The Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery, a Celtic-themed pub, is coming to FresnoThe Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery — a Celtic-themed restaurant that is a cross between Hooters and the movie Braveheart — is coming to the Fresno market.
The Tempe, Ariz.-based eatery has 80 locations in the U.S. and Canada, including six in Southern California. Similar to Hooters and its famous servers in short shorts, Tilted Kilt features female servers wearing kilts and matching bra tops.
The franchise has inked a 10-store deal with NoCal Tilt Holdings, LLC to develop stores in Fresno, Sacramento and the Silicone Valley/East Bay areas over the next five years. NoCal Tilt Holdings is currently scouting locations. The first Northern California stores could be open by early next year.
Justin Lemos is the Northern California area developer. Lemos is based in San Francisco but started with Tilted Kilt in 2008 as a general manager, working his way up to a director of field operations, according to his LinkedIn page. He opened more than 50 pubs as a field operations director.
Lemos said in an interview that Fresno’s top shopping centers — River Park and Fashion Fair Mall — are both potential locations of interest for one or possibly two restaurants. Depending on how long it takes to develop the projects, Fresno’s location may be among the first to open next year, he added.
The typical Tilted Kilt location ranges between 6,000 and 8,000 square feet and employs up to 100 workers, he said.
David Kaufman, CEO of Tilted Kilt, said in an interview that Fresno’s famous Bulldog Spirit was an indicator that the community is ready for his brand of sports bar.
“The Bulldogs are an integral part of the community in Fresno and we want to have a place their fans can enjoy watching Fresno State and other sporting events,” Kaufman said.
Tilted Kilt, with the tagline “Best looking sports pubs you’ve ever seen,” was originally developed for the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas in 2003. Bakersfield had a Tilted Kilt location that opened in 2008 but closed two years later. According to published reports, Bakersfield owner Jeremy Helper said the restaurant was successful but he wanted to focus on his family and other businesses.
Helper also purchased exclusive franchise rights for Fresno and Valencia, but never built restaurants in those areas.