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Dave & Buster’s may attract crowds to mall

Published: Friday, March 28, 2014 2:00 p.m. CDT
(Jesse Carpender – editorial@lakecountysuburbanlife.com)
Ren Brusenbach, left and Doneshia Brock, right, take a break from training to play a Pac-Man air hockey game at Vernon Hills' new Dave & Buster's.
(Jesse Carpender)
Phil Shabat, Gurnee resident and general manager of the new Vernon Hills Dave and Buster's, stands near the second floor entrance in Westfield Hawthorn Mall.

VERNON HILLS – Lake County residents Doneshia Brock and Ren Brusenbach were training to be hostesses March 20 at the new Dave & Buster’s in Vernon Hills’ Westfield Mall.

After playing an air hockey game with Brusenbach, Brock, of Waukegan, said, “It’s always great to work close to home. You get to have fun at work here – it’s the best job.”

Dave & Buster’s is an entertainment destination with the tagline, “Eat, Drink, Play and Watch Sports.”

Brock and Brusenbach are among 300 new hires at the new Dave & Buster’s location.Mike Runyan, assistant general manager, said a “fair amount” of the new hires are Lake County residents.“It’s a struggle for people to find jobs in this area,” Runyan said. “We’ve seen a lot of tears [during the hiring process] and it’s been an emotional experience.”

Vernon Hills’ Dave & Buster’s will hold its grand opening for the public 11 a.m. on March 26 in Vernon Hills’ Westfield Hawthorn Mall, featuring half priced games.

In advance of the grand opening, Dave & Buster’s will present a $2,500 donation to the Boys & Girls Club of Lake County at an official ribbon cutting ceremony March 23, in support of their programming which focuses on inspiring young people to reach their full potential. More than 300 Lake County kids are expected to attend.

General manager Phil Shabat of Gurnee managed Rainforest Café in Gurnee Mills before starting at Dave & Buster’s two years ago. The 40,000-square-foot location replaced seven stores in the mall, Shabat said. Vernon Hills will be the Texas-based company’s 68th location since 1982.

Mall entrances will include one exterior entrance and two indoor entrances on both levels of the mall, Shabat said.

This Dave & Buster’s location features the newest model of “The Win,” where customers can redeem game tickets for more than 350 prizes including iPads, Xboxes and PlayStation 4s.

The facility features a dining area that seats 200, four private party rooms and board rooms. Local organizations have already booked the private rooms. The Vernon Hills Park District has booked its holiday party, said special event manager Amy Lawhorn.

The menu is consistent with other locations, with chef-crafted menu items including The South Philly Burger, Fire-Grilled Salmon, Bistro Steak & Shrimp with Lobster Alfredo, Mountain of Nachos and Black Jack BBQ Ribs & Wings.

Shabat said this Dave & Buster’s reflects the company’s new goal to be the first choice for sports viewing, and their 275-seat, 360-degree Game Bar features 17 televisions.

Dave’s Arcade has 150 games, from updated classics like Donkey Kong to app games like Fruit Ninja and Doodle Jump.

“We’re excited to bring the fun to Vernon Hills sports fans, foodies, gamers, families and young adults alike – there is something for everyone at D&B,” Shabat said. “This is a lively community where many folks call home and we are looking forward to meeting our new neighbors.”

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