By Jim Hagerty
The nationally-known Celtic sports pub and eatery Tilted Kilt is now open inside the Clock Tower Resort. The establishment served its first official guest Friday, Dec. 18. Thursday, Dec. 17, a packed VIP party helped the fresh Tilted Kilt staff get acclimated with a live operation and introduce Rockford to the establishment.
The restaurant features Irish, Scottish and English dishes, which makes it unique, and, according to General Manager Erin Colombi, “tilted.”
The menu includes an extensive selection of appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, wraps, and pizzas, averaging from $6 to $10, plus specialty entrees. It is also the first Tilted Kilt in the country to offer a kids’ menu. The staff from this paper will vouch for the desserts, especially the New York Style Cheesecake and the Chocolate Cake.
“My favorite dish is the ‘Kilt-Burner Chicken Wings,’” said Kitchen Manager Mike McKillip. “Our Flannery’s TK Steak and Fat Bastard’s Meatloaf Sandwich are also very popular.”
Thirty-two different beers, a full line of liquor and an array of Celtic cocktails make up the beverage selection. A sign above the bar reads, “Just one more, I swear.” Limericks and classic pub art adorn the wall and make for a warm atmosphere.
With seating for 150 people, the room still caters to smaller groups, with a common bar, “The Captain’s Table,” where singles can sit and mingle in the middle of the room.
Servers, mostly female, are dressed scantily in kilts, which inches at least one natural comparison to the fore. While Tilted Kilt has been referred to as Hooters with a Scottish theme, the difference is significant. Despite the provocative look of the wait staff, the operation is more about a true pub experience, marked by a variety of perks for each guest.
“Great food and cold beer,” Colombi said of what makes a Tilted Kilt experience worth returning for. “The girls are just an added bonus.”
Tilted Kilt servers endure more than just an interview process. Each goes through a rigorous training program.
When recruiting its first team, management searched for more than good looks and the ability to fill out a uniform. The result, Colombi said, is a staff thoroughly familiar with the menus—food and beverage, and able to help make each guest feel welcome and have a good time.
“It’s about more than just being good-looking,” Colombi explained. “We aim to make a connection with every guest that comes in, and we have a great team.”
Aside from 32 beers on tap and a strong staff, Tilted Kilt boasts 32 plasma televisions, plus a 110-inch projection television and aims to be a premier sports venue in the Rockford area.
“That’s one of our real claims to fame. You can see at least six TVs from each seat,” Colombi said. “All sports, all the time.” She also said the pub will offer the Pay-Per-View UFC Fight Nights.
A game room offers games of pool, darts and the online golf game, Golden Key.
The pub also features a small stage where acoustic acts and small bands will perform. Columbi said she’s a big fan of Dueling Pianos and bagpipers, and she intends to book them soon. Live music also will be featured on Tilted Kilt’s 84-seat patio, which will open next spring
Tilted Kilt is open Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Providing 100 new jobs for the area, although Tilted Kilt and Clock Tower have mutual ownership, the franchise is owned independently from the resort.
The Clock Tower Resort and Tilted Kilt are at 7801 E. State St. More information about Tilted Kilt can be found online at www.tiltedkilt.com or by calling (815) 229-4139. The restaurant is in The Clock Tower, online at www.clocktowerresort.com.
From the Dec. 23-29, 2009 issue