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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

VIDEO: ODU Alumnus Russell Gilbert Credits the University’s Marketing Program for Business Success

By Noell Saunders

With almost a decade in the restaurant business, ODU alumnus Russell Gilbert is taking his Western New York- themed sports grill and bar, The Dirty Buffalo, to the next level.

Gilbert received his bachelor's degree in marketing from Old Dominion in 2010. Shortly after, The Dirty Buffalo opened in 2012. Now with two full-service locations in Norfolk, the restaurant just received approval to franchise across Virginia.

"My dad owned a restaurant when I was 13 for a year, so it has always been in my head that it was something that I wanted to do," he said.

Gilbert and his wife, Stephanie, who are originally from Buffalo, N.Y., moved to Williamsburg in 2005. Gilbert said he remembers when The Dirty Buffalo was just a thought on paper with the idea of bringing a piece of his home to the region with authentic, buffalo-style chicken wings and plates.

"I created a business plan and I literally rolled the dice," said Gilbert. "A couple of the marketing classes that I took at ODU, like Consumer Behavior, really helped me understand the customer."

And he expects a lot of customers on Sunday, when the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams meet at the 53rd Super Bowl in Atlanta.

After a recent trip to the 2018 National Buffalo Wing Festival, The Dirty Buffalo returned with three first-place awards for its proprietary wing sauces. The Dirty Buffalo has also been featured on Food Network's "Diners, Drive-ins & Dives" and Travel Channel's "Food Paradise" and named among Hampton Roads' fastest-growing businesses.

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