An Indianapolis-based sports bar chain is considering a location in Elk Grove Village, and it's in large part because the owner/CEO -- a former Indianapolis Colts linebacker -- took note of the town's sponsorship of the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl.
Proprietors behind Stacked Pickle, which has nine locations in Indiana, say they are looking at potential sites in Elk Grove and the vicinity as they look to expand their reach beyond the Hoosier State.
If the sports bar eventually lands in Elk Grove, it would be the first tangible new business opening as a result of the municipality's unconventional sponsorship of the Dec. 21 college football game in Nassau, Bahamas.
Stacked Pickle's Gary Brackett, who got involved in the restaurant business after retiring from the NFL in 2011, said he learned of Elk Grove Village while watching the nationally televised game.
The village paid ESPN $300,000 to sponsor the game, during which it got to use the Makers Wanted marketing tagline to promote its sprawling industrial park.
"I was watching the game and saw the commentary about this town in Chicago," said Brackett, who was defensive captain on the Colts' 2007 Super Bowl team that beat the Bears. "At the same time for the last few months, we've been looking to expand our brand in the Chicago area.
"Doing our due diligence on Chicago as a market, I feel a town that would make that type of commitment to a bowl game and us being a sports bar, I think it'd be a great marriage," he said.
Brackett and his staff have talked to potential franchisees in the Chicago area with a goal of opening as many as three restaurants locally this year or next. But nothing's official as they continue to scout possible locations.
The former Colt hasn't yet spoken to officials in Elk Grove, but Mayor Craig Johnson said he'd welcome the conversation.
"This is exactly what we had envisioned in getting Elk Grove's name out there," Johnson said. "It's ironic it should be a former football player who saw us during the game. It could be a marriage made in heaven."
Officials will present marketing data and statistics about the bowl game sponsorship during a village board meeting next Tuesday, in advance of a Feb. 26 decision on whether to sponsor the game again this year. Officials have until March 1 to decide, per the agreement with ESPN.