Originally created 10/30/04

Sporty restaurant set for kickoff

There will be 60 televisions, 20 beers on tap and sports team banners hanging from the ceiling.

But the new Indigo Joe's Sports Pub and Restaurant isn't a sports bar, or at least, that's what its owners say.

The restaurant, which will soon open in the former Landmark Buffet building on Wheeler Road, is being presented as a family place that just happens to have a sports theme.

"We're targeting families and females," said Nancy King, who with her husband, Kevin, is opening the franchise in Augusta. "(A place) where you are comfortable to go in with your children."

The California-based chain started 10 years ago when founders Troy Taylor and Chuck Darrow realized that women sometimes don't feel comfortable in the typical dark, smoky sports bar.

The result was Indigo Joe's, which boasts squeaky-clean bathrooms, an extensive menu, padded seats and a soundproof video arcade for children. Because the typical sports bar draws most of its business during football season, the goal is to keep customers coming year-round for the food, atmosphere and sports - if there's time.

"If mom can come in with the family, if single women can come in the bar at happy hour, we know who will follow," Mr. Taylor said.

Though sports will be featured on each television, patrons won't be berated with a cacophony of play-by-play announcements. Rather, the restaurant uses wireless speaker boxes at each table that allow diners to receive audio portions of any game on any television.

"It's exactly what I had in mind," said Mr. King, who spent several months reviewing sports-bar franchise plans before selecting Indigo Joe's. He worked for Bennett International Group Inc., a warehouse/distribution company, for six years before deciding to start his own business.

Though the restaurant isn't yet open, Mr. King already has plans to expand, opening four or five more restaurants across the Southeast.

Indigo Joe's recently sold its first franchise in Phoenix and has about a dozen restaurants in the works for this year in Colorado, Texas, Missouri and Nevada. An additional 12 to 15 restaurants are expected to open next year, Mr. Taylor said.

Indigo Joe's is the latest entrant into the quickly growing sports-themed bar and restaurant market in the area. Wild Wing Cafe, Somewhere In Augusta and Stool Pigeons all have opened in recent years, while Hooters added more televisions and beer specials to capture more of the football market.

Reach James Gallagher at (706) 823-3227 or james.gallagher@augustachronicle.com.


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