Burntwood Tavern firm to operate Aaron and Moses restaurant in Twinsburg

City approves multi-year lease for $6.1 million clubhouse

KEN LAHMERS
Correspondent
The city has signed an agreement with a new operator of the clubhouse's restaurant and banquet facilities.

TWINSBURG — The Gleneagles Golf Course clubhouse may reopen as soon as September, with its Aaron & Moses restaurant and banquet hall facilities under an operator familiar to many Northeast Ohio residents.

City Council on Tuesday approved a lease agreement with JJB Restaurant Enterprises LLC of Chagrin Falls to operate the restaurant, kitchen, bar, banquet hall, outdoor patio, related portions of the building and two beverage carts to serve golfers.

The new operator is part of the Chef Art Poor Restaurant Group, which operates a number of restaurants. Among them are M Italian in Chagrin Falls, Leo’s Italian Social in Cuyahoga Falls and 16 Burntwood Tavern locations (10 in Ohio and six in Florida).

The Burntwood Tavern locations in Ohio are in Chagrin Falls, Solon, North Olmsted, Rocky River, Brecksville, Cuyahoga Falls, Lyndhurst, Crocker Park, Fairlawn and Jackson Township (Stark County).

“We had several interested parties look at our clubhouse facilities,” said Mayor Ted Yates. “We’re excited about this potential partnership and opportunity, and I want to thank [Councilwoman] Jo-Ann McFearin, who first reached out to the group to see if they had any interest.

“I think this is a super opportunity for residents and the city to have an experienced and qualified group come in and operate the facilities,” he said.

Owner Bret Adams, who founded Chef Art Poor Restaurant Group in 2010, said he initially wasn’t interested in an expansion due to the poor economy when the city approached him “several weeks ago.”

Like other restaurants in the state, Aaron & Moses, along with the golf course, was forced to close in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the golf course has reopened, the restaurant remained closed and the city announced in May it was looking for a private firm to take over.

Adams said he was impressed after visiting the facility, which had a ribbon cutting in October 2018. The banquet center in the $6.1 million clubhouse can accommodate both small groups of around 20 people, to larger gatherings of up to 300 people.

"We thought we can take what was initiated and enhance it,” Adams told the Twinsburg Bulletin Friday. “After visiting and talking with Mayor Ted, it was hard not to get excited. I think we can take it from where they left off."

He called the area an “underserved market” that should be a good opportunity for the restaurant as well as events, weddings, golf outings, and catering.

“We think we can really offer a great product and a diverse service ... it’s a beautiful place that lends itself well to a multitude of opportunity."

A new menu will include some items from other properties.

"It will be a learning curve for us because it’s not a traditional second-generation restaurant,” he said. “We are really excited about the opportunity. We want to take the time and do it right."

"The city is fantastic to work with. They are very accommodating and very transparent on what their desires are,” he added.

The lease is effective for the rest of this year plus another five years — 65 months — starting Aug. 1 and ending Dec. 31, 2025, and the operator has the opportunity to extend it for two, five-year periods.

It also gives the operator the right to change the Aaron & Moses restaurant name, but Adams said plans are to keep the name out of respect for Twinsburg founders Aaron and Moses Wilcox.

The new tenant is not obligated to pay rent from Aug. 1 to Dec. 31, 2020, but then will pay $72,000 per year through Dec. 31, 2023. For the last two years of the contract, the tenant will pay the city according to a calculation: the greater of either the base rent or an amount equal to 6% of the third year’s annual gross sales.

Fixed rent for each of the 5-year extended terms would follow another calculation.

The tenant can terminate the lease if gross sales in the third year are less than $2 million.

According to city figures, total estimated restaurant revenue for 2020 had been projected at just under $1 million, based on 2019 revenue of around $950,000. Banquet rentals and related revenue was projected to be just over $200,000.

The city is responsible for maintaining common areas, paying real estate taxes and assessments, plowing snow on the sidewalks and parking lot, paying insurance premiums and supplying gas for the beverage carts. The tenant will pay for grease trap maintenance, utilities and general liability and liquor liability insurance.

The agreement gives the tenant an opportunity to close and remodel the facilities after Feb. 1, 2021 and/or sublease with written consent from the city.

The city will transfer its liquor license to the new operator. As of now, the city has 25 pending rental agreements for use of the facilities ($33,000 in deposits), and a portion of the deposits will be transferred to the tenant.

Reporter April Helms contributed to this story.

Contact the newspaper at 330-541-9433, or twinsburgbulletin@recordpub.com.