 p.m.

B-dubs has over 900 locations currently. And over 600 in 2009. Perhaps the figure listed at the bottom was franchises only?


Wed, Jul 3, 2013 : 12:02 a.m.

Open a mom & pop store right next to ANY of those stores, serve better food at better prices and watch as the American lemmings stream to the chain restaurant and ultimately cause the mom & pop shop to close down.

Jennie Clark

Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 3:47 p.m.

Just what Ann Arbor needs, another mediocre chain restaurant! A Pei Wei or PF Chang's would have been a better choice!!! Buffalo Wild Wings is so overrated and expensive!!!


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 7:51 p.m.

I would LOVE to finally get a Pei Wei in Ann Arbor!!!


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 3:22 p.m.

Damon's was the place for beer on Thursday with $1 domestic pints, but this is a good location for Bdubs.


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 2:57 p.m.

The lease for the old Damon's should have went to R.U.B. BBQ. I have been to both places and R.U.B's has better food.


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 2:31 p.m.

Great news! No more hassle with parking. Way better food and atmosphere than Damon's!!


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 3:08 p.m.

AND lets hope the City does not screw this up and they can open in the Fall. You have UM football, the Lions, the Wings, etc... Huge crowds!


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

This will do well here - and it's nice to hear the company gives back to the community. The food is indeed overrated and overpriced but it's still popular. Glad to see something with promise going in.


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 1:30 p.m.

From one awful chain restaurant I avoid like the plague to another awful chain restaurant I avoid like the plague. At least it's not a downgrade.

Little Patience

Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 1:54 p.m.

I'm with you. The few times we've gone to the Ypsi B-Dubs, the food was disgusting, cold, and over priced. Once our food was brought out, we never saw our server again until she dropped the bill off.


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 1:25 p.m.

Better choice than Damon's. don't go to the other location much due to lack of parking. If you want crappy food that's cheap, Applebee's is down the road.


Wed, Jul 3, 2013 : midnight

It's known as "crapple bees" for a reason.

Ben Freed

Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 1:24 p.m.

Whenever I walk by or into the downtown B Dubs it always seems packed. The question I have is whether people will go out of their way to head to this restaurant location that's a little tucked away. I know Damon's did a lot of "kids night" and other promotions to try to attract people. For those of you out there who like the BW3 experience, do you seek it out? Or is it more a matter of convenience?

Ypsi-Arbor Girl

Wed, Jul 3, 2013 : 4 a.m.

Out of the way? It is across the street from the mall! Surrounded by hotels and office buildings. It was busy when it was Bombay..., it was busy when Damon's was good, and it will be busy as BW3. Sorry if your parents couldn't find it because they couldn't figure the signs on either State or Boardwalk that showed where it was.

Ben Freed

Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 8:49 p.m.

Brad, I was referring to the restaurant's location not being as visible from the main road (which I believe the closest big intersection is State and Eisenhower) not its proximity to downtown. My family did go to Damon's while I was growing up but it's a bit tucked away.

Basic Bob

Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 8:39 p.m.

I have to get into my car to drive to any restaurant, so I really don't care what exit it is near. If I want to go to Outback, that's where I go. We went to the old Ypsi BW3 all the time, even with the scary downstairs bathrooms!


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 7:41 p.m.

Not downtown = out of the way. They keep forgetting that 95% of the population lives outside of downtown.


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 2:28 p.m.

Out of their way??? Maybe from where you live.


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 2 p.m.

Ben, I think the two places will draw very different crowds. The BWW on State St. is filled with undergrads. I feel like I'm 1000 years old every time I'm in there (for the record, I'm only 950). I'm guessing the same crowd, 30s-50s, that regularly packed Damon's will visit the new BWW. The location itself will be a big draw because it's one sports bar replacing another. As others have noted, the food at Damon's was mediocre and the service inconsistent, yet the place still filled up. A place that is run reasonably well will do great in the same spot.

you can't handle the truth

Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 12:51 p.m.

woo hoo! Another place I can get bones and sauce!!!


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 12:51 p.m.

Great news that another sports bar is replacing Damon's. As for the complaints about Damon's service, remember that the workers were operating under very bad management. A few who were good stuck things out. But the staff was in constant rotation because of the management.


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 3:16 p.m.

@djacks: Thanks for pointing that out. I meant bad ownership. The manager of this location wasn't responsible for what happened.


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 2:06 p.m.

Yet the manager took it upon himself to try to find the workers other jobs when he heard of the place closing.

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 12:40 p.m.

"We're still working with the city on the plans, so the opening date is still very much in the air," she said." it was a restaurant before and its going to be a restaurant again. Hopefully the "career civil servants" won't twist their arms and make them squirm too much.

Basic Bob

Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 8:35 p.m.

First he will see if his other employer wants to buy it.


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 2:50 p.m.

Craig - BUT you forget who is the Captain of the Exxon Valdez (i.e. John Boy) ! :) He will NOW offer to buy the building, demolish it and put some more art up! lol


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 12:34 p.m.

I found myself in the Ypsi version of this chain not too long ago and was pleasantly surprised. I thought the food was better than I had a right to expect and not that pricey. What amazed me was the increased craft, especially Michigan, beer being offered. Those prices were not too bad, either. I suspect it'll do well in the old Damon's spot.


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 11:52 a.m.

I may be in my minority here, but I believe Bdubs has become really expensive to eat at. The prices are sky-high for the quality and quantity of food you receive. The drink specials are mediocre and they nickle and dime you for every extra side of ranch/blue cheese, whereas nearly every other restaurant in the area brings you another side for free.


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 5:44 p.m.

Greggy_D, I'm totally on board with you, not only about the quantity/quality of the food, but also the service. The last time I ate at a Bdubs, my "server"(?) continually asked me if I was done yet, in other words, I got the "here's-your-hat-what's-your-hurry" treatment. this was at the State/Washington store. I left two(2)pennies on the table and never went back. hope the service is better at this one!


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 2:38 p.m.

Right on point Greggy, overpriced for what you're paying for, and not very tasty on top of that


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 2:04 p.m.

Overpriced and overrated. Last 2 times we tried to go to the one in Ypsi township it was packed to the walls. Went down the street to Aubry's and less crowded with much better prices and service. Haven't been back since and don't plan on going to this location either.

you can't handle the truth

Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 12:54 p.m.

You are right on. Back when this place was a college town bar, it featured cheap beer and not great, but ok priced food. Since it turned itself into a glorified Chuck E Cheese, those $2 23 oz beer of the month specials are now what? $5? And the food is terribly overpriced with wings being nothing but bones and sauce.


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 12:35 p.m.

agree greggy_D, it gets costly very quickly. My family of 4 doesn't leave the place without spending 50.00 before tip (and that is with 1 beer). With that being said, it is a great atmosphere for game watching and the choice of wing sauces is great.


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 12:10 p.m.

Greg - You are corrrect. B dubs is not the place for someone on a budget. I have no idea how a family of 4 or 5 can eat there. BUT I believe it is called Econ 101, such as supply and demand. B dubs charges what they do because people will pay it. They are always packed and there is never a shortage of customers. Tuesdays are your best deal before 7. That way you can eat your favorite Wings and get a domestic draft at Happy Hour prices. :)


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 11:45 a.m.

I went to a BW3 once. As I was eating some "boneless" wings, I realized I was just eating a McNugget but it cost approximately twice as much as the ones at McDonald's. Is that because the sauce is already applied so I don't have to engage in the menial task of dipping them into the sauce?

Hot Sam

Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 10:19 p.m.

Wings have order them without...regardless of where you are, is to enter in to an adventure...


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 9:33 p.m.

Yea, the classic wings are an entirely different experience than boneless. Forget about the boneless.


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 11:38 a.m.

Two words come to mind, Mango Habenero

T Wall

Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 11 a.m.

Buffalo Wild WIngs truly cares about our community. They have helped our local T. Wall Foundation which helps children with disabilities and their families in need. They will once again play an important part in our 5th Annual Golf Outing at the Ann Arbor Polo Fields on Friday, July 12 at 1pm. Thank you Buffalo Wild WIngs for caring about those who need help in our community.

Paula Gardner

Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 10:44 a.m.

Agreed, Halter. I was just thinking that this familiar chain that seems to be well-regarded could be just what this building needs. Despite the sign along South State, customers still need to work a little bit to find it (if they're not office workers or hotel occupants).


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 10:26 a.m.

A great choice for this'll be packed...the location here is not the problem: Damon's was overpriced and the food was, well, not to be harsh but it was horrible.

Rob MI

Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : 1:37 p.m.

The food had been good at one time, but over the last 2 years it was open, it progressively got worse and worse, as did the service. For as fun a place as it used to be to go, I didn't miss it at all when its demise finally came (and I was honestly surprised it lasted as long as it did)


Tue, Jul 2, 2013 : noon

Agreed AND the service was brutal!:) Unless you were one of the daily "drunks" who was in there everyday dropping down 30 or 40, you were ignored. Let's hope that NONE of the old staff come back!