The Greene Turtle Sports Bar & Grille officially entered West Virginia today with the debut of a new restaurant featuring 6,000 square feet of interior space and a 3,000-square-foot outdoor deck offering outdoor diners a view of live music performances on an adjacent year-round concert stage.

Located just west of Interstate 79 at 7100 Willie G Avenue, the new restaurant is operated by GT Westover LLC. Principals Cliff Sutherland and Steve Solomon also own the local motorcycle dealership, Triple S Harley-Davidson, are currently developing several hotels, and are partners with a third owner in a business that builds and rents apartments. Vice president of Franchising Tom Finn says that the new location and its operators bring many qualities that The Greene Turtle seeks for its franchise program.

“Cliff and Steve have a great track record in business development and a strong presence among many demographic groups that live in and pass through Morgantown,” he says. “This is a dynamic city, with low unemployment, high population growth, a flood of new construction and it’s home to West Virginia University, whose athletic program generates the kind of sports enthusiasm that characterizes many of our customers. What’s more, opening here brings us closer to Pittsburgh and key parts of Ohio that fit our expansion model of selecting markets within about two hours’ travel time from our Hanover, Maryland, headquarters. Given all these factors, we are equally excited about the potential for this location and its implications for our continued growth.”

Bob Barry, CEO and president of The Greene Turtle, adds that the Morgantown opening comes at a time when The Greene Turtle is hitting a number of milestones and seeing increased interest among both consumers and franchise candidates.

 “We’re thrilled to be expanding into another state with this opening,” he says. “Our new restaurant in Morgantown will be followed later this month by the opening of a new site in Bel Air, Marylamd, our 40th location, and comes just as we head into our 40th year in business. We will open several more sites yet this year and have more than 30 other projects on the books via signed franchise and development agreements. We will also soon be announcing another double-digit deal that will push us into yet another new market. As we celebrate each of these milestones, we’re moving steadily toward our goal of having 150 locations throughout the Eastern U.S., and our loyal fans are embracing our growth time after time.”

Sutherland, who worked his way through school working in restaurant kitchen and in bars, says he handpicked The Greene Turtle as the dining concept to add to his property. He has followed the brand since its infancy, he says, and feels it is the perfect fit for his property and for Morgantown.

“I’ve known the brand for many years,” he says, “and I think they’ve done a wonderful job of evolving it into an exciting opportunity. The casual dining industry as a whole may be down, but this chain is growing and the family atmosphere, the pub-style atmosphere, the sports, the tremendous quality of food and the consistency of the offering are what really excite me. We think The Greene Turtle has a great future here.”

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