ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — One local bar and restaurant, where Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is a regular customer, has been keeping up with the player’s progress.
The staff at the Big Tree Inn in Orchard Park described Damar Hamlin as humble, down to earth, always having a smile on his face and someone who enjoyed his wings.
“When he came in, it’s pretty obvious,” waitress and bartender Courtney Paternostro recalled. “And then some of the other guys are like, ‘Oh that’s the Bills’ safety,’ and I’m like, ‘Oh okay.’”
Bar patron Eugene Smaszcz talked about the energy Hamlin brings to the Big Tree Inn.
“He comes in here and orders some food. He’s a very nice guy,” Smaszcz said. “Always got a smile on his face.”
Paternostro said she would pick up the phone and take down Hamlin’s order, which she knows by heart.
“He’s very nice. Always very polite,” she said. “Gold barbecue wings he likes, and he usually gets them with ranch.”
The bartender said she usually teases him about the ranch.
“I’m like, ‘You’re in Buffalo, time to get some bleu cheese.’”
Smaszcz also commented on the relationship Hamlin has with the staff and patrons.
“He likes coming in here and talking to the customers, he’s talk to the employees, always with a smile on his face. There’s always a little joke going on with the bartenders and him,” Smaszcz said. “And always walks out and turns and smiles at the bartenders and walks out with his food.”
Paternostro said Hamlin’s stops at the restaurant are always very quick, but agreed with Smaszcz’s sentiment that he always comes in with a smile.
“He walks in here like one of the guys,” she said. “He comes up to the bar, nobody’s like, ‘OMG’. It’s just — you know — Damar. A guy who wants wings, that’s all.”
She also said the staff at the Big Tree Inn have been following Hamlin’s progress.
“We’ve been having the news on nonstop since it happened, and waiting for updates,” she said. “So all of us here are really happy to hear the news.”
They’re hopeful they’ll be able to serve him his favorite wings in the near future.
“(He’s) nice, humble — he’s not flashy or anything when he walks in — low key,” Paternostro continued. “So he’s a nice guy. I’m glad he’s doing well.”
The restaurant is also going to hang up a banner outside the building to show their support for Hamlin and the team.