The operator of an Indianapolis Colts-themed restaurant that closed Thursday is hoping he can reopen soon with the help of the team’s owner.
Jim Irsay has pledged to throw Blue Crew Sports Grill owner Randy Collins a lifeline by paying his rent until the football season starts in September, Collins said.
The landlord of the restaurant at 7035 E. 96th Street locked its doors after Collins’ debt reached about $75,000 in unpaid rent.
Collins signed a 10-year lease when he and two business partners opened in October 2006, He said he pays about $8,400 in rent per month.
Negotiations are under way with landlord Monroe Realty to reopen the restaurant with the help of Irsay’s gift. A lawyer for the landlord couldn't be reached for comment Friday morning.
“To get me into football season, that’s a very, very generous thing for him to do,” Collins said of Irsay’s gesture.” I don’t think there’s any business that’s supported him more. “I’m a good ambassador for the Colts.”
Collins said Irsay learned of the Blue Crew’s situation through social media. A post on the restaurant’s Facebook page Thursday morning alerted patrons of the closing.
In response, Irsay tweeted Thursday night: "Randy called me and said."..Got mashed potatoes…can't get no T-Bone!!!.."..so I said we'll float that rent fer a little bit n keep rockin'."
Collins said he assumed sole ownership of the restaurant after he and business partners Dan Dilbeck and Everett Myers opened the 4,000-square-foot restaurant nearly seven years ago.
Collins operates a construction business on the side, which has helped to keep his restaurant operating. He said Blue Crew has never been profitable and, if it reopens, changes may need to be made.
“We need to buckle down a little bit,” he said. “I do have to give better service to my customers; better daily specials.”
The restaurant was outfitted floor to ceiling with Colts memorabilia, big-screen televisions and a huge horseshoe-shaped bar.
If it reopens, Collins hopes more primetime Colts games this year will help lure more customers to the restaurant.