Scotty’s Brewhouse could shrink with sublease

August 1, 2013
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The downtown location of Scotty’s Brewhouse apparently is too big for the amount of traffic the restaurant generates.

scotty_brewhouse_225pxFounder Scott Wise is searching for a tenant to sublease about 2,500 square feet within the existing 12,000-square-foot space at 1 Virginia Ave. a block north of Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Wise recently tweeted that the space is available, which he says in marketing materials would be “great” for a bagel or sandwich shop, or convenience or cupcake store.

The space Wise would relinquish runs from the west wall to where the U-shaped bar is located. He said the bar would be dismantled in favor of a longer, straight configuration to accommodate another tenant.

“There’s just a lot of space that’s not being used smartly,” Wise said.

Wise, who operates six Scotty’s Brewhouse locations in Indiana, said the size of his restaurants typically range from 8,000 to 10,000 square feet. He opted for more space downtown because he thought traffic would be greater.

The location draws a large lunch crowd, he said, but many evenings are slow without the support of an Indiana Pacers game or downtown convention.

“I thought that the bigger I could make my restaurants, the more money I could make,” Wise said. “And that’s a stupid proposition to make.”

His smallest restaurant, in Mishawaka, is only 7,000 square feet but is more profitable than his other locations, Wise said, because he’s able to maximize his space.

Wise’s landlord downtown is Allen Commercial Group, which owns the building known as Allen Plaza. Scotty’s Brewhouse opened there in 2009.

Wise also owns Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Co. in Broad Ripple.


