This item was produced by a reporter in the Schieffer School of Journalism's Basic Reporting class.
Local Sports Bar Flourishes with TCU Athletics
Buffalo Bros Pizza, Wings & Subs is a self-described “TCU neighborhood hangout” that has been catering to TCU students, faculty and athletics teams for five years.
Since it opened its doors in November of 2007, Buffalo Bros has represented a slice of Buffalo, New York for the local community. Owner Ed McOwen grew up in Buffalo, where he attended culinary school and met his wife, Shannon, until the age of 25. After the two started a family, and with opportunities to start a successful business dwindling in the Northeast, they decided to move to Shannon’s hometown of Fort Worth.
“It kind of started out with the idea of, ‘Let’s bring a little bit of home, here [to Fort Worth],’” McOwen said.
Additionally, McOwen grew up as a big fan of college sports and, after moving to Fort Worth, adopted the Horned Frogs as his favorite team. While Buffalo Bros started out as a Buffalo sports-centric bar, working with TCU Athletics was a “natural connection” as the business grew, McOwen recalled.
The relationship began as the establishment advertised with TCU Basketball and Baseball a year after opening. It was shortly thereafter when TCU Athletics came to Buffalo Bros with the idea of hosting a men’s basketball show featuring then-head coach Jim Christian. It established a connection with TCU sports that was unique to the area.
“It adds to the whole idea of being a TCU sports bar,” McOwen said.
A year after the Coaches Show began at Buffalo Bros, the establishment has cultivated a professional relationship with TCU. They have started to promote the tennis team this year. They have also been providing catering services for tailgating events at baseball games for the past three years.
General manager of Buffalo Bros for over two years Kristi Setzer-Mazzolacalled the relationship between the restaurant and the school “symbiotic,” and that they have gladly supported events like the Recreation Center’s 10-year anniversary.
McOwen said: “It’s never been about the money or anything like that.”
“[While] it’s partly about getting our name out, it’s also about supporting the programs ... Hopefully, people make the connection - ‘They support the school, and they support that team - let’s go support them.’”
With Buffalo Bros having further ingrained themselves in TCU school culture, even the national media took notice - in September 2012, Yahoo! Sports named Buffalo Bros as one of the best college sports bars in the country. For Setzer-Mazzola, it is a further indication of the connection Buffalo Bros is making with TCU.
“To me, it’s more than being a convenient location ... it’s a destination,” she said. “This is my bar - that’s what I very much enjoyed at a bigger school, at college bars ... that’s what I want TCU to be. A home away from home.”
As Buffalo Bros continues its service to the local community and the athletic program, McOwen envisions Buffalo Bros being involved with all TCU sports.
“I’d like for everyone supporting the students to feel free to call and ask for anything,” McOwen said.
The school shares similar sentiments.
"TCU is very proud of its relationship with Buffalo Bros,” said TCU Assistant Athletics Director Mark Cohen in a recent statement. “In addition to serving as host of the Trent Johnson Radio Show and providing the pizza at home tennis matches, Buffalo Bros has truly become synonymous with the Horned Frogs."
For McOwen, Buffalo Bros' relationship with TCU athletics goes beyond the school, and believes it affects the surrounding community.
“Being a part of the program turns around and makes us more and more a part of the community,” McOwen added. “Not just talking about [having a relationship with TCU], but actually doing it.”