The lease-holder for the Scotty’s Burger Joint space in The Commons plans to quickly reopen the restaurant under a new name and to keep all the employees who want to stay.
The owners of MSCB Group, which holds the lease in The Commons, will present the new concept for a Detour American Grille to the Columbus Redevelopment Commission for approval at a special meeting at noon Jan. 2 in Columbus City Hall Council Chambers.
A Pots & Pans Production Inc., which owns the Scotty’s restaurant chain and was managing The Commons space as Scotty’s Burger Joint, announced last week that its contract with MSCB Group had been terminated. City officials said the owners of MSCB Group plan to replace Scotty’s with a Detour American Grille. MSCB confirmed that plan in a Saturday news release, when it announced an agreement with Carmel-based Detour Franchising to operate a Detour American Grille in Columbus.
The city and MSCB Group have had a rocky relationship over the 13 months the restaurant has been open. There have been disputes over utility bills, construction payments, reassigning the lease and the disruptions caused by the Fourth Street construction.
Mark E. Maddox, co-owner of MSCB Group, said he thinks the switch to Detour American Grille will stabilize the business in The Commons.
“I think all those issues are behind us,” Maddox said. “We are very excited to look forward to Detour as our management partner.”
“It is not the marketplace or anything like that,” Maddox said. “Our customers have been great, our sales have been good. We had the problem with the roadwork going on for a few months, but everybody had to deal with that. It was more of a problem with a stable manager, and we think Detour will take care of that.”
Detour fills a similar niche to Scotty’s in the Americana food it serves, although it has a broader menu, Maddox said.
MSCB Group and A Pots & Pans Production ended their partnerships in Columbus and Geist, where the company operated Scotty’s Lakehouse. Matt Whisler, president of Detour Franchising, was the original general manager of Scotty’s Lakehouse.
“Our goal for the two new Detour locations in Geist and Columbus is to create a fun establishment for people of all ages who want to take a ‘detour’ from their hectic day to enjoy great food and drinks in a relaxing, ‘Cheers’-like atmosphere,” Whisler said in the news release.
Maddox said the company plans to remain open as Scotty’s Burger Joint through Dec. 31 then take seven to 10 days to switch to the Detour trappings. He said it will take that long to train staff on the new menu, to reprogram computers and to make needed changes to signage and the interior. However, because of the similar restaurant styles, the change will not require any extensive interior changes, Maddox said.
All local Scotty’s employees who wish to stay on with Detour will be retained and will not even miss a paycheck, Maddox said.
Although no paperwork has been submitted to the city yet for the change, the request was made to add the item to the Jan. 2 Redevelopment Commission agenda. Maddox said the Christmas holiday complicated plans, but he expects to have a full proposal to the city by Friday. The leases for the commercial spaces in The Commons are managed through the Redevelopment Commission.
Mayor Kristen Brown said the public will be able to ask questions of the company when the plans are presented at the Redevelopment Commission meeting.
“Public comment is not legally required, but I chair the meeting and welcome and encourage it on every action item and discussion item,” she said.