Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery has entered the Toledo market, having opened a location on May 1 at The Shops at Fallen Timbers in Maumee. The fast-growing Celtic themed sports pub was founded in 2003, franchised in 2006, and now has 93 locations nationwide with another 35 in development.
Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery opened May 1 at The Shops at Fallen Timbers in Maumee. Toledo Free Press Photo by Andrew Weber
It delivers an expansive food menu with American and contemporary pub food, 48 beers on tap and 56 televisions, but it is arguably best known for its Kilt Girls, the waitress staff who wear mini-kilts and tiny plaid bras (even men dress in thematic kilts).
“If I put a movie label on it, it would be PG-13,” said Sean Cahill, owner and franchisee. “That’s the way I like to characterize the theme and the uniforms.”
“Breastaurant” is another tag used by some, a category not preferred by the corporate office.
“We have never referred to ourselves as a ‘breastaurant,’” said Mark Hanby, senior vice president of development. “We actually don’t like that term for our brand. I want to clarify that’s not a term we normally use. We work so hard at our menu, and we hire specialty chefs and celebrity chefs to help us find the most unique product we can find. We do a lot of things in there that provide entertainment to the guests that provide a good time.”
After just a few days of operation, Cahill wasn’t worried about any potential negativity – he knew the area wanted more eateries.
“Some of the biggest guest comments is that ‘We’re so glad you’re here, we needed another restaurant,’” Cahill said. “There hasn’t been enough variety out here.”
But did customers want a restaurant that some argue make women look like objects?
“We haven’t (received criticism),” Cahill said. “Actually 40 percent of our customer counts are women. We’re a lot more sophisticated than the others. That’s what drew me to this concept, it’s a variety of everything. Good food, good sports – there’s really no competitor to it. Really, if you don’t have good food, people aren’t going to come back.
I think they need to come and experience it. This is a trademarked uniform, the only one in the country. It isn’t selling the wrong things. There’s a sophisticated feel to it. There’s a classy feel to it.”
Tilted Kilt acknowledges its signature uniform, but keeps it in perspective.
“We don’t shy away from the fact that we have a sexy costume for the servers to wear, but it’s all in fun,” Hanby said. “There’s no lines crossed. We understand it’s all about perception. This is not real far reaching from what we see on television today, or on billboards. We see a lot more in pop culture and around us.”
Cahill is originally from Columbus and brings 10 years of restaurant experience. Tilted Kilt has locations in metro Detroit, Cleveland and Columbus, but Toledo was always on his radar.
“I’ve always looked at the Toledo market,” Cahill said. “It made a lot of sense for the area. I’m Ohio born, and always thought it would be a good concept for Toledo.”
“Every time we opened a store in Ohio, we got more and more appreciation for what we do,” Hanby said. “We’ve been working on this for a long time and it took time to get things right.”
Not only has Tilted Kilt hired 168 people, they’re all from the area.
“Everyone who has been hired here, were all jobs secured by the area,” Cahill said. “We don’t bring people in from out of town like other chains do.”
Despite his movie label comparison that might otherwise warn parents of material inappropriate for children, Cahill insists it’s a place for everyone, including families.
“I can tell you that I have 10 high chairs here and we’ve had them all on the floor,” Cahill said. “It’s PG-13, but 80 percent of our restaurant is designed for family seating. The PG-13 label is a good one.”
Tilted Kilt is open 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Wednesday and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday through Saturday. For more information, call (419) 878-7200 or visit tiltedkilt.com.