Ron Savell likely never thought that buying a hole in the wall restaurant and bar in Mississippi would lead him to Fultondale, Alabama, but this year, that’s exactly what’s happening.
Savell is the owner and founder of the Mugshots Grill and Bar chain which announced last week it will be opening its newest location in the old Wintzell’s Building on Lowery Parkway.
Savell said he grew up working in his parent’s restaurant and then continued that in college and just fell in love with the service aspect of the industry. When his mom told him he couldn’t bartend forever, he set out to prove her wrong, buying an old bar in his hometown named, you guessed it, “Mugshots.”
“We never thought we’d have another one so we just kept the name,” Savell said with a laugh.
The Fultondale location will be the chain’s 19th store and will, at least for the time, be a company owned store, not a franchise location, like those in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa.
In 2018, the company took control of the two Birmingham locations from a franchisee and those are now being operated by a different franchise owner, who had been with the company for years in the Tuscaloosa market. During that transition, Savell said he got a call from his brand manager located in Franklin, Tennessee, who had driven by the Fultondale shopping center on the way to Birmingham and thought the interstate frontage would be a perfect location for Mugshots. Conversations with the city coincided with the closing of Wintzell’s and the availability of a relatively new restaurant building. Savell signed the lease last week.
The restaurant is expected to hire 50-65 employees for the location and hopes to open in May. Renovations are already underway to transform the space into a family-friendly sports cafe location, including the installation of 40 or more big screen televisions.
Savell said his idea with all the Mugshots locations should be somewhere he can bring his kids, have great food and watch sports, but also drink a beer if he wants.