Celtic-themed Palm Desert pub will get new owners

Break out your tartan plaids.

The Tilted Kilt, the Celtic-themed pub and sports bar, is reopening in Palm Desert, with new, Canadian owners who are now upgrading the building for a fall launch.

“We’re replacing the HVAC system so it’s comfortable year-round. We are redoing the entire kitchen and bringing in better and newer equipment so we can bring service times down,” said Russ Dalgetty, the leader of the investor group that bought the restaurant.

Dalgetty said he will be hiring for about 70 jobs at the reopened restaurant at 72-191 Highway 111. He expects to start taking applications some time in August.

Based in Tempe, Ariz., the Tilted Kilt is known for its indeterminate mix of English, Irish and Scottish ambiance and scantily clad “kilt girls.”

Started in Las Vegas in 2003, the chain now has restaurants across the country.

Dalgetty, who is a bank executive in Edmonton, was mum on the cost of the renovations and the price he and other investors paid for the restaurant, which has been closed for about a year and was in foreclosure.

But he’s been visiting the desert for 25 years, he said, and the shuttered restaurant looked like an opportunity to him.

Another factor in the sale — one of his business partners previously opened a successful Tilted Kilt in Edmonton and will soon be opening a second location in Calgary.

A string of restaurants have cycled through the Palm Desert location in recent years — The Jetty, South Beach Restaurant and Night Club and most recently the previous Tilted Kilt — but none have had staying power. All were owned by Brad Hughes.

Mike Stevens, senior vice president of operations for Tilted Kilt, confirmed the success of the Edmonton restaurant and said the Palm Desert location had done well before closing.

“Tilted Kilt believes in the location and is actively involved with relaunching the pub,” Stevens wrote in an email Friday.

The company will provide a new general manager, still to be named, Dalgetty said.

Ruth Ann Moore, economic development manager for Palm Desert, hopes the reopening of the restaurant will also bring new energy — and tenants — to the Los Sombras Shopping Center, already home to Olive Garden and the recently opened Red Lobster.

The strip mall has several empty storefronts, she said.

She sees the past problems the Tilted Kilt location has had coming from a combination of factors.

“Sometimes even if the location isn’t the best, if the operation is good it can be successful,” she said. “But if you’re lacking one or the other, it can be a challenge for a business.”

Dalgetty is confident he and his business partners can break the location’s run of bad luck.

“My 15 years of real estate investment and finance experience and my partner’s 12 years of pub and eatery experience will allow us to be successful,” he said. “Neither of us have ever failed.

“We’re going to be sure the quality of service is top-notch; the food is top-notch, and every one has a fun experience when they come into our restaurant.”

Source: K Kaufmann, mydesert.com

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