Another Drawing Tonight but Not as Crazy at Dyngles

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – It’s been more than two months since the winning ticket was drawn for the $1.8-million Queen of Hearts jackpot at Barry Dyngles, but general manager Doug Duganne says he and his staff still feel the momentum of those crowds several thousand strong.

“It was a marketing thing to get people in the door and get them to try the food,” he said Tuesday. “We got a lot of new customers, which was the bottom line.”

Duganne noted that he’s kept 16 of the 20 employees hired during that Queen of Hearts game.

A new game began Oct. 28.

“On Wednesday nights, we still have a packed house,” Duganne reported. “We don’t have thousands of people like we did, but we’re still full every week.”

Many who returned as the jackpot grew have stayed on “and it turns into a party,” he said. “A lot of customers have said they love it.”

The jackpot tonight is projected to reach $15,000. Drawings are held at 8 p.m. every Wednesday.

Some rules were changed for the game in progress. The two biggest, Duganne noted, are a payouts every week – starting at 5% of the jackpot for the ticket drawn – and that ticket prices rise as the jackpot grows, up to $20 once the pot hits $500,000.

“It’ll be a while before we get to that. Some people complained about the $20 tickets, but that’s when we hit half a million dollars,” he said. “If we even get to that point.”

The revised rules resulted from the Austintown Police Department’s concerns about security and crowd control.

“With these new rules, it will keep the lines flowing faster and cut down on the number of tickets with about the same odds [of winning],” Duganne said.

Nearby businesses, some of which saw an increase in their traffic as the jackpot grew, said they’ve begun to see more customers as this newjackpot grows.

“Things aren’t crazy like they were. We’ll still get one person after another sometimes, or people asking if they can park here, but it’s a lot different than when it was a million dollars,” said Laurie Bowers, assistant manager of Smoker Friendly next door. “It’s starting to pick back up again.”

The crowds have surged in recent weeks, said Bridget Yurcisin, a bartender at Barry Dyngles.

“It hasn’t been as crazy, but as the jackpot grows the crowd grows. It’s definitely starting to pick back up,” she said. “It gets hectic trying to work in that kind of environment, but I wouldn’t mind doing it again.”

Customers and employees alike still talk about how the first game benefited the restaurant.

“It’s back to business as usual with normal crowds,” said Bill Walrath of Warren. “But it was good to have something like that for the community.”

Yurcisin said that when the winning ticket was drawn, the restaurant staff had mixed feelings.

“We were excited to finally have a winner – it was such a large jackpot that we knew it’d change someone’s life – but it was also a bit of a bummer because that meant it was going to die down a bit,” she said.

Even when the restaurant was standing-room-only inside and outside, she added, employees weren’t under as much stress as customers might have thought.

“It gets hectic trying to work in that kind of environment, but I wouldn’t mind doing it again,” she said. “It was exciting and it was awesome. We did a fantastic job of working together and handled it really well.”

Pictured: Doug Duganne, general manager of Barry Dyngles, with the Queen of Hearts board for the game that started Oct. 28.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.