Restaurateur Scott Wise, wife, file for bankruptcy

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Scott Wise

Local restaurateur Scott Wise and his wife, Amy Wise, filed for personal bankruptcy protection earlier this month, following an unsuccessful attempt to work through financial issues related to the failure of the Scotty’s Brewhouse restaurant chain.

The Wises filed for bankruptcy Oct. 5 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana.  According to the bankruptcy petition, the Indianapolis couple has assets of $956,800 and liabilities of $3.44 million.

This is the second time in three years that the couple has filed for bankruptcy. They previously filed on Oct. 11, 2019, at that time declaring assets of $1.21 million and liabilities of $2.79 million.

Scott Wise is the founder and former owner of the now-defunct Scotty’s Brewhouse chain. The first Scotty’s opened in Muncie in 1996, and by 2016, the chain had grown to 17 locations—15 Scotty’s Brewhouses and two Thr3e Wise Men brewpubs. In 2016 Wise sold the company to Arizona-based Due North Holdings LLC and the Japanese firm Sase Kosan K.K. for around $10 million.

Scotty’s Holdings LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December 2018 and all the restaurants have since closed.

The Wises had personally guaranteed the leases for some of Scotty’s locations.

In an email to IBJ on Wednesday, Scott Wise said he voluntarily dismissed his 2019 personal bankruptcy case “because I was hopeful I could work through the obligations on the Scotty’s leases which were supposed to have been resolved by the Scotty’s organization as part of my sale of the company. The buyers assured me this would all get taken care of. Unfortunately, they did not do as they promised before they bankrupted Scotty’s and I was not able to solve their problem of unpaid leases.”

IBJ was unable Wednesday afternoon to reach Berekk Blackwell, who was vice president of Due North Holdings at the time Scotty’s Holdings filed for bankruptcy.

In 2019, the Wises filed Chapter 13—a form of bankruptcy protection that allows the debtor to keep his or her property and pay debts over a period of time, usually three to five years.

This time around the Wises filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 7, or liquidation, involves the sale of the debtor’s nonexempt property, with the sales proceeds distributed to creditors.

Post-Scotty’s, Scott Wise and some financial partners opened Roots Burger Bar in mid-2019. The first location to open, at 1700 W. University Ave. in Muncie, is in the same building that housed the original Scotty’s Brewhouse. Roots also has one location each in Indianapolis and Carmel.

Scott Wise said his personal bankruptcy will have no impact on Roots Burger Bar. “Roots is not implicated in this case in any way.”

Wise also works as a vice president and broker in the Indianapolis office of commercial real estate firm CBRE.

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16 thoughts on “Restaurateur Scott Wise, wife, file for bankruptcy

  1. The tough part of entrepreneurship – sometimes businesses fail. Personal risks by entrepreneurs – exactly such as this – help create new businesses and grow jobs, so best wishes in dusting off and starting anew.

    1. Well Said Jim – Well Said. Scott Wise could have moved away from Indy and called it a day. Sounds like he is loving on his family and building again. For that we should celebrate and seek to hear about his future successes vs reveling in his past failures. Onwards. Unrelated. Man I miss Scotty’s / such a good place – esp to take kiddos.

  2. It’s one thing to run a high profile article regarding the bankruptcy of a business. Quite another to do the same regarding someone’s personal financial issues who is not a public official, running for office, etc. Cheap shot. Seems like someone’s got an axe to grind.

    1. Exactly. Cowardly article by a person who obviously hides behind a keyboard for a living versus takes risk and has the guts to go for it. Scott will be back.

  3. If you factor in inflation, lawyer fees and likely high late fees from various lenders, they are filing about the same losses as they did three years ago. Respect for giving it a hard try and staying even for 3 years. Scotty’s bars were always good when I visited. I hope new ventures are successful.

  4. If he received $10 million for selling Scotty’s in 2016, but only listed $1.2 million of assets in 2019, where’d all the money go. Did he have ~$10 million or more of liabilities at the time he sold? If you’re going to write this story, that seems like I question you’d ask.

    1. The article said he personally guaranteed the leases on several of the Scotty’s locations so I’m sure him trying to continue to pay the monthly leases are up a large amount of his available assets.

    1. As the story clearly points out, the bankruptcy is tied to obligations from business leases. This is very much a business story that contains relevant information for anybody who operates a business or is thinking about running one.

  5. The Scotty’s in Muncie was a memorable part of my Muncie/ Ball State experience. Hard to believe a chain of such a great restaurant failed to cover it’s liabilities. I’m curious what the nail in the coffin was. Best wishes, Wise family. Hopeful that you’ll try again.