  • Price
    The decision to raise prices has hurt business in my opinion. I noticed a relatively substantial jump for the same or lesser quality food. This is the main reason I have avoided the restaurant.
  • Service is the problem
    The few times I've been to this Scotty's, service is the problem. People on a lunch hour or en route to an event can't dawdle while the wait staff chats!
  • Stinks
    I agree- the main probelm is the service. They have a great location, great selection of beer, but the service stinks. I can't say how many times I've walked in to see a group of early-20-somethings lounging all over the front desk. Or how about constantly running out of their beer varieties. Or waiting 30 minutes to get a check. Take care of the customer and the customer will take care of you.
  • never been
    I have never bother to go because of the above comments. I work on the West side of the circle. Why would I want to walk to a place that does not value my time at work or an event. Maybe some better maanagement of the waiting staff would make the difference.
  • slow service
    Chiming in on the service...not only is it always slow (and i mean always) but it is also terrible a lot of the times too...if you are going to be slow don't also get orders wrong and forget checks/drinks.
  • Price & Service
    I loved Scotty's when it first opened downtown because it is a block from my office and I always had great experiences at the locations. The service is HORRIBLE and slow. It is impossible to get in and out within an hour for lunch no matter if you get there at 11am or after 1pm. The food is just ok for the amount you pay. Coworkers and I stopped going for Happy Hour because the staff couldn't figure out how to handle a group larger than 2 people.
  • Get Coca Cola back
    I've stopped eating there because they switched to Pepsi. Went from 2 or 3 times a month to maybe 2 or 3 times a year.
  • Service
    I thought I was the only one who received awful service at Scottys. Let me just repeat, the service is TERRIBLE. There have been times where there have been more employees than patrons at the Downtown Scottys and the service was still extremely slow. Add in the extremely overpriced food and its no shock business is bad in one of the best locations downtown. I wouldn't mind if they went away altogether!
  • Lesson to be Learned
    The comments here are very telling. Seems like management would benefit by reading what folks are posting here. I don't recall seeing this much agreement on any article I've read in this blog. They are enough to keep me from using my lunch hour for a bad experience. I don't think too much space is their problem.
  • Service
    I went there before a Sunday night Fever game a few weeks back. They made us wait 20 minutes for a table while the restaurant was mostly empty. They did not have enough servers and you could see them frantically calling servers to come in for shifts. Several groups that were on there way to the Fever game came in and left when they heard the wait. I would think a restaurant so dependent on conventions, sporting events etc. would know the schedule and plan staff accordingly. The Fever I believe usually draw 7,500 to 10,000 per game. That is still enough people to make an impact on a restaurant so close to the Fieldhouse. No wonder they are having issues. It does seem like this location does have some service issues. On the other hand, I have always had good service at the 96th St. location.
  • Hmmm
    Have never been and, even though I live right down the street now, after reading these comments I'm in no hurry to visit.
  • A Shame
    It's a shame this location has such poor service as the other Scotty's locations always seem to be spot on. Their first restaurant in Muncie and their 96th street locations are usually busy and have great service, decent beer selection, and are reasonably priced. Looks like Scott needs to look into the reason his downtown spot (with one of the best locations imaginable) isn't keeping up with the suburbs.
  • Slow Service
    I came enjoy Scotty's while in Bloomington and was happy they open a location downtown. I've been a dozen or more times and I can agree the service is slow. Perhaps condensing the floor space will help the staff cover their area quicker. I would call the quality of service average. I still return for the food, but our group usually finds other places to go to lounge and drink.
  • Service speaks loundly!
    Just reading the comments on the article tells me the problem! If you treat the customers well, they will always take care of you. Mr. Wise, I hope you will get the management staff to realize the impression of the Restaurant. I would be embarrassed to admit that I'm connected to this place. Hopefully these comments woke someone up! It definitely consistent.
    I agree with the service. It is terrible!! The staff are rude and constantly busy socializing with each other. I have gotten cold food before and had to send it back twice and still came back cold. It is a shame because the food could be good. He needs to work on training his employees to act like they actually care about their job. Glad to know I am not the only person who has experienced bad service.
  • Ditto everyone
    Seeing how everyone I know as well as the previous posters always comments about the bad service, Scott Wise must be fine with it and just assumes people will go because of the location. There is no way he doesn't know about the terrible service there.
  • Add Me to the List
    I completely agree about service issues. My husband and I stopped going here after being ignored by our server at the bar while she flirted with a group of young, single guys on the opposite side. There are plenty of other places to eat where the servers are attentive and friendly to all guests.
  • Making Changes
    If I was Scott Wise I would be downtown having a meeting with my managers and staff about these comments instead of promoting my VIP program and live music on Twitter.
    • Scottys
      Its such a shame that a place with such poor service is in such a prime location in downtown Indianapolis. It really gives a terrible impression of our city to the many visitors that come here. Hopefully visitors don't think all restaurants in Indy have such poor service.
    • Scottys employees
      I have to agree with most of the above comments. Everytime I have been in there, it seems the primary goal of employees is to socialize. To most of the employees, serving customers is just something that gets in the way of chatting it up with each other. But hey, who can blame them? If my bosses don't care, why should I put in the effort to provide good customer service when I can just socialize??
    • LOL
      Wow, there are very few things that all people agree on these days...and the opinion that Scotty's service is pretty bad is one of them!
