A Washington state restaurant chain with nearly 20 Pacific Northwest locations spans Colorado Springs.
Seattle-based Hop Jacks takes over former Ruby Tuesday on Powers Boulevard and Stetson Hills. The channel is targeting an opening in mid-August, said Jaime Fox, director of training for Hop Jacks.
The Springs would be Hop Jacks’ first location in Colorado, but not the last. The chain is finalizing leases at Castle Rock and Parker, Fox said.
By turning to new markets, Hop Jacks empowers employees moving up the management ladder to choose candidates for expansion. A manager from the Seattle suburb who will run the Springs site suggested Colorado, Fox said; Hop Jacks researched the state and loved its growing population, booming economy, and quality of life.
“We think the demographics are perfect for us,” Fox said. “We’re beer people and we understand Colorado is too. And we see a lot of natural similarities between the people of Colorado and the Pacific Northwest. We thought our brand would do well in that area. “
Hop Jacks promotes itself as “a neighborhood gathering place”. As such, it focuses on suburban areas, not big cities, Fox said. The chain does not have restaurants in Seattle, Tacoma or Portland and is not looking to be in Denver, she said.
“It’s very important to us that there are a number of households.… It’s not just high traffic or high volume areas,” Fox said. “We want to be right next to where people live. We want it to be the place where you meet your kids’ soccer coach or you see your neighbor you haven’t seen for a few weeks. , sitting across the bar. This is really the market we’re looking for, more than, say, a Denver. “
The Hop Jacks menu includes over a dozen burgers, sandwiches, soups and salads, macaroni and cheese, fish tacos, appetizers, beer and liquor, between others.
The casual restaurant sees itself as a grown-up version of Red Robin, Fox said; the gourmet burger chain also offers a variety of burgers and sandwiches and serves beer and liquor. Hop Jacks founder and owner Mark Eggen, who launched his channel in 2009, previously worked at Red Robin, Fox said.
In keeping with the theme of her neighborhood, Hop Jacks offers breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays so that area residents have a place to go on weekends, she said. Hop Jacks also has a campaign against child hunger; it will partner with an educational organization that has not yet been chosen and will donate 50 cents to the group from the sale of every children’s meal to fight child hunger, Fox said.
Hop Jacks has 15 restaurants in Washington and two in Oregon, its website says. In Springs, the restaurant will employ approximately 70 full-time and part-time staff.
The nearly 5,400 square foot Ruby Tuesday building has been vacant since this restaurant chain closed its last Colorado Springs location in the fall of 2016. The building is part of the Ridgeview Marketplace, anchored in King Soopers, on the side northeast of Springs.
However, the name Hop Jacks is not only known in the Pacific Northwest. And that sparked controversy.
Florida-based Hopjacks Inc., a casual restaurant that says it was founded in 2007, filed a lawsuit in United States district court in December. The Florida-based company accuses the Seattle suburb of Hop Jacks of trademark infringement, among other complaints.
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