Draft House ownership

Mark Franklin, left, and his brother Mike sold the Draft House Jan. 1 to longtime employees Tonya Patten, right, and Chad Geissler.

Brothers Mike and Mark Franklin were not looking to sell the Draft House.

“We wouldn’t have put it on the open market,” Mark told the Press.

But when Tanya Patten and Chad Geissler expressed an interest in buying, they knew it was the right time.

“It was kind of a no-brainer who was going to take over,” Mark said.

Patten had worked at the restaurant since it opened in 2003, eventually being promoted to general manager, and Geissler joined in 2005. The two had previously worked together at Uno Pizzeria and Grill, as well, Patten said.

Since they’ve taken over, not much has changed, Patten added, as they both still do everything that needs to be done around the restaurant, cleaning bathrooms and serving behind the bar.

“A lot of people don’t know that we’re owners,” she said. “I might be waiting on you and I might be washing dishes.”

She’s enjoyed seeing customers continue to come to the restaurant over her 16 years there, watching some clientele go from late-night bar patrons to early dinner guests with the kids.

“We’re still trying to be the family-friendly restaurant,” Patten said. “We have college kids that came here as toddlers.”

While there haven’t been major changes since the place opened, Patten pointed out small additions to attract more customers over the years, such as creating a “fast menu” for high school students to grab lunch at a set price on school days.

Remaining in contact with the Franklins has made the transition smooth, Patten said, especially when she or Geissler need to be out of town for something. While Mark said “it’s hard to drive by” sometimes, he’s proud of how Patten and Geissler are doing this year.

“They’ve been doing a great job, and business is fantastic,” he said.