    • Exactly.
      Perfectly stated.
    • Disagree
      I have been to the downtown location as well as several locations throughout the city and Muncie because I love the restaurant. The food is great---it's a brewhouse not a 5 star so, no, it won't have that quality of food but the food is great! Prices are higher than Applebees or such because the quality of food is also better. I know that the food is bought locally where possible and I appreciate that fact. The service is no slower than other restaurants of the type where food is made to order. As far as the employees, I am always impressed by the quality of servers that Scotty's always finds, no one has guages in their ears or dirty fingernails and I know for a fact that the servers go through a rigourous training process and it shows! The downtown location patio is unrivaled and I defy you to find better atmosphere at any other downtown restaurant. Bottom line----HUGE fan of Scotty's and probably will remain so for a long time.
    • RE: SuzAnne
      Nice of you to join the conversation Ms. Wise...
    • Oh SuzAnne
      If you take a minute to read through the comments you can see that many of us are, in fact, fans of Scotty's Brewhouse. We pretty much universally agree, however, that the downtown location has staffing & service issues.
    • I'm Sorry
      Thank you all for your comments, concerns and feedback. Please know that this does not fall upon deaf ears. I promise you all that I take this very personally. Too much so, probably, as it hurts my heart and caused me a lot of sleepless nights and anxiety. I want you to be proud of me, this local restaurant and this Indiana boy that has put his heart and soul and every penny into this restaurant and gives 100% every day. I want to make Indianapolis proud, not embarrassed of what visitors may think of our city from dining at my restaurant. We are a hard working team of human beings. Meaning, we make mistakes. And, we have made a lot of them. I am not here to blame anyone but myself. We have worked hard, but, not hard enough to cure our problem downtown and that problem is the restaurant’s size is too large. The service issues stem from this problem. I thought that we could remedy this in time and just learn our systems – but, a 17,000 sq. ft. restaurant with a lunch crowd and pre-concert crowd that needs fed in an hour, as we go to a completely full restaurant in a matter of minutes – has been an unexpected learning lesson for me. Again, I’m not here to give excuses – just merely to tell you I’ve made mistakes, I’m listening to your comments and I have a plan to fix them. Even before we hopefully lease out 3,000 sq. ft. to help alleviate our size issues – we have a plan to change our seating plan currently to improve the speed of dining, which in turn will give you great customer service by our staff. I built this restaurant when I was 22 in Muncie, Indiana and I prided myself on our service. I always said, “Everyone sells hamburgers and fries. But, the point of differentiation for us that will make us successful will be that our service will exceed expectations.” 17 years later, we have fulfilled that mission until now. But, I’m not a quitter, I’m a fighter and I want you all to give me another chance. I beg of you to support a local boy with a family at home and a family of managers and staff of 800 in our communities. I work hard to be active in our community with philanthropics and charity events. I need your support now more than ever. Give me a chance to correct our problems and come see us again. Thank you again. I’m sorry for all of this. I’m embarrassed, as I should be. But, I admit my mistakes and would appreciate your forgiveness and second chances… -Scotty Wise
      • I Will Be Back
        Scott... A lot of people in Indy believe in you and your business. Fix your mistakes and the people will come. You will get a second - and most likely a third chance from me. Thanks for responding.
      • Size?
        Size has nothing to do with the wait staff, hostesses and bartenders standing around chit chatting with each other and copping an attitude when you ask them to do something.
          It's apparent from the above comments that service is the reason, not space. I have never been to Scotty's Brewhouse but I have heard in numerous occasions that service has always been an issue. Why? Let's face it: Indianapolis is a service dessert. Unfortunately, it all starts with management. Servers not only need to be trained better, but more importantly, should be constantly reminded that THEY choose this as a profession...not a 4-5 hour shift at the playground. Most servers are entitled as they strut in 5-10 hours after the kitchen sets them up (or not so much) for success and expect to walk away with hundreds of dollars in their pocket after their 5 hour shift. It's sad because many are mislead by management who won't hold no accountability at the end of the day---which unfortunately ends in too many below mediocre meals-experiences. It's embarrassing to admit...but Welcome to our SERVICE DESSERT.
          • Isolated Issues
            I have been to Scotty's locations in Muncie, Bloomington, 96th Street, and I am a regular customer at Three Wise Men in Broad Ripple. I have never been to the downtown location, but have received excellent service at all of his other spots I've visited. I think it takes a lot of guts for Scott to come on this forum and express his feelings and address the issues downtown. I would bet that location will be in much better shape in the near future. Scotty: Cheers to you for addressing these issues publicly.
          • Re- Service
            Very refreshing to see a business owner admit their issues and own up to it. Your wings are amazing. I'll be back!
          • Re: Scott
            Scott, thank you for coming on here to respond to customers' concerns. I'm sure most people like myself want you to succeed and hopefully the changes you are making will help with the issues at the downtown location. But please don't think reducing the size will solve all problems. I belive a lot of it has to do with the attitude of your staff. A place can be 500 sf can have awful service and one with 50,000 square feet can have amazing service.
          • Ok...comment not as sweet!
            Sorry, DESSERT is too sweet! Desert. Service Desert, lol!
          • Good food and service for us
            Wife and I only eat out once a week. We've been to the locations in Muncie and 96th St. once, downtown twice, and Three Wise Men once. Service has never been an issue in the few times we've eaten there. I do remember five to seven employees hanging out at the front desk area at the downtown location. Seemed to be the place to be I guess. Food has always been good, and price reasonable enough. Don't really live close to any location, which is why we have only went a few times.
