A popular Franklin Street pub might officially change hands later this month after being on the market for three months.
Andrew Dawson took over Thursday as managing partner of the Chapel Hill location of Kildare’s Irish Pub.
Kildare’s Director of Operations Dane Gray said the company has been looking for someone to buy the Chapel Hill franchise — which is one of seven — for a while.
Gray said ongoing construction from the nearby 140 West retail and housing development has prevented potential buyers from taking on the restaurant.
Construction for 140 West began in January 2011, and it is expected to wrap up in April.
“We have been looking for a new franchisee, but the new construction on Franklin Street has really been slowing it down,” Gray said.
He said potential buyers were worried the construction might deter customers from frequenting the pub.
But Gray said business at the restaurant hasn’t been hurt by the ongoing construction.
He said that while his company will entrust the franchise to Dawson, it will continue to be involved with the pub.
“We will be selling it to a franchisee, but we will continue to support it,” Gray said.
Dawson said he started working at the Kildare’s franchise last week.
He said he was eager to get started as a managing partner for the pub.
“I have a stake in this place now,” Dawson said.
He said he has opened similar establishments in the past, and when he was offered the Kildare’s position, he had to take it.
“I thought Kildare’s has a nice opportunity so I thought it was a no-brainer,” Dawson said.
Greg Spears, the realtor for the transaction, said the Franklin Street location was listed for $650,000.
“What you are buying is a 17-year lease, but they are selling equipment with it,” Spears said.
He said the transaction has not been finalized due to legal issues. When it is finalized, Dawson will be the new franchisee.
The change in ownership has caught some by surprise.
“I didn’t even know there was new management,” said UNC sophomore Bailey Barger, who recently started working at Kildare’s.
Dawson said he hopes to make minor changes to the pub after he takes a couple of months to settle in.
“I’ve been here five days, so I’m still trying to feel things out,” Dawson said.
“Once I get my roots settled in, people will be surprised at what they will find.”
He said he doesn’t plan on making any changes to the Kildare’s staff, but he wants to add more traditional food items and more drink options to the menu.
Dawson said he is focused on good customer service, and people should come out and give the restaurant a chance.
“I’m promoting a good establishment so people can have a good pint of beer, good cuisine and just have some fun,” Dawson said.
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