|Founded||1975 in New Albany, Indiana|
George R. Keller|
|Headquarters||Louisville, Kentucky, United States|
|Mathew Higgins President and CEO|
|Products||Steak, chicken, and seafood cooked in a Southwest Mesquite style|
|Revenue||$61 million (2006)|
|$60 million (2006)|
Tumbleweed Tex Mex Grill & Margarita Bar (formerly Tumbleweed Southwest Grill) is a chain restaurant based in Louisville, Kentucky. It serves an American-Mexican cuisine in a combination Tex-Mex and Southwest style. They specialize in a chili con queso. Tumbleweed's menu includes Continental food, encompassing such foods as chicken and steak. The other major style of cuisine is a Mexican-themed menu, including burritos, chimichangas, and house salads.
Tumbleweed Tex Mex Grill & Margarita Bar serves Southwest-style foods. George R. Keller and his wife Linda opened the original restaurant in 1975 in New Albany, Indiana (directly across the Ohio River from Louisville), across the road from New Albany High School. Then in 1978, Linda converted her parents' Hillside Manor restaurant and bar on Mellwood Avenue in Louisville into a Tumbleweed. This location became the flagship for what was to become a chain of restaurants.
Shortly after, the restaurant began expansion to become a regional chain. It now operates over 30 locations in Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio, including company-owned and franchise locations. Locations in Illinois and Wisconsin closed in 2008 after the local franchise owner filed for bankruptcy.
In 1995, the Kellers sold the business to sixty local area investors for US$9.8 million and an additional US$1 million in a clause not to compete against the company's new owners. The company then became a publicly traded company to help fuel its expansion in the Midwest and overseas markets. John Butorac, Jr., took over as president of the company, he was also the former vice president for Chi-Chi's.
In 2002, Terrance Smith, CEO of the establishment, was seeking ownership of the company with two other investors. However, on December 18, 2007, Terrance Smith resigned as President and CEO after seven years when the views of the company's board of directors began to diverge from his views. Matthew Higgins became the new President and CEO of the company, with his twin brother, Michael Higgins, as COO. Financially, the company that the Higgins from Smith was not doing very well so Tummbleweed was forced to file for bankruptcy in 2009. At the time of filing, the firm had 37 company-owned or franchised locations left in the states of Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky and had one licensed location each in Germany and Kuwait. The company was able to emerge from bankruptcy the following year. Still, the company was not performing as well as it would like was forced to close 8 out of 32 remaining locations in the tri-state area in 2014 after previously withdrawing from overseas operations.
In 2007, Tumbleweed Restaurants decided that it wanted to expand into the upscale restaurant field by opening a separate chain called Sedona Grill with the first location being opened in Lima, Ohio in early 2007. The original plan was to have five locations opened by the end year. Ultimately, only one other location was opened, also in Ohio, before the company finally closed the money losing operation at the beginning of 2008.