Roots Burger Bar: The Return of Scotty
Unfortunately, as of June 2023, Roots Burger Bar has permanently closed its 71st and Binford location. You can still find them in Carmel and Muncie.
Everyone loves a good resurrection story. The hero seemingly gets defeated, goes underground for a few years, and returns triumphantly and stronger than ever. Or maybe this is an origin story? A reflection on the hero’s roots and what made them who they are today.
This story might be a bit of both. While there is no real defeat here, the hero in this story did disappear from the public eye for a while, before returning with a new, back to his roots, venture.
What Happened to Scotty’s Brewhouse and Owner Scott Wise?
If you’re like me, you might have driven up 96th street in the last few years and thought, “ I wonder what happened to Scotty’s Brewhouse?”
In my mid-twenties, Scotty’s Brewhouse and its owner, Scott Wise, were legendary. Almost every conversation about where to go to dinner with friends from 2009-2015 for us probably included a mention of Scotty’s.
In the early wild west days of Twitter, you’d go to Scotty’s Brewhouse and tweet about it to see if the @brewhouse account, Scott Wise himself, would respond. Often, he did! Which made him a true man of the people and earned a lot of loyalty and respect in the community.
But, in 2016, Scott sold his string of successful restaurants. By 2018, the chain was gone, leaving a slew of us millennials wondering, “What happened to the restaurant and its namesake.”
Good news: He’s BACK! And he’s opening a new restaurant in our community.
In December, Roots Burger Bar will open its doors in what was most recently the Madera Tex Mex location at 71st and Binford (moment of silence for those amazing brisket tacos…).
Roots Burger Bar Muncie, Indiana location
Roots Burger Bar Takes Scotty Back to His Roots
Over the last few years, Scott Wise has had a successful career in real estate with the CBRE group, and he loves it. His real estate career has put him in charge of his own destiny in ways and allowed him to use his deep experience in the restaurant industry to guide others to success.
When he sold Scotty’s, while he loved what he built, he didn’t really love the day-to-day anymore. “It began to feel more like running an HR firm,” he told me.
Scotty’s had a couple thousand employees and many locations. A big undertaking for sure. It had crept away from the simple local restaurant and relationships that got him into this industry.
In 2019, when the original Scotty’s location in Muncie, Indiana was up for bankruptcy sale, Scott bought it. Not long after, he would open the first Roots Burger Bar location in the place where it all started.
Scott hadn’t intended to open another restaurant, and he definitely didn’t intend to open a new restaurant with multiple locations. Yet, after finding their new restaurant successful even through the throes of a global pandemic, Scott and his partner, GM Phil Wills, are opening two more locations.
At Roots, Phil will run the day-to-day operation of the restaurants. Scott will continue in the real estate career that he loves while also helping lead the Roots Burger Bar business.
Roots Burger Bar: Simple, Local, Family Focused
In a way, Roots Burger Bar is the original intent of Scotty’s Brewhouse. A relaxed place to grab a bite with friends and family. A simple menu (don’t expect the mammoth tome from the Scotty’s days), good food, good beers, and all at a reasonable price.
Scott said, “If you want to come in and grab a burger and a drink for under $8, you’ll be able to do that. If you want to stay a little longer, throw a couple extra patties on that burger and have a couple of drinks and watch a game, you can do that too!”
Roots Burger Bar will be down-to-earth and accessible for everyone. It’s important to them that it’s affordable, fun, and family-friendly.
You can expect kids-eat-free nights, game nights, and plenty of connections with local schools; public and private. The menu will feature scratch-made items like sauces and hand-made burger patties. They’re going for a true “mom and pop” vibe here.
I could see Roots turning into somewhat of a local hub. A great place to grab a bite with family and friends after a little league game, or on Sunday after church.
Why Our Community?
Scott Wise and his family have lived in this area for around 20 years. They live just a couple minutes up Allisonville from the new restaurant. His kids went to St. Luke Catholic school and his oldest is a freshman at Cathedral. The Wise’s network of friends spans both the local Catholic school circuit and beyond.
Not long ago, he was approached by the owners of the old Madera property to take a look and see if he’d be interested. As soon as Scott walked in the doors he was sold. The facility is in great shape and already fits the Roots Burger Bar vibe he’s looking for. There isn’t a lot of work to do here. Bonus: It’s right down the street from his home.
For Scott Wise, this is an opportunity to take what he loved about Scotty’s and return to what he loved about the restaurant industry in the first place — great food and building relationships. Right in his own backyard.
He couldn’t pass it up. We’re glad he didn’t!
Now Hiring. Opening SOON!
Roots Burger Bar is targeted to open in mid-December. You might even see them pop up on apps like GrubHub or DoorDash before then. They’re hoping to offer takeout options for a few weeks before officially opening the doors to dine-in.
If you’re interested in working at Roots, they are currently hiring for all positions. Click here to apply.
As soon as they announce an official date to dine in, we will be sure to get that information out. We can’t wait to see you all there soon!
(a third location will open at 126th and Gray in early 2022)
Roots Burger Bar
5711 E. 71st St.
Indianapolis, IN 46220