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Bullwinkle’s serves Dillon Hall

MATT BRAMANTIMatt Bramanti and Jonathan Retartha, Scene Writers | Tuesday, September 23, 2003

It’s 11:30 p.m. on a Thursday night. You have a serious case of the munchies. The dining halls aren’t open, and your Grab and Go supplies are critically low.

What are your options? Well, you could go to Reckers, get a vibrating, flashing thing and still be waiting 45 minutes later. You could battle the crowds at LaFortune. You could order a pizza and hope the Papa’s not too busy.

But if you’re one of Dillon’s Big Red, why bother? After all, just down the hall is Notre Dame’s best kept culinary secret – Bullwinkle’s.

The late-night dining option that bills itself as “the original and still the best,” Bullwinkle’s is one of the few and proud dorm eateries at Notre Dame. Every Sunday night from 9:00-12:30 p.m. and every weeknight from 9:30-12:00 p.m., Bullwinkle’s serves up late night snacks at affordable prices.

Their best selling menu items are the signature pizza bagels. Why? “Because they’re good,” deadpans junior Tommy Bramanti, one of the proprietors. Your choice of pepperoni or sausage can be ready in just a few minutes.

Bullwinkle’s also offers a variety of Italian and Mexican specialties. Meatball sandwiches, chicken parmesan subs and mozzarella sticks compete with tacos and nachos for the attention of late-night snackers. Barbecue sandwiches, pretzels, wings and burgers can also be had, and a variety of cold sodas and sports drinks are available.

Students simply call the kitchen – located on the first floor of Dillon, conveniently next to the 24-hr lounge – give their phone number, and are called back in a matter of minutes to come and pick up their order.

Business is booming, Bramanti said. In previous years, the business lost money due to poor management, but those problems appear to be over. In an effort to turn the business around, co-owner Vinnie Zuccaro has created several combo meals that have proven very popular with Dillon residents.

In order to push their newly introduced Mexican specialties, the Bullwinkle’s staff needed a mascot. “Vinnie made up a fictitious conquistador called Dirty Sanchez,” Bramanti explained. The Dirty Sanchez platter consists of a variety of tacos and nachos.

The “P. Diddy Platter” – named after Dillon rector Father Paul Doyle – offers four pizza bagels, six wings, four mozzarella sticks and two sodas for a value price.

Dillon men can also enjoy the “Big Balls” combo, including a meatball sub, mozzarella sticks and a soft drink.

The outlet also offers a “Bullwinkle Bucks” card where students can purchase $10 credits that can be used at any time. Upon spending the entire card, the patron is entitled to a free order of pizza bagels.

These moves have paid off. Bullwinkle’s is profitable for the first time in several years, and “now it’s the best food service on campus,” boasts Bramanti.

In gratitude for their success, the management of Bullwinkle’s offers free garlic bread to Dillon residents after Sunday night Mass. “Running a food service for the dorm isn’t service enough,” Bramanti explains. “We really want to give back.”