Thurman Thomas is the face and the theme of the 34 Rush restaurant in Batavia Downs Gaming. His memorabilia is everywhere. Items have been donated by fans and some items have come right from his home in Western New York.
"I think the fans really embrace the fact that he is part of the Batavia Downs family," Scott Kiedrowski, Vice President of Operations said.
Five years ago, Batavia Downs Gaming wanted to add a sports bar to the casino and hotel. They decided to make Thurman the face of the place because of his community ties and the fact that his wife, Patti Thomas, had family that used to race horses there.
The actual jersey Thurman wore to his Hall of Fame induction ceremony is hanging up in one of the display cases.
"A lot of memorabilia came from Thurman's room in his house," Michael Nolan, Chief Operating Officer said. "That's how strong he felt about making this a place where you can feel Thurman Thomas' career."
The menu serves up classic Western New York favorites with a special Thurmanator burger and a Thurman Bucket of 50 chicken wings for $34.
Thurman holds charity events and makes appearances as the ambassador for the restaurant. 34 Rush is expanding and will be adding on a kitchen and extra dinning space for customers, Henry Wojtaszek said.
"You realize what a huge asset he is here for the community and for our business," Wojtaszek said. "He is a heck of a nice guy and really values the relationship he has with our customers and his fans across WNY, he doesn't take it for granted."
During the Monday night football game when the Bills face the Patriots at 8:15pm, his jersey #34 will be retired. Tune into 7 Eyewitness News starting at 6:30pm for a Thurman Thomas special on his career and legacy here in Western New York.