THE RUMORS ARE flying. Border Grill has been sold!
So…you gotta check with Dan Torres, the founder and owner of Border Grill to see if the rumors are true.
“No,” he said after pausing. “It has not happened. I can say it’s in the works. But the ink is not dry.” He seemed a little dismayed but not surprised when we called him with questions.
We learned of the likely sale first thing Monday morning. Torres asked us to hold off on writing anything until Tuesday so that he could tell his employees first. Absolutely fair.
The buyer? Chris Conklin , a longtime resident of Munising. Fifteen years in the hospitality business. He’s been part of a large group that’s opened, owned, and operated Jimmy John’s restaurants in Los Angeles, Arizona, Ohio, and Detroit, but not the U.P.
“But he’s a family guy,” Torres says, “and he wants to stay closer to home.”
The deal, if it goes through, should be finalized in the first quarter of this year.
Border Grill, which was almost sold a couple of years ago, makes a lot of sense for Conklin.
Border Grill has been a local institution for 22 years. Torres opened the first restaurant in 1997 on West Washington Street where the current NY Deli is now located.
The restaurants have moved around a bit over the years but now boasts three locations–on West Washington and Third Street in Marquette, and just off the highway in Negaunee.
From all indications, they’ve been very successful.
So why the sale? “As of last year, I’ve become a Medicare card-carrying Yooper,” Torres explains, “so I figured it was time to start winding down.”
Three points to be made:
- It’s not a done deal. Deals like this have crashed and burned before.
- Torres will stay on as a full-time consultant/employee for the next two years to provide for a smooth transition. Conklin insisted on it.
- There will be no changes in employees and benefits. Everybody keeps their jobs.
That’s the best part. No changes in personnel except at the very top.
The food will stay the same–Mexican. of course, with fresh ingredients cooked in an open kitchen. Burritos, tacos, quesadillas, etc, with vegan and gluten-free options.
It’s a formula that’s worked for Torres and his employees for a couple of decades. No reason to change now.
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