1988 (United Kingdom)
|Headquarters||Columbus, Ohio (U.S.)
Lincoln, Lincolnshire (United Kingdom)
Number of locations
Number of employees
Damon's Grill & Sports Bar (known as Damon's in the United Kingdom) is an American casual dining restaurant chain based in Columbus, Ohio with currently five locations in the United States and three in the United Kingdom.
Damon's was founded in 1979 in East Columbus, Ohio as Damon's Grill by Irv Rossman, Jerry Rossman, Sam Massara, Joe Mazzola, and Joe Nader. In 1988 the UK headquarters was opened with a franchise in Lincoln, Lincolnshire.
In 1981, Gene Simonetti joined Rossman and they opened a second restaurant at the Continent in North Columbus. In 1983, the first Damon’s franchise, a joint venture partnership in Indianapolis, opened. Also in 1983, Rossman became Chairman of the Board and Simonetti became President.
A trend setting event occurred in 1985 when Parke University Hotel developed and opened the first Clubhouse while at the same time purchasing a Damon's franchise. The two occurrences eventually led to the current Damon’s Clubhouse concept. In 1986, Simonetti formed Damon’s Management Inc. (DMI) and Rossman relocated Damon’s Inc. to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
Damon’s went international in 1988 by opening a Damon’s franchise operation in Lincoln, England. In 1989, private investors associated with Parke Hotel Management acquired ownership of Damon’s Management, Inc. Damon’s International, Inc. became the new umbrella for the consolidated companies. The organization was simplified and allowed for the worldwide expansion of the Damon’s concept.
Damon's franchises are often split into two different areas, each with its own atmosphere and ambiance. The first of the two, is the clubhouse. The clubhouse area of the restaurant is themed like a sports bar with walls covered in sports memorabilia. The memorabilia usually correlates to sports teams in the area. (For example, the Damon's Grill in State College, Pennsylvania is decorated in Penn State memorabilia) The clubhouses' main feature is their large, projection screen televisions. Each restaurant usually has one to four televisions, and most franchises usually designate a television to the Buzztime network. This allows patrons to go head-to-head in a trivia competition while eating their meals. Pittsburgh native Emmett Cauley still holds the record for highest trivia score in Damon's history. Mainly, the televisions are used to broadcast sporting events. Damon's Restaurants are often crowded during College Football or National Football League games. Clubhouses also include a bar area with several smaller televisions.
The second of the two areas is the dining room. Dining rooms are quieter areas for patrons to enjoy their meals. These areas often include small televisions so that guests may watch sports in a quieter setting.
A Pittsburgh Bankruptcy Court approved emergency shutdown plans for the Ohio locations in Sandusky, Mentor, Middleburg Heights, and Canton in September 2011.
Damon's in the UK
A British franchise was set up in 1988 and is known simply as "Damon's". The main restaurant and head office are based in Lincoln, while two other restaurants operate in Sheffield and Liverpool. Unlike its American counterpart, the British establishments are strictly fine dining with a lounge and bar area, with no sports theme, related memorabilia or television although the restaurants are decorated with popular American movie and musical artwork pieces and posters from the 1950s era.