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A Celtic spot for pints and games

Restaurants: Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery will open a location on Town Center Drive in Valencia

Posted: November 10, 2011 1:30 a.m.
Updated: November 10, 2011 1:30 a.m.

John Fisher, left, and John Grady of Grady Construction & Development discuss plans for the new Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery as it is constructed in Valencia on Tuesday.

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For local residents who have yearned for an edgier, more youthful gathering place, Tilted Kilt is coming to Town Center Drive within the next couple months, according to franchise owner John Fisher.

Opening on Town Center Drive, Tilted Kilt is going into a corner location occupied by three former restaurants, down the street from BJ’s restaurant.

“We’re across the street from Abercrombie & Fitch,” said Fisher.

The independently owned and operated pub and restaurant is also planning on hiring a lot of people.

“Most positions will be part-time,” Fisher said. “But we’ll fill them with as many local people as possible.”

“We’re going to be hiring 100 employees,” Fisher said, “and most will come from immediate area.”

Tilted Kilt may work with the city’s WorkSource Center to find people initially, Fisher said. The chain also uses its own screening process for potential hires. The company has an extensive training program.

Holding a franchise license for the past couple of years, Fisher said he has been looking for a location.

Scouring the demographics of several cities, Fisher landed on Santa Clarita and came out for a site visit. Feeling he found the perfect location, Fisher moved ahead and negotiated a lease for the space.

“The city has been great,” Fisher said. “Santa Clarita was very in touch with businesses and their needs. I can see why it’s touted as one of the most business-friendly cities.”

On Tuesday, Fisher was onsite overseeing construction plans for the new Tilted Kilt location. The inside of the building has been gutted, the floor has been stripped and the ceiling is being raised.

Fast-growing franchise

Ranked No. 5 in the top 10 fastest growing franchises in America by Inc. magazine, Tilted Kilt landed on the magazine’s annual Inc. 500 | 5000 list.

“We have a very strong marketing push,” Fisher said.

A Celtic-themed sports bar and restaurant chain, the original Tilted Kilt restaurant was opened in the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas in 2003 by restaurateur Mark DiMartino.

Never intended to be a franchise operation, the successful restaurant caught the attention of restaurant and franchise developer Ron Lynch.

As described on the company’s website, DiMartino and Lynch came to an agreement that Tilted Kilt had broad appeal and a chance to succeed in multiple regions.

Acquiring the franchise rights in 2005, Lynch moved the headquarters to Tempe, Ariz. and began franchising the eatery in 2006.

Today the business hosts restaurants in some 20 states and Alberta, Canada. By September, Tilted Kilt reportedly had 56 locations and reported 20 more under construction and 25 in development.

Inc. magazine also ranked Tilted Kilt number 385 in the top 500 of the publication’s 500 | 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States.

Pub theme

The sports bar décor pays tribute to the old pubs in America, England, Scotland and Ireland but serves a mix of traditional pub food, such as fish and chips and shepherd’s pie. It also serves beers from around the world.

Servers’ uniforms are likely to attract the most attention. Tilted Kilt is known for Celtic inspired plaid uniforms: the men wear kilts and the women wear “mini-kilts,” or knee-high socks, short skirts and matching plaid bras under white camp shirts tied to show off the midriff.

Fisher expects the restaurant to open sometime between December and Jan. 10, 2012, depending on how quickly construction can be completed, the restaurant furnished and employees hired and trained.

“Santa Clarita has welcomed us with open arms,” Fisher said. “It’s going to be a perfect fit.”

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