A Hoosier family-owned restaurant chain, Wolfies Northern Woods Grill, will open soon in Wabash Landing, taking over the building that previously belonged to Scotty’s.
Its five previous locations have always been in the Hamilton County area. But this time, they decided to step out of their comfort zone and move away from the Indianapolis region, said Alec Wolf, director of operations for Wolfies Grill Inc. and son of the co-owners.
Wolf said that although none of the Wolf family attended Purdue, they felt a connection with the area.
“We had some offers on the table, we were looking at that location specifically. And then, obviously, the COVID national pandemic happened,” Wolf said.
The family had been looking to expand to this area when they entered quarantine. They decided not to let that stop them from this next business venture.
“We still hadn't signed the agreement, but we felt in our nature, who we are as business owners, we knew that we would kind of be able to ride this out, and this actually gave us an opportunity,” Wolf said, referring to how they could use this extra time to renovate the old Scotty’s and make it their own.
He said the family is not worried about opening a restaurant during a economically unstable time. In fact, they’ve done that before.
“We opened another location in 2008 when the economy crisis kind of hit a little bit there, we opened a restaurant right in the midst of that, too,” Wolf said. They’ve been making comparable sales at other locations from carryout alone, and now the other locations are open at 50 percent capacity.
He said they’re taking precautions to have a safe opening once the restaurant is ready.
The family relies on word of mouth and the food to be enough to bring people in. The menu, which features a sports theme and a northern woods feel, includes a range of appetizers, salads, main dishes, desserts and a bar.
Along with operating a restaurant, Wolfies has done a lot of outreach in their other locations and hopes to bring that to a college campus area.
Their goals include not only giving college students jobs but also showing their employees and guests that they are a company that cares about people and wants to be involved in the community.
“We come from a Christian background and we do a lot internally within our restaurants to just reach out to communities, offer up a unique perspective on what it is for us to have our morals and our values to really stand true,” Wolf said.
The general manager of the new Wolfies location is Nick Rossio, 40, the former GM of Scotty’s Brewhouse for the past three years.
“We should be looking at a possible third week of July opening,” Rossio said, saying renovations are ahead of schedule. “We’ll have online applications and in person once we get a little more construction done.”
“It’s gonna look like a brand-new restaurant,” Rossio said.
Renovations include replacing all the flooring, repainting everything, a new kitchen, new TVs and a bigger bar.
“It's a big building, seats over 200 people, an outside patio, and we’re building a small Purdue-themed room, so it'll be like a private dining area for about 30 or so,” Rossio said.
“When it was Scotty’s we used to get the basketball teams in here, both men and women, especially the night before a game," Rossio said. "We hope to get that business back, and it’ll be nice because they'll be in their own private area."