Bar 145 opened its second company-owned location in Kent Jan. 17 at 100 E. Erie St., as part of new entertainment district located near Kent State University in northeastern Ohio.
Toledo’s first gastropub, which began franchising in July 2012, has plans to open at least three additional locations this year, including one in Columbus. Afterward, Bar 145 projects opening a new location every six months with a combination of both corporate-owned and franchised locations. Target markets include Cleveland, Chicago, Miami, Nashville, and Ann Arbor, Mich.
When it opened its doors in May 2011, Bar 145 became the first gastropub in Toledo. Lending to the definition of a “gastropub,” Bar 145 is relaxed and comfortable like a neighborhood bar, but instead of nachos and chicken wings, the menu features tempura-battered green beans, sliced pretzel bread with organic gouda sauce and “Stack Your Own” burgers featuring Niman Ranch beef, considered to be some of the finest tasting, all-natural meat in the world.
Owner-operator Jeremy Fitzgerald has spent more than half his young life in the hospitality business. In addition to serving as the general manager of his family’s two bars, which includes Mr. Ed’s Bar and Grille on Put-in-Bay near Lake Erie, Fitzgerald is also the owner and operator of a Subway franchise on the island.
For Bar 145, Fitzgerald is targeting investors who have the resources and restaurant industry experience necessary for multi-unit ownership and growth within a designated territory.
“We offer a unique concept that allows our franchise owners to appeal to a large number of people with Bar 145’s gastropub identity,” Fitzgerald says. “We offer gourmet food that far exceeds what you get at a typical bar while still providing an atmosphere that is energetic and entertaining with live music and a modern décor. Bar 145 appeals to an eclectic group of people that allows for strong lunch and dinner sales while still taking advantage of the ‘after-hour’ late crowd.”
Utilizing local farmers (a mandate for franchisees, as well) and purchasing fresh products daily allows Bar 145 to offer a wide variety of exciting dishes, all under the direction of executive chef Robby Lucas, who gained extensive experience working at some of the nation’s finest restaurants and who will continue to oversee Bar 145’s menu offerings as the concept expands.
While it’s traditional for most gastropubs to feature craft beers, Bar 145 restaurants spotlight bourbon in more than 20 varieties, along with creative bourbon cocktails including the BLT (Bulleit, Lemon, and Tonic), Kentucky Lemonade (Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Lemonade, fresh Lemon, and Bitters) and Bourbon Ball Manhattan (Woodford Reserve Bourbon, White Crème di Cacao, and Frangelico liqueur served up or on the rocks).
Bar 145’s food and drink menus are complemented by an inviting atmosphere, with a spacious patio with high-rise tables and a 50-seat oval bar split by an industrial-size garage door and flat-screen TVs strategically located for easy viewing. Restaurants are between 5,000 and 7,000 square feet and are suitable for strip centers, lifestyle centers, and entertainment districts in urban and suburban areas.
Additionally, Bar 145 restaurants feature live music six nights a week, ranging from acoustic to dueling pianos to ultimate party bands from across the country. Local favorites bring in a loyal fan base every time they play Bar 145. Locations are anticipated to quickly build a reputation as the place to go to see great bands.
“My dream ever since I was young was to create my own concept and franchise it,” Fitzgerald says. “My No. 1 goal has always been to create a concept that was new and fresh and provide something that no one else has been able to do. I strongly feel that our concept behind Bar 145 will be something that other people in other cities will embrace.”
For more information about Bar 145, visit www.bar-145.com.