YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Golden Dawn in Youngstown welcomed the Ursuline Fighting Irish to its tables Thursday night.
It’s the first time Ursuline fans have been able to indulge in the tradition of pre-gaming for high school football at the Golden Dawn in five years. It closed in 2017 but reopened in March.
Going to the Golden Dawn is a long-standing tradition for Ursuline students and graduates. We’re told it is the place to be before and after football games.
“It’s like a hometown bar. We know everybody here and if you don’t and you walk in, you feel like home and family,” said Ursuline fan Monica Zappa.
Zappa has been going to the Golden Dawn since 2000. Her son’s championship photo hangs on the wall of Ursuline memorabilia.
“He was on the football team for four years and actually, he has three state championship rings,” Zappa said.
Other families pass on the tradition of going to the Golden Dawn by bringing their children.
“Brought the family out — my daughters, Mackenzie, Briana, my wife, Amber. We’re excited to be here. Football season, you know. Got the energy back. Everybody’s excited,” said Mark Wolford, Ursuline graduate, class of 1996.
The Golden Dawn was closed for five years.
“Before when I was in fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth grade, I would go with friends,” said Jeff Sinclair, Ursuline graduate, class of 2022.
A lot of people missed out on the opportunity to celebrate at the restaurant.
“It was a shame for most of my high school career that the entire restaurant was closed. But it’s back and arguably better than ever. I’ve never seen it like this before, and it looks great and I’m happy to be here,” Sinclair said.
The owner and staff were happy to welcome the Fighting Irish back.
“We definitely made sure we had a lot of Genesee on draft. So that was number one big seller,” said Golden Dawn owner Johnny Naples.