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Ft. Wright: Izzy's Closing, Guthrie's Coming

An earlier version of this story misspelled the last name of the owner of Izzy's. It has been corrected.

The Izzy's location in Ft. Wright will close for good on Sunday.

President John Geisen informed staff of the decision to sell the property and building this week.

He was approached by Space Cowboys Restaurant Group, which operate's a Donato's pizza and Whit's Frozen Custard in Independence. 

In a statement, Geisen thanked Ft. Wright Izzy's customers for five and a half years of business, directing them to other locations in Florence, downtown Cincinnati, and other Ohio locations.

"We are beyond grateful to the residents of Fort Wright and the surrounding communities for their support and patronage over the course of the past five and a half years," Geisen said in a statement. "We have enjoyed serving you and hope you will continue to dine with us at our Mall Road location, or any of our seven other area locations."

Geisen was approached by Space Cowboys more than a year ago, and finally decided to negotiate a deal, said Bill Aseere, who co-founded the restaurant group with partner Michael Ash.

Aseere, who also serves on the Independence city council and who, like Ash, is a graduate of Covington Catholic High School, and grew up in Covington, said that the Highland Pike location in Ft. Wright is attractive for Guthrie's, one of the original entrants in the fast-growing chicken finger business.

"We felt like it was a great spot for lunch and dinner, and Guthrie's, we felt, was perfect for that," Aseere said. "We feel we can expand Guthrie's relatively quickly with a couple other locations."

Aseere has growth on the mind, and already has the rights to add Donato's and Whit's locations in Kenton and Campbell counties.

"The chicken finger concept is hot. It's one of the fastest growing concepts right now," he said.

Guthrie's was founded in 1965 and is known for its fast service of chicken fingers in boxes, on sandwiches, or in buckets. There are already two locations in Boone County unaffiliated with Space Cowboys.

"Our biggest appeal is, we feed people quickly and we make every item to order within five minutes," Aseere said. "It's a very simple concept, but it's a great concept. Instead of an expansive menu that takes a long time, we have a limited menu that can feed people quickly."

That's good news from a business standpoint, he said, because nearby workers at Sanitation District 1 or Fidelity, who may have short lunch breaks, can get in and out quickly.

"We think we can win, especially during lunchtime," Aseere said. 

Work on transforming the property from Izzy's, a Cincinnati favorite celebrated for its Reubens, into a Guthrie's will begin right away. Aseere said that the location should be operational by March. It will have a drive-thru and space inside to seat 60 people.

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher