When two guys with Kenosha ties were looking to go into business, they settled on bringing a new franchise to Kenosha.
Mike Roscioli and Chris Gochis met through business. Gochis’ family owns the Somers House tavern; Mike Roscioli was a sales representative for a liquor distributor. Both have families that own businesses in Kenosha. They decided to become business partners, looking for a venture of their own.
“We were just looking to do something else, and we looked at 50 or 75 different concepts,” Roscioli said. On a trip to Arizona, the two came across the Tilted Kilt franchises.
“We liked the look and the food,” Roscioli said.
“We definitely thought it was a new trend for the restaurant industry,” Gochis said.
The first Tilted Kilt opened in Las Vegas in 2003, the concept combining a traditional Irish pub with a sports bar, along with scantily clad waitresses in short, plaid skirts and bras. The chain is one of a several franchises dubbed “breastaurants” along the line of Hooters.
Gochis and Roscioli are not fond of the Hooters comparison.
“We’re so beyond that,” Gochis said.
The business partners said they were attracted by the traditional pub style of the restaurant, along with the menu and the number of television screens available for sports.
“It brings the combination of great food and great viewing and a lively atmosphere all into one,” Gochis said. “Even if you take the girls out of the equation, when you walk in it grabs you right away because it is so lively.”
The two bought the rights for a Kenosha franchise in early 2010. They have since bought two more locations. Although they owned the Kenosha rights first, as they searched for a location they ended up opening a Tilted Kilt in Vernon Hills first.
The Kenosha location, 7000 74th Place, opened in March in the former Old Country Buffet. The restaurant employs about 160 people.
According to Gochis and Roscioli, there are now 13 Tilted Kilt restaurants in the Chicago area. They plan to open their next Tilted Kilt in Gurnee.
The corporate website said there will be 85 in the United States and Canada by the end of the year.