Jimmy Cirrito (with microphone), owner of Jimmy’s Old Town Tavern in Herndon, VA, celebrates with a group of UB alumni and friends, including former Buffalo Bills placekicker Scott Norwood (in blue shirt).
JIMMY’S OLD TOWN TAVERN in Herndon, VA, and Buffalo Bills football go hand in hand … as do the establishment and the University at Buffalo Alumni Association and its Washington, DC, chapter.
In fall 2006—for the fifth consecutive year—tavern owner and Western New York native Jimmy Cirrito hosted UB alumni, their families and friends for a tailgate party, this one on October 22 for the Bills-Patriots matchup.
Each year, the event has become more elaborate, and 2006 was no exception. For the first time, the tailgate offered a Buffalo buffet in the courtyard of the restaurant, replete with Anchor Bar wings, Sahlen’s hot dogs and “beef on weck,” plus a large-screen TV for fans to enjoy. Some 80 people with UB and Buffalo connections enjoyed the event.
Cirrito opened the popular restaurant (which annually is voted among the top Buffalo wings eateries in the capital region) in May 1997. “That September, we showed our first Bills game and had about three people watching,” he recalls. “But it kept getting more and more popular.” In fact, Jimmy’s is often acknowledged as the Bills backers bar in Northern Virginia.
“We do three tailgates a year here and I can honestly say that the UB alumni event is my favorite,” Cirrito says. “It’s really great to have all the people in the group have some type of Buffalo roots.” At Jimmy’s, a favorite greeting heard throughout the tailgate party is “UB alumni rock!”
New in 2006 was a raffle that included a number of items donated by Cirrito and the UB Alumni Association. When all was said and done, $500 was donated to the new UB Alumni Association Scholarship fund, announced this past fall in UB Today.
“Jim’s gone out of his way to make us feel like family each year we’ve been there,” says DC chapter president Jim Militello, BA ’79. “The entertainment he’s provided during commercial breaks complements the games themselves. It’s a great atmosphere and a great time on its own … but better when the Bills win!”
Former Buffalo Bills kicker Scott Norwood has also become a regular guest at the tailgate; last October, former Washington Redskins great Charley Taylor came by as well. Although both Bills and Skins games are shown, the Buffalo games have been far more popular, Cirrito reports. “We might have one or two TVs in the corner carrying just the Skins games; all the others are tuned to the Bills,” Cirrito says. “And one of the best things is that people who had no affinity whatsoever become Bills fans.”
Cirrito, who is a regular participant at the popular “Buffalo Night in DC,” which takes place each fall, also hosts Sabres games at the Old Town and is heavily involved in charitable activities in northern Virginia.