Williston resident opens sports grill and bar (5/20/10)

Buffalo Wild Wings coming to Burlington

May 20, 2010

By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

A restaurant industry veteran and a former National Hockey League player are combining their skills to open a sports grill and bar next week.


    Observer photo by Stephanie Choate
Restaurant co-owners Martti Matheson (left), and Aaron Miller stand with Miller’s Olympic jersey in the new Buffalo Wild Wings Grill and Bar.

“Anybody that has a pulse and enjoys beer, wings and sports is going to be here,” Williston resident Martti Matheson said. “New Englanders bleed sports.”

Matheson and his longtime friend Aaron Miller are set to open Buffalo Wild Wings on Shelburne Road in Burlington on May 24. The restaurant is one of nearly 700 nationwide.

“I think there’s a void for something like this,” Miller said. “You look at the chain-type restaurants that do well here, (Buffalo Wild Wings) is that on steroids.”

Matheson has been in the food and nightlife industry since college. He owns Red Square in Burlington and Green Mountain Bar Service, a catering company.

Miller’s background is in sports. He played in the NHL for 15 years for Colorado, Los Angeles and Vancouver, retiring two years ago. He was also on the 2002 Olympic team, where he won a silver medal.

Matheson said the idea to open the restaurant started a few years ago.

“It always came up, where do we go to eat and where do we go to watch the game?” Matheson said. “It’s always a restaurant or always a bar. There’s not really the perfect combination. This definitely brings it to a different level.”

After researching a few options, the pair began talking with Buffalo Wild Wings about two years ago.

Matheson and Miller plan to open three more locations in New Hampshire over the next four years, with the first one planned for 2012 or earlier.

Buffalo Wild Wings will take over the building that housed T.G.I. Friday’s at 555 Shelburne Road in Burlington. Matheson and Miller renovated the entire building.

“There’s nothing other than some steel and brick that is here from the old building,” Matheson said.

The restaurant will have between 40 and 50 televisions, including screens in the bathrooms and on the patio. The restaurant will show national and international games, as well as some local sports.

“You name it, it’ll be here,” Matheson said.

Miller said the draw of Buffalo Wild Wings is simple.

“Beer, wings and sports,” he said. “Pretty much that’s what it’s all about.”