Max & Erma’s will close its restaurant at the front of Bridgewater Falls in Fairfield Twp., but will then convert the space to a different restaurant concept, MacKenzie River Pizza, Grill & Pub, later this year.
The restaurant, which opened in 2005, will shut its doors Feb. 28. The transition to the new eatery is expected to take place by early this summer, according to officials with Glacier Restaurant Group, which purchased the Max & Erma’s chain in January 2016.
In addition to Max & Erma’s, Glacier Restaurant Group also owns the MacKenzie River Concept, as well as Ciao Mambo, Craggy Range Bar & Grill and Latitude 48.
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MacKenzie River restaurants feature gourmet pizzas, burgers, fish tacos and other offerings made from scratch recipes.
Launched in 1993, MacKenzie River Pizza Grill & Pub “is all about fresh ingredients, scratch kitchens, creative cocktails, and a diverse beer section in our casual rustic Montana atmosphere that depicts the heart and soul of the Rocky Mountains,” restaurant officials told this news outlet.
That rustic atmosphere is achieved with refurbished wood and felled lumber furnishings, antique outdoor sportsman finishes and photographs that depict the heart and soul of the Rocky Mountains, according to the company.
There are 26 MacKenzie River locations nationwide, including in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.
The Fairfield Twp. location will be the first MacKenzie River location in the Butler County area. Other locations in the state include Beavercreek and Columbus.
Founded in Columbus in 1972, Max & Erma’s developed into one of the two pioneers of the casual dining segment along with TGI Friday’s. Over the years, chains such as O’Charley’s, Ruby Tuesday, Bennigan’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Applebee’s and Chili’s crowded into the casual dining pool, sparking intense competition.
Max & Erma’s 45 employees — management, cooks and servers — are eligible to reapply for positions at the new restaurant but would be considered new hires, officials said.
Approximately 90 people will be hired for MacKenzie River Pizza, Grill & Pub.
Staff Writer Mark Fisher contributed to this report.