The Dirty Buffalo is owned and operated by Western New York native and ODU alum Russell Gilbert. Russ grew up in a small town outside Rochester, New York before moving to Buffalo where he met his wife Stephanie. The couple spent several years shoveling snow and chowing down on the City of Good Neighbors’ iconic fare before heading south to Virginia in 2005. Upon arrival in the Hampton Roads area, Russ and Steph relished in the bright sunshine and friendly people, but they couldn’t find a restaurant where they could enjoy the authentic Buffalo-style chicken wings they’d grown accustomed to eating. After growing up in the restaurant industry, Russ could only think of one solution to this perceptible void. So, while he finished his marketing degree at ODU, Russ set to work on creating a family-friendly restaurant and sports bar featuring his own interpretation of his favorite Western New York dishes.
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While Russ originally envisioned a full-service establishment involving a wide array of food and entertainment options, money was tight in the beginning and his big dreams had to be downsized into more realistic expectations. The Dirty Buffalo thus started out as a small, quick-service restaurant with just four employees, two TVs, and 12 tables. Luckily, people really enjoyed our wings and the casual, unpretentious atmosphere where all our customers are treated like family, so people kept coming back for more…and more.
Thanks to our amazing customers and several dedicated employees, a few years later, Russ finally got to create the full-service restaurant and bar he’d envisioned. In 2016, The Dirty Buffalo moved down the street from its original quick-service location to a building 4 times the size. Since then, the excitement has continued, culminating with the opening of our second & third corporate locations in Norfolk & Virginia Beach. In addition, a feature on Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives; along with signing our first franchisee!
While we’d like to attribute our growth entirely to our awarding-winning food and the success of the Buffalo Bills (just kidding, but for the other hapless Bills fans out there, we do feature the game on one of our many big screens every week during football season), our customers and staff are what really make our restaurant thrive. If you haven’t checked us out yet, we invite you to come visit one of our locations, enjoy some delicious comfort food, watch some games, and learn what it means to become a part of The Dirty Buffalo family.