Dave and Buster’s sport bar/arcade coming to Milford mall

Dave and Buster’s, a business that combines a sport bar with an arcade, is coming to the Connecticut Post Mall, 1201 Boston Post Rd.

At its Nov. 8 meeting, the Planning and Zoning Board (P&Z) unanimously approved a minor amendment for a special permit and site plan approval for the business. Attorney John Knuff said P&Z approval was required due to some exterior structural changes.

Knuff described the business as a mixture of dining, gaming and entertainment. He said Dave and Buster’s will use the 38,178 square feet of space formerly occupied by Buy Buy Baby. He said the colonnade and raised elements will be removed.

With increased competition from online retailers, he said that shopping mall owners are rethinking the mall experience. Knuff said malls have to offer customers an experience they cannot get online.

Knuff said Dave and Buster’s draws customers from a 40 to 50 mile radius. The nearest locations are in Manchester, and Westchester County, N.Y. The company looked at a number of sites and chose this location as being halfway between the existing restaurants.

“A number of Milford people tell me they drive to Manchester,” said Knuff.

Knuff said the mall attracts many customers to the side by Target’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods. He said Dave and Buster’s “can really bring some new life and vibrancy” to the end of the mall near Sears that has been less busy.

Lisa Warren, vice president of development for Dave and Buster’s, said the business started in Little Rock, Ark. with two friends, James (Buster) Corley, who operated a restaurant, and Dave (Corriveau) who owned a game facility. They combined their businesses into the first Dave and Buster’s in Dallas, Texas in 1982.

Warren said there are nearly 100 locations and they are typically 30,000 to 40,000 square feet in size and generate $8 million to $10 million in revenue yearly. The restaurants employ 120 to 140 people in three areas: Games, simulation videos, and a full menu restaurant with a bar.

Warren said the business appeals equally to males and females, and also to families. She said the company prides itself on community involvement and is a national supporter of the Make A Wish Foundation.

Hours will be 11 a.m. to midnight Sundays to Wednesdays, and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursdays to Saturdays. She said the restaurant sometimes employs off-duty police officers for security, usually during the peak hours on Fridays and Saturdays to supplement the company’s own security staff.

She said the restaurant has a one drink, one ID policy meaning, “one person can’t go to the bar and buy three drinks.”

Warren said the gaming area generates about half the revenue for the business. The Milford location will have a 14,000 square feet space for games. She said the games are all games of skill, not chance.

“If you play our games, you can get better at them,” said Warren.