“I got here at 10 p.m. on Sunday,” Sparks resident Kendall Berry said Monday morning. “They came out to give us free wings last night while we were waiting. After today, we get six wings a week for a year.”
The first 100 people to arrive at the new location on E. Lincoln Way at the Legends at Sparks Marina received a poker chip with a number signifying their place in line. Throughout the night, Buffalo Wild Wings management placed stickers on the chips indicating the owners of them had been outside the restaurant throughout the night.
Sparks resident Leeanna Archuleta was number 80 out of 100 and said that she was excited to have a Buffalo Wild Wings so close to home.
“This beats having to drive out to The Summit,” she said. “Nobody has the gas money to drive that far.”
Emily Jenkins, a Reno resident, said she didn’t mind waiting outside for more than 12 hours for a chance at free food, and she said the new location will be a frequent dining destination for her in the future.
“The wings are better here than in a lot of places,” Jenkins said. “This is definitely a good spot for them.”
The smiles were hiding a bit of nervousness during Friday afternoon’s soft opening as dozens of servers hustled throughout the 6,000-square-foot restaurant, attempting to perfect their skills prior to Monday’s grand opening. The tension was eased upon the shattering sounds of a glass smashing to the floor, at which point all employees began clapping loudly while shouting “woo!” across the restaurant.
One server wore a small smirk while saying, “Yeah, it’s cheesy. But, we like to have fun here.”
Monday marked the opening of Buffalo Wild Wings at the Legends at Sparks Marina, adding to the collection of restaurants, shopping outlets and an eventual IMAX theater. The restaurant comes from independent franchisee Screamin’ Hot Concepts (doing business as Buffalo Wild Wings), which marked its 10th Buffalo Wild Wings nationwide and the first in Nevada.
Brittany Ward, vice president of marketing and entertainment, said Friday the restaurant’s location on E. Lincoln Way was a perfect fit for the franchise.
“This area has such high traffic and our positioning on this road gives us high visibility,” Ward said. “We are next to BJ’s, which is always packed, so we really feel like we hit a home run with the location and we are excited to see the rest of it grow.”
Ward said the staff, which is in upwards of 130 people, spent two weeks training for Monday’s grand opening under the direction of staff from Screamin’ Hot Concepts’ and other Buffalo Wild Wings locations in Florida, Idaho and Wyoming. Ward said the self-sustaining process went well during the weeks of training and that the staff was able to open up to one another and its customers.
“This is the first location that we have used our own trainers,” she said. “Traditionally, corporate has their trainers, who work throughout the nation. Our staff you see here has made it really fun for them. It is like summer camp. You see them doing cheers, exercises and they did a hopscotch through the main doorway at one point.
“We want people to come and stay. That is our motto when it comes to customer interaction. We are not a ‘turn-and-burn’ concept. We want them to be comfortable talking to each other, talking to their guests and having a fun experience while they are here.”
Friday and Saturday were the practice rounds for the new staff as they catered to friends, family, Sparks City Council members, Outlets at Legends owners and plenty more. The food was free and money taken in for beverages and desserts went to the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Nevada.
The new restaurant comes equipped with two dining areas totaling 310 seats, 63 TVs, a full bar and a sports-themed landscape. It will be open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday.
“For us, this (opening) is a little bit unique in that there are some restrictions because of the shopping center,” Ward said in reference to the expected crowd for the grand opening. “A lot of the other locations, being that they are in very small towns, it will be the only thing happening. We will get people lining up three days ahead of time.
“In a lot of places, the economy has dictated that nothing new will open and we might be the first new restaurant opening there in three years. Here, we are fortunate that the economy is good and the city really has a tight-knit feel to it where they are excited for us to come here.”
Screamin’ Hot Concepts will continue its northern Nevada expansion in November when it plans to open a Buffalo Wild Wings in Carson City.