They’ll come for the hot ladies in costume, but they’ll return for the food.
So says restaurateur Amir Patel, who is bringing the Tilted Kilt franchise to Virginia with a location near Fort Lee set to open next month.
The Tilted Kilt launched in Las Vegas in 2003 and has more than 50 locations across the country. The Celtic-themed sports pub is perhaps best known for its buxom waitresses clad in plaid miniskirts and exposed bras.
But Patel, 35, says he intends for his location to be family friendly.
BizSense caught up with Patel, who also owns the Great Wraps and Extreme Pizza locations near Virginia Commonwealth University, to talk about how he got involved with the Tilted Kilt and his plans for the new location.
Below is an edited transcript.
Richmond BizSense: Why locate in Prince George and not closer to Richmond?
Amir Patel: I’m from Prince George. I grew up there, so I know that Colonial Heights market.
RBS: How did Tilted Kilt get on your radar, and what made you decide to get involved?
AP: I’d seen it maybe a couple of years ago and thought it was a pretty good concept. I thought it was good for certain markets. The military is one. It is also a destination point: People will travel 10 to 12 miles to go to one. So Colonial Heights is a good market for that.
Buffalo Wild Wings is the only real player in that market, and our food is a lot better. I am very picky when it comes to that. I felt that that there was a need in that area for another sports bar pub.
Plus the twist is to have attractive women in costume there to make that much more of an experience.
RBS: Speaking of the costumes, are you catering mostly to a male demographic?
AP: No, not at all. When I went to the one in White Marsh, Md., there was [a group of] 80-year-old women having a little luncheon, and I couldn’t believe it. The girls are in the costume, and that is part of the experience, but it is very family orientated. It is not a place for a bunch of guys to hang out and stare. I don’t want that. I wouldn’t open it if that was my vision.
I have three kids myself, and I’m planning on doing kids eat free night Sunday to Thursday.
RBS: You are opening in a former Uno Pizzeria. What type of build-out are you doing?
AP: We are doing a total renovation — a very expensive renovation. We’re going to be doing a millwork ceiling to give it an Irish-Scottish feel with high-end furniture and a 35-seat bar in the middle. There is a signature thing called the Captain’s Table that is next to the bar. The finishes are very high-end in there. Then you have the audio-visual system. And an outdoor patio.
RBS: How many people do you plan to hire?
AP: About 70.
RBS: Do you plan to open additional locations? What is your territory?
AP: Yes, we have the development rights for about five locations within a two-hour radius.
RBS: Tell me a little more about your background. How did you get started in restaurants?
AP: I worked in New York for Credit Suisse but decided to come home. My family is from here and is in the hotel business. I decided I wanted to start my own business in Richmond. I saw the growth around VCU that was going on about nine years ago and opened Great Wraps and Extreme Pizza.