Spotlight: Legends a new campus tradition in dining and entertainment

Author: Shannon Chapla

Well known landmarks dot the Notre Dame campus, but a nondescript building south of Notre Dame Stadium is suddenly drawing lots of interest from students and the general public alike.p. From the outside it appears very nearly the same as it has for the past two decades. But the earth-tone, low-slung brick building has a new purpose, and a drastically different appearance within, to complement its new identity.p. Legends,formerly the Alumni-Senior Club and formally “Legends of Notre Dame”, features a restaurant, ale-house pub and state-of-the-art nightclub. It opened Labor Day weekend after an eight-month, $2.5-million renovation and expansion that increased the size of the building by 50 percent.p. “The open house was wildly successful to say the least,” said Belinda Deeds, the general manager of facility and programming at Legends. “It attracted some 2,000 students with another 2,100 visiting the nightclub later in the evening. There was a line spanning the parking lot for about four hours.”p. “Since then, the response from both the Notre Dame and South Bend communities has been very positive, and we’re establishing repeat business. The facility is a hit, the food is receiving rave reviews, and the nightclub is packed.”p. Anyone inclined to feel less than impressed with the unchanged exterior of Legends should, upon entering, immediately appreciate the restaurant’s new ambiance. The first steps inside now fall on marble and tile rather than scarred wood, and the decor tells the numerous tales of the University’s legends.p. Stenciled on the walls are quotes from Rev. Edward F. Sorin, C.S.C., founder of the University; Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., president emeritus and Congressional Gold Medal recipient; and star running back George Gipp, as well as the words to “Notre Dame Victory March” and the alma mater. Photographs and artwork honor Knute Rockne; the Four Horsemen; Rev. Julius Nieuwland, C.S.C., the chemistry professor who discovered the formulae for synthetic rubber; and 1948 alumnus Thomas Dooley, who became internationally famous for his devotion to the poor of Southeast Asia, and whose dying letter is displayed at the Grotto. Also on display are the old fieldhouse center-court and a 14-year history of “The Shirt.”p. Featuring an eclectic mix of dishes, Legends’ lunch, dinner and late-night menu was designed to spur thoughts of home among the University’s geographically diverse body of students, faculty and alumni. Patrons may choose from a wide array of salads, pastas, seafood, steaks, and sandwiches. Dishes include Creole shrimp salad, Hawaiian grilled ahi tuna, filet mignon, eastern Carolina pulled pork sandwich, or even a bison burger. To satisfy the more basic of student cravings, the menu also boasts the “Triple Threat” cheeseburger.p. Under a faux-tin, stamped ceiling, Legends’ ale-house pub offers 22 varieties of beer on tap, including microbrews, imports and domestic ales and lagers, not found elsewhere in the local community, as well as 64 bottled beers representing some two dozen countries. Wine lovers will appreciate the 20 varieties available including six vintages served from a preservation system, which allows Legends to age its wine for up to 15 years.p. Unlike the former Alumni-Senior Club, Legends is open to all age groups. Those who are 21 and over and wish to consume alcohol must present identification at the front door in exchange for a wristband.p. Featuring live music as a centerpiece, the nightclub contains more than $200,000 in state-of-the-art lighting and sound equipment; a green room for band members and other live entertainment; a 144-inch projection screen television for game-day viewing (there are 12 TVs throughout the building); and a game room with a pool table, darts and interactive trivia and video games. The club can accommodate 629 students and offers four exits to ensure compliance with fire code. It is open until 4 a.m. on weekends.p. “Like our menu, our roster of live entertainment is very diverse,” Deeds said. “It represents student and rock bands, blues duets, acoustic acts and stand-up comedians. We generally book student entertainment on Thursdays; local, regional or themed entertainment on Fridays; and national up-and-coming acts on Saturdays. We also have reserved one Friday each month for a Celtic series.”p. Legends was funded through a major gift by Richard and Peggy Notebaert. He is a member of the University’s Board of Trustees and chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Qwest Communications Inc. The marble and tile was donated by Andre Hutchinson, a 1986 graduate and president of Dillon Stone in Virginia Beach, Va.p. Although the majority of renovations are completed, plans continue for a final addition to Legends. A large, fenced-in courtyard will be opening either in the spring or by next fall.p. Legends’ restaurant and pub are open to both members of the campus community and the general public. A program area can be rented for private functions. For further information, call (574) 631-2582 or visit .

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