Eatery plans Franklin location

This summer, diners will have a new option in Franklin to grab craft beers, burgers, steaks and seafood at a brewhouse.

Scotty’s Brew Club will open at Hillview Country Club, located off King Street near Interstate 65, in mid-June. The new restaurant will be located at the private country club, but will be open to the public.

Scotty’s operates 11 brewhouses in Indiana, six of which are in central Indiana including one location in Southport.

Franklin has been hoping to attract more sit-down restaurants around the I-65 exit as part of a development plan to bring more visitors to the city and pull travelers off the highway. The new Scotty’s is also the fourth brewhouse planned for Franklin this year, joining three local residents trying to open new breweries and restaurants downtown this summer.

The new restaurant will fit in with the efforts to spur some growth on the city’s east side, as well as fit in with efforts to revitalize the country club, Hillview partner Pete Grimmer said.

“This is big news for our club and for Franklin,” Grimmer said in a news release. “We hope this also becomes a catalyst for economic development on the city’s east side.”

The new restaurant is part of a renovation project happening at the country club since a group of local businessmen purchased it in 2012.

Hillview has renovated its clubhouse, restaurant area, banquet facilities and swimming pool since being purchased by Grimmer, Jim Admire and Max Woodbury. The new Scotty’s will be the second dining option at the country club, joining Lou’s Den, a lunch pub.

The new restaurant won’t be located on a main road with high traffic, but Scotty’s president and chief executive officer Scott Wise said he was impressed with the amount and style of renovations occurring at the country club. Golf tournaments, weddings and events always will have people on site, the new subdivision next door will put more residents nearby and the city is working to boost development on the east side, which all made Franklin an interesting location for a new restaurant, Wise said.

Even though the restaurant will be off the exit and not directly on King Street, Wise expects the Scotty’s name is well-known enough to be a destination for people, even if it’s not right off the exit, he said.

“It’s a first time for us to go into a golf club, but I think it offers all kind of new, unique opportunities,” Wise said. “I feel like they could be pulling customers from Columbus and Greenwood and some of the surrounding areas. I think because of our name and we’ve built a brand where people recognize the name and will know what to expect coming in.”

The restaurant will feature some of the staples of other Scotty’s locations such as burgers, wings and pizza, but will also have other items tailored more toward the country club atmosphere such as steaks and seafood. Scotty’s Brew Club also will feature upscale wines and sell growlers where people can take home beers, including six brews from the company’s Thr3e Wise Men Brewery brand, Wise said. Members of Hillview Country Club also will get special perks at the restaurant.

Hillview was founded in 1926, but struggled in recent years like many golf courses did in the wake of the national recession.

The country club switched from a nonprofit organization to a for-profit business in 2009 and was owned by a group of about 20 members. It was leased to a private management firm in 2010 in an effort to revitalize the club and spur new members. The club had about 225 members at the time.

A new manager was brought in in 2011, and the owners sued a former management company for more than $300,000, before the club was sold in 2012. Hillview had about 300 members when the local owners took over three years ago.

The country club is one fixture in the city’s plans to spur new development around Franklin’s I-65 exit. Franklin has been trying to get key developments such as sit-down restaurants, a large hotel and a local grocery store on the east side.

The city has been working on a development plan for the I-65 corridor and should release a draft within the next month. Mayor Joe McGuinness also is pushing a plan to borrow up to $15 million this summer, which would be put into road and infrastructure improvements to help make the area more attractive to developers.