Tilted tattle: Astute readers — mostly male mind you — have faithfully been reporting sightings of young women in tiny tartan uniforms around League City. It’s a good guess that these women are training for Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery, which plans a June 19 grand opening at Pinnacle Park, a 100-acre mixed-use development at Interstate 45 and Big League Dreams Parkway.
Tilted Kilt, a Celtic-themed pub franchise based in Tempe, Ariz., falls under the genre of breastaurant and also can be classified under the “attentive service sector.” This column will leave the acronym to the reader. Tilted Kilt will serve burgers, wings and other pub fare, along with 60-plus beers on tap, with a focus on craft brews. It also will feature a fire pit and lounge and live music.
Frothy market: The craft beer craze shows no signs of slowing down, and that’s good news for League City. Crews have poured the slab and steel is rising at what will house Craft 96 Draught House + Kitchen, 2575 E. League City Parkway. John Amato is behind the concept.
Amato also owns J. Henry’s Draught House + Kitchen, 1105 Clear Lake City Blvd. Both concepts specialize in craft beer and what the company describes as unique American food. No word on an opening date for Craft 96. Stay tuned.
Bankruptcy blues: Houston-based Ignite Restaurant Group, which owns the Brick House Tavern + Tap chain and Joe’s Crab Shack has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which allows a company to reorganize. Ignite blamed falling sales.
Ignite operates a Joe’s Crab Shack and a Brick House Tavern + Tap on Seawall Boulevard in Galveston. In recent years, Ignite has been closing its weakest locations, including one last year at Pier 19 in Galveston, but no word on plans for a fresh round of closures.
Last year, the company began to pursue a sale, according to reports.
But as operations worsened, interested bidders withdrew their proposals and Ignite began to consider bankruptcy, according to a court filings and reports.
Ignite said it plans to sell its assets to Kelly Cos., a San Diego-based private equity firm for a cash bid.
Other interested buyers could challenge Kelly, according to reports.
Rumors were rampant last summer that island-born billionaire Tilman Fertitta was planning to re-net the Joe’s Crab Shack chain.
Fertitta at the time didn’t comment. But the rumors revolved around Fertitta buying Ignite Restaurant Group through a venture called Lancadia.
Fertitta, CEO of Houston-based Landry’s Inc., is quite familiar with the Joe’s Crab Shack chain.
In 2006, Landry’s sold the bulk of Joe’s Crab Shack restaurants for about $192 million to private equity group JCS Holdings, which in 2008 changed its name to Ignite Restaurant Group.
Although the Lancadia rumor was unconfirmed, it seemed feasible.
Last year, Fertitta, and Richard Handler, CEO of global investment bank Jefferies Group LLC and its parent, Leucadia National Corp., launched Lancadia — a special purpose acquisition company — with plans to raise as much as $300 million in an initial public offering, news service Reuters reported. The name Lancadia is a combination of Landry’s and Leucadia.
Special purpose acquisition companies, also known as SPACs, are referred to as blank-check acquisition companies. They have no assets but use proceeds from initial public offerings, together with bank financing, to buy other companies and boost their value through operational improvements, according to Reuters.
Lancadia would use the money it raised to fund a corporate acquisition in the hospitality, gaming or restaurant industries, sources told Reuters.
Room service: Hotel interest is heating up in League City. And while several midpriced hotels are rumored to be scouting sites, the most intriguing speculation is about a possible competitor for South Shore Harbour Resort & Conference Center.
South Shore Harbour, 2500 South Shore Blvd., is the only full-service hotel in the city. But Mayor Pat Hallisey confirms developers are discussing plans for a full-service property rising in southeast League City. No more information about the brand of hotel and developer was available. Stay tuned.
Shore and tell: Meanwhile, South Shore Harbour isn’t resting on its laurels. The property, promoting its recent $15 million renovation, earlier this month launched a new marketing initiative to attract businesses, couples and tourists. The program is promoting new incentives and activities meant to attract visitors to the waterside retreat and to showcase renovations.
Dangling carrots: New state legislation is encouraging hotel developers to give League City a fresh look, Hallisey said.
During the final hours of the 85th Legislative Session, lawmakers approved a bill allowing League City to pledge some of the state’s portion of hotel occupancy, sales and mixed alcoholic beverage taxes generated by qualifying projects for the payment of city issued debt to help fund tourism-related improvements.
Those improvements could include convention centers, entertainment-related facilities, hotel infrastructure and ancillary facilities, such as restaurants and retail.
End of era: The sudden closure of one of the oldest roofing and sheet-metal companies in Texas has generated much surprise, sadness and speculation, but not a lot of answers. Owners of island-based Fred Hartel Co., 3515 85th St., couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. But a recording on the 117-year-old company’s answering machine confirmed the news: “We regret to inform you we are no longer in business. We appreciate the years of service.” By all accounts the company was in high demand. Stay tuned.
‘Getting threats’: After a little more than a year in business, ZaZa Bar & Bites in the island’s downtown has closed. Owner Asad Khan, a Muslim, cited harassment and threats against him as reasons for the closure.
“As all businesses in Galveston are getting ready for a busy summer, I have to close mine,” Khan on June 5 posted on Facebook. “Since the ‘bacon’ incident, I have been continuously getting threats. This is no way to live.”
In December, Khan and his restaurant received an outpouring of support after his business was vandalized with bacon. Khan’s Muslim faith forbids him from eating pork and the vandalism was seen as an direct insult to his faith. He reported the vandalism to police. But threats and incidents continued, he said on Facebook.
Still, the incident also prompted local residents to reach out and support the restaurant with their wallets and goodwill.
“I am a proud Muslim,” Khan said on Facebook. “ … I want you all to know that I love Galveston. I am grateful for everything. I hope that all of us together will not let hate takeover.”