Owners bring Saints Pub + Patio home

by Danielle LunsfordOTTUMWA — A pair of lifelong friends and entrepreneurs walked through the former northside Pizza Hut building Tuesday afternoon reminiscing about the past and looking forward to a profitable future.Scott Anderson and Marc Mundt grew up next door to each other right outside of Ottumwa on Riley Drive. Today, not even a GPS will lead you to the rural road as the name was later changed to 118th Street. Although those street signs are long gone, the name has stuck with the duo who named their bar-and-grill ownership and management company Riley Drive Entertainment Inc.

“It’s funny we used to come here as kids after football games when it was Pizza Hut. I remember sitting right there at a table with my family when I was probably in the third grade spilling a pitcher of Pepsi all over the table,” said Anderson as he walked through the beautifully upgraded building, which will be the newest Saints Pub + Patio location.

After graduating from Ottumwa High School in 1990, the friends split ways, with Anderson completed his undergrad at the University of Iowa while Mundt became an entrepreneur in the bar business.

Even with hundreds of miles separating the two, Anderson said the friends still talked daily and even began investing in a number of businesses together.

“We opened our first bar in 2005, called Tonic Bar in West Des Moines,” said Anderson. “We had a lot of luck with it and decided to do another bar by where I live in Kansas City in 2008. We opened it up, called it Saints Pub + Patio and just kept it going.”

Anderson said it was clear the Saints concept was an immediate success, which is evident as he and Mundt prepare to open the 11th location in Ottumwa.

“I’m from here and I always told myself that if we found the right location here that this is what we would do,” explained Mundt, who drove down from his home in West Des Moines to watch contractors put finishing touches on the dining area.

On Dec. 7, the stars aligned making it possible for Saints to come to the owners’ hometown.

“I was taking my daughter to volleyball and we stopped to get gas. I was bored so I pulled up Facebook and saw that the northside Pizza Hut had closed and I made my first call the next day to the guys who owned Pizza Hut. They told me they didn’t own the building; a guy in Des Moines did so I called him that same day,” said Mundt as he displayed the screenshot he took of the comment that started it all.

The restaurateurs keep costs down through a unique business model, which requires them to move into second-generation bar-and-grill spaces.

“Of the 14 bars we own, 11 of them are second-generation which leads to improvements in the communities we are in,” said Anderson. “We take these spaces that have closed, you could call them dead areas, and we bring life back to them.”

The pair are able pump profits out of spaces others have failed in with simple business philosophy that includes a made from scratch take on bar food, good service and an aesthetically pleasing space for patrons to relax with friends.

A new addition complete with garage doors opening to the outdoor patio has nearly doubled the size of the building. The sleek 3D high resolution epoxy flooring pairs with the millennium bar top and breathtaking woodwork to create a clean and comfortable dining experience.

Each Saints location is designed to appeal to both men and women. Even with the building still under construction, it’s clear the owner’s have made updates that women are sure to appreciate. The building is now equipped with large bathrooms and the bar top is lined with a handful of outlets, complete with USB ports, to ensure phones keep a charge through the night.

“What sets us apart is a combination of a fantastic look and good food. I think that with that we are pretty good at taking these spaces and converting them into lively areas for people to enjoy because what’s good for the community is good for us,” said Anderson.

The Ottumwa Saints Put + Patio will open its large garage doors and fire up the grill sometime in the beginning of July. Mundt says the bar-and-grill will celebrate with a soft opening to avoid overcrowding in the beginning stages of business.

“I’ll announce it on our Facebook page and then we will just turn the lights on, open up the doors one day and we’ll just be open,” said Mundt while admiring the interior transformation.

— Danielle Lunsford can be reached at dlunsford@ottumwacourier.com and followed @CourierDanielle.

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