Pete’s Arena to close, make way for Damon’s Grill

Kyle McCallum

Renovations to replace Pete’s Arena with Damon’s Grill in the Rathskeller will begin during Christmas break, according an Office of the University Architect statement.

Damon’s Grill will be open to students in the basement of the Student Center by the start of spring semester, Kent State Dining Services manager Ashley Latour said.

“It’s time for a change,” Latour said. “Pete’s Arena pizza has been here for a long time.”

She said the change is not because of low profits, but because Kent State wants something new for students. Dining Services will keep Pete’s Arena employees and train them before Damon’s Grill opens next semester.

Spencer Molnar, freshman visual communication design major, who is an employee at Max & Erma’s, said the change will mean an opportunity for him to transfer on campus since both restaurants are owned by G&R Acquisitions Inc.

“I’m down for that,” he said. “It sucks driving 45 minutes to work. I mean, I like the food at Pete’s, but I’m not emotionally attached.”

Some students said they were looking forward to the change.

“I like me some Damon’s,” said Ryan Woidke, freshman criminal justice major. “I could go for some ribs.”

Pete’s Arena is known for selling pizza and dishes such as Parmesan chicken sandwiches and pasta. Some students said the change will mean losing a valuable Italian food vendor.

“I feel like this is the only good pizza place on campus,” said Micah White, sophomore fashion design major. “If they want a change, why not do it upstairs?”

She said she comes to Pete’s Arena every day, and her favorite item is the three-cheese and broccoli pizza. She said she also likes the atmosphere in the Rathskeller, which she hopes stays the same.

“This really makes me mad,” said Kelli Wasylik, freshman fashion merchandising major. “This is the only good place to get food on campus.”

Damon’s Grill is a casual dining restaurant concept that emphasizes prime rib, grilled steaks, chicken, seafood, salad and award-winning ribs, according to its website. The website also said Damon’s serves as a sports bar, but Latour said the new Kent State location will be more like a Damon’s Express.

Amanda Lowder, sophomore fashion merchandising major, said she remembers her last trip to Damon’s being expensive.

“I already have no money,” she said. “I definitely can’t afford to go to Damon’s again.”

Nathan Staab, junior marketing major, and Curtis Weiner, sophomore industrial technology major, both Pete’s Arena employees, agreed the change is exciting.

“I’m excited for something different,” Staab said. “I’ve been working at pizza places since I was 15 years old.”

Weiner said Damon’s might be open on weekends, unlike Pete’s Arena.

“I think it will be better,” he said. “I’m pumped.”

You can contact Kyle McCallum at [email protected].