New Chili’s restaurant in former IHOP building to open later this year in Evansville – Oil City News

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A worker sweeps the roof of the former IHOP building in Evansville on Thursday morning. The location is undergoing a complete renovation into a new Chili’s Bar & Grill. It will be the third Chili’s in Wyoming. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)
CASPER, Wyo. — Pancakes and eggs have made way for burgers and fajitas as a new Chili’s Bar & Grill takes shape in the former IHOP location in Evansville.
The building at 510 E. Lathrop Road in Evansville is undergoing a complete gut refurbish in the process of becoming the third Chili’s franchise in Wyoming.
Big Horn Associates operates Chili’s in Laramie, Cheyenne, and Scottsbluff, Nebraska, and has been looking to enter the Casper market for at least several years, according to co-owner Bruce Shiveley.
“Chili’s is actively opening 27 restaurants a year right now, and they’ve been doing it for a few years,” said Shiveley. “They’re active.” There are more than 1,600 Chili’s restaurants in the U.S. and other countries and territories, according to their corporate website.
Chili’s is a casual dining chain that specializes in burgers, ribs and fajitas with a southwest flair, according to Shiveley. The menu is also diverse and large, he said, adding to the restaurant’s popularity. “Typically, Chili’s has great margaritas and great beer, but it’s a family atmosphere,” he said.
This is the first Chili’s that Shiveley and his business partner have opened in an existing building. Since all of the furnishings, equipment and layout has to be changed to match the chain’s prototype, there’s usually no real value in converting an existing space. However, the location and availability was hard for him to pass up.
“I’ve been looking in the market for years trying to find the ideal spot, and we think we have that,” he said. “We’re excited to be open.” The building is slightly larger than the Chili’s prototype, giving them a bit more space to work with, he said.
Past challenges have included a market downturn in Casper, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, which was particularly trying for the service industry. However, Shiveley says he’s optimistic about Casper’s economic future and the market’s current stability.
Shiveley says that with supply and labor challenges are still a factor, he’s reluctant to give an exact opening date. He’s aiming for late spring or early summer, but it could be further out depending on multiple variables.
However, a management staff has already been hired and is undergoing training, and he expects to start hiring more staff in the coming weeks.
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