Owner of Indiana-Based Scotty’s Brewhouse Hints at Possible Evansville Location on Twitter
Scott Wise, the owner of Indianapolis-based restaurant and brewery, Scotty's Brewhouse, dropped a comment on Twitter over the weekend that seems to suggest he's looking to expand his business into Evansville.
Just after 11 a.m. Central on Saturday, Wise asked his Evansville-based Twitter followers the following question:
If you're unfamiliar with the exact location he's referring to, here's the building courtesy of Google Street View.
The building has sat empty for a few years after the previous occupant, Nieto's Mexican Restaurant went out of business.
Scotty's Brewhouse, currently has 10 locations in Central and Northern Indiana, with six of them located in and around the Indianapolis area. The other four are located in Bloomington, South Bend, Muncie, and Lafayette, each home to one of the state's major colleges (Indiana University, Notre Dame, Ball State, and Purdue, respectively).
While Evansville doesn't have a college the size of those institutions (Indiana's enrollment was listed at 48,514 in 2015, while the University of Evansville lists total enrollment at 2,495, and USI lists 10,701 students for the 2015-16 school year), Evansville is the third largest city in the state with just over 120,000 people living with in the city limits. Factor in the remainder of Vanderburgh County residents outside the city limits, plus neighboring Warrick and Posey Counties, and your looking at a total population of nearly 268,000.
For a city that has seen it's bar scene shrink a bit over the years, the addition of Scotty's would be welcome in my opinion. In a community with strong German roots, if there's one thing we do well, it's eat and drink beer.
I understand the allure of a location on Green River Road. It's a high traffic area, easily accessible to Warrick County residents looking to shop, have dinner, or whatever, but part of me thinks there's a reason the building Wise referred to in his tweet has sat vacant for so long. What that reason is, I don't know, and I won't speculate here, but it does seem like an ideal location for not just a restaurant, but any business for that matter, yet no one has even given it a sniff in years (not publicly anyway).
As an Evansville native, I think there are some other area's in town that could be a great home for Scotty's.
Keep in mind, I'm not a real estate expert, or aware of any hindrances that would prevent any business from moving into the following locations. I'm simply looking at the following areas from a resident's point of view.
Mayor Winnecke's administration, as well as his predecessor, Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel, have made a big push over the years to "revitalize" downtown Evansville which has included the construction of the Ford Center, the new Double Tree Hotel currently being constructed at Walnut Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, as well as the forthcoming IU Medical Center Campus that will begin construction on its campus soon. But what's missing is more entertainment options that will draw people to the area even when there's no event taking place at Ford Center, Old National Events, or the Victory Theater. By no means am I throwing shade at the existing restaurants in downtown. As someone who works downtown, I'm a frequent visitor to the restaurants that dot the Main Street Walkway, but I've always thought the Walkway could be Evansville's version of the popular Broad Ripple Avenue area of Indianapolis, a place with bars and nightclubs for every taste.
Possible locations: The old Evansville IceMen offices on the corner of 6th and Main, or the former Main Gate Sports Bar two doors down on the Walkway.
As a proud born and raised west-sider, I've always thought that much like the Main Street Walkway, Franklin Street could easily be a Broad Ripple-type street for Evansville, and thanks to the Franklin Street Events Association, more attention is being given to the street through annual events and partnerships among the businesses up and down both sides of the street. A major chain like Scotty's could be what helps push Franklin Street into a regular entertainment destination for locals and people visiting from out of town. However, with most, if not all, of the business along Franklin being locally owned, plus an already established brewery in Tin Man on the strip, a regional chain like Scotty's may become unwelcome competition.
There was a time when Burkhardt Road was nothing but empty fields and a quicker way to get from the Lloyd to Morgan Avenue than the stop light-filled, and heavily trafficked Green River Road. That of course hasn't been the case for years as Burkhardt is quickly becoming a destination for businesses of all shapes and sizes to open up shop thanks to it's access to not only the Lloyd and Morgan Avenue, but Green River Road thanks to streets like Vogel and Virginia, as well as its proximity to I-69. One of the more ambitious projects on the strip is the Promenade. 215 acres of land that is intended to be developed as a multi-faceted entertainment and residential district. Academy Sports currently calls the Promenade home, and Zaxby's Chicken will soon follow suit. But eventually, it will need an establishment that can be the anchor store to draw everyone in. Scotty's Brewhouse feels like the type of place that could do that.
Those are just a few of my thoughts on where Scotty's could go, if they indeed are looking at opening a location in Evansville. Where would you like to see it? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.