Jeremy Fitzgerald and George Simon, with a little help from Ken Russ, who co-owns Legends Contractors, will be bringing the high-end burger joint to the former Bob Evans restaurant.
Fitzgerald will own Bar 145°, with Russ acting as the landlord and general contractor.
Fitzgerald came up with the idea for Bar 145° a few years ago and opened his first in Toledo.
Bar 145° is an upscale burger restaurant with the tagline “Burgers, Bands and Bourbon”
“You can get a real good meal, good drink and stay for the entertainment,” Fitzgerald said. “We target the young professional who is chefdriven and likes quality”
But there is an element of fun and trendy hipness: Staff wear red Chuck Taylor tennis shoes while serving food on white china, because, after all, they are serious about the food.
As for the name, 145 degrees is the perfect temperature to cook a piece of red meat medium rare.
Russ constructed the first Bar 145° in Toledo, coming up with the design for the look of the business as they went along. Russ has done work for the Fitzgerald family on the islands for several years now. So it was a natural choice for him to come up with a design and construct Bar 145°.
It proved successful, and Fitzgerald opened up other locations in Columbus and Kent.
The owners are expecting to hire 30 full-time staff and 20 part-time staff for the Norwalk location, Russ said.
It was Russ who brought Fitzgerald to Norwalk to show him the former Bob Evans building soon after he purchased it.
“I asked them to come down and take a look. We struck a deal on the spot,” Russ said.
The Norwalk location should be able to continue with the string of Bar 145° success.
“I like to go into areas where I feel there is a void. Here is a spot where there is nothing like us around. Norwalk needs something,” Fitzgerald said.
Bar 145° is like a Bar Louie but with even better food, a feel that is not in Norwalk or Sandusky, he said.
It is good news for Mayor Bob Duncan, who said the building has sat empty for five years. “We are always delighted to have a building go off the market” Duncan said.
Duncan anticipates it will do well.