          • "My success story"
            There are 34 times Scott Wise used any reference to himself, such as "I", "me" etc. Twenty four "I", to include the use of I'm and I've, alone. That seems very pointed toward Scott Wise and not his customers complaints. He should be concerned about his customers ... only a thought.
            • yep....
              @ "can you believe this" I noticed that too -- if it was indeed him that posted the testimonial.... very narcissistic.... wow....
            • there's just no pleasing ...
              I have read the comments about poor service, and several hoping that Scott Wise would read their concerns and respond. He did so, and stated openly that he took it *personally* and was loosing sleep over the comments. In my opinion, it's forgivable that he responded using a few more personal pronouns than some might have liked. Sounded to me like he's tired, overwhelmed, and sincere. I can't believe someone has nothing better to do than to count Scott's use of pronouns. He's not an english major or a PR writer. You want a business owner to respond, and then insult him when he does. Sheesh, put down your stones.
            • Scotty's Supporter
              This is just a comment to let Scotty and team know that Scotty's Restaurant & Bar is a GREAT local establishment. All restaurants have service issues at one time or another. That doesn't change the fact that they have great food for the price, as well as large beer selection and fun atmosphere. I know that if a group of my friends is headed out to "watch the game" or have dinner, we often choose to spend our money at Scotty's (or 3 Wisemen!). I will continue to take friends and family from out of town to Scotty's for a taste of the local scene. In a city full of chain restaurants, I think Scotty's is a local staple and we should keep it that way! Also, if service is such an issue for some, then perhaps you should speak up and let the manager know about your experience. Only then will changes be made! In the meantime, keep up the good work Scotty's! I'll be in again soon.
            • Can You Believe This Is Right
              He/She summed Scott Wise up very well with the observation of the narcissism. I'm in the restaurant business and read the IBJ a lot, so I have seen much about Scott Wise in the past few years. This guy cares only about getting his name out there and becoming a local celeb. He has a link on his website to book him as a public speaker! Seriously? Run your business. He can't find investors to open new locations. If the Brewhouses were profitable, people would line up to invest money. There are more negative comments about service on this article than on most yelp review lists on any restaurant in the city. How can you be so blind about your own business? The service is horrible at all of his locations. If you are one of the few that thinks it's good, then you need to venture to other places more and see what good service actually is. Yes the location downtown is too big, but that's hardly the reason the service sucks. There is a huge difference between long ticket times on food and blatant lack of customer service. He lost the contract on a couple of franchise type locations, another one closed I believe, and this location is being kept afloat simply for appearance. Losing money every month in a thriving downtown atmosphere where most businesses are increasing volume every year. Sorry to vent, it just frustrates me that people consider his places to be quality at all. It's a glorified chili's or applebees and he tries to convince everyone to support him because he's from Indiana. Provide good food and good service and you'll have all the support you need Scott.
            • Former employee
              I understand the complaints about service. As a former employee, I would say that about half of the staff didn't care about the job, they just needed a few bucks to go drinking. When I worked there, managers wanted to use the restaurant as a dating service and routinely let attractive, young waitresses ignore their tables and hang out in the conference room with the managers (making plans about where to drink later that night). Quality standards were nonexistent. I can't remember how many times I saw kitchen workers and wait staff arguing over a screwed up/poorly cooked order. There was just very little organization from the managers. Maybe this has been fixed. I haven't been there in a while because I knew I would get poor service.
            • Keep it up Scott
              I'm a fan of Scott and Scottys. While the service and food has been lackluster as of late... I believe Scott will turn it around and deliver an even better experience than before. I'm behind Scott! Let's get it done.
            • Another former employee
              I worked at the West Lafayette location years ago, and let me tell you another problem for kitchen staff was the sheer size of the menu. At the time, it was larger than the Cheesecake Factory's, and it might be months before you learn how to make a particular dish. It looks like he reduced the size a year or so ago, but it's still awfully large. I still hesitate to order anything I know didn't get ordered often, because I'm pretty certain it won't come out right. (That, and the prices were/are ridiculously expensive, and we were forced to purchase his T-shirts as uniforms.)

            Post a comment to this blog

            We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
            You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
            Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
            No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
            We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

            Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

            Sponsored by
            1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

            2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

            3. I've been looking for news on Corner Bakery, too, but there doesn't seem to be any info out there. I prefer them over Panera and Paradise so can't wait to see where they'll be!

            4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

            5. The Pedcor debt is from the CRC paying ~$23M for the Pedcor's parking garage at City Center that is apprased at $13M. Why did we pay over the top money for a private businesses parking? What did we get out of it? Pedcor got free parking for their apartment and business tenants. Pedcor now gets another building for free that taxpayers have ~$3M tied up in. This is NOT a win win for taxpayers. It is just a win for Pedcor who contributes heavily to the Friends of Jim Brainard. The campaign reports are on the Hamilton County website. Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim