By Dana Corvil
The College welcomed a new restaurant to its associated Campus Town shops in December. Arooga’s Grille House and Sports Bar, which originated in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 2008, is now open in over 20 locations throughout the eastern United States.
The new location is partially owned by Allen Zak, who gave some insight into how this specific Arooga’s operates.
“It was a good opportunity for us, it's something that Ewing needs, and it’s just another spot for family and friends to come hangout, watch sports and have a good time,” Zak said.
The restaurant is comparable to the international sports bar chain, Buffalo Wild Wings, but, according to Zak, is even better.
“We use organic ingredients, vegetable oil,” he said. “Our menu is 10 times bigger than Buffalo Wild Wings, but it’s kind of the same vibe.”
Arooga’s specializes in wings and other bar foods and serves alcoholic beverages from the time they open to 30 minutes before closing. Each Arooga’s features regularly televised sports events on its eighty-five televisions. UFC fans can also catch every pay-per-view fight at the restaurant, without any cover charges or extra fees.
Anthony Ortega, a senior physics major, said that he was actually present at the time of the restaurant’s grand opening, where he was one of the lucky people to win free wings for a year.
“I was excited for the restaurant to open, I followed the Instagram and all. So I just had to be there on the first day, and now I just keep going back,” Ortega said.
Freshman engineering major, Iman Naqvi, said she intends on visiting the restaurant now that she is a little more familiar with what it has to offer.
Arooga’s took the place of Landmark Americana Tap & Grill, where just three years ago, a man left the location and proceeded to drive under the influence of alcohol, resulting in the death of College sophomore Michael T. Sot.
Some concerns did arise when it was decided that a similar restaurant would be coming to Campus Town.
As renovations took place in preparation for the newest Arooga’s, the LED lights, disco ball and DJ booth that once drew large crowds to Landmark were removed entirely.
“We’re much different than Landmark,” said Zak. “This is never going to be a club. The DJ, disco ball thing, that’s never going to happen.”
The restaurant owner said that even with the loosening of Covid-19 restrictions, crowd control has not been an issue at the restaurant, but they do experience relatively busy weekends.
Some regulations and protective measures were put in place prior to the business opening, including security personnel at the door and 24/7 video surveillance provided by a third party company.
General Manager Todd Pope said he believes their security team is nothing more than a precautionary measure and it makes everyone’s job a bit easier.
In regards to the restaurant not having outdoor seating available, Pope said it just provides students and other customers the opportunity to pass their drinks off to their underaged friends.
“People can pick up their drink and just wander off with it, and that’s just one more liability you have to worry about,” he said. “You can’t keep an eye on everything, so it’s actually a lot simpler that way [to not have outdoor seating].”
Arooga’s opened in Campus Town with the goal of being a family friendly restaurant, with entertainment space ideal for sports fans, all while bringing the whole of the Ewing community together.