UPDATED — The saloons and brothels of 1800s Delano gave the area a certain reputation, and some people are worried it’s going to get it again if the new Tight Ends sports bar is allowed to proceed in a new development at Kellogg and Seneca.
“We’re not really excited about that at all,” says Cathy Holley, pastor at Delano’s New Covenant United Methodist Church.
“We don’t feel it is a family-friendly establishment — the type of establishment that we would like to see in Delano.”
Christopher Parisho, a Delano photographer and resident, has started a petition against the business.
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Delano representatives met with some of the people involved in the business, including Abdul Arif, who is doing a new development on 1.6 acres at the northeast corner of Kellogg and Seneca that will include Tight Ends and a Huddle House along with 38 apartments.
Arif won’t comment on Tight Ends except to say he’s not currently a member of the Gates of Delano LLC that’s starting the bar.
However, he is who conceived the Shocker Knockers business that he’d originally planned for NewMarket Square. It morphed into Tight Ends, which is a licensed business based on two in Texas.
Parisho says the meeting was contentious.
“They’re pretty much set in doing what they want.”
He says his issue is with the attire, including a lingerie night, and not with a sports bar.
“Instead of doing the nearly naked servers, why don’t you put them in referee uniforms or umpire uniforms?” he says he asked. “But they don’t seem to be interested in that.”
Holley says her takeaway from the meeting is that the Tight Ends representatives aren’t interested in Delano but in potential business from Kellogg.
“They chose that location so that it could be seen from Kellogg,” she says. “This was pretty much what was driving their agenda as far as we could tell.”
Arif referred questions to Tight Ends general manager Elysia Rizo. She did not return a call for comment.
City Council member Jeff Blubaugh, whose district includes Delano, says he “didn’t know anybody is against” Tight Ends.
“I think some people thought maybe the name wasn’t in great taste.”
Blubaugh says he supports Arif’s development.
“I’m excited to see somebody clean up the corner,” he says. “I want to see that area developed. . . . It’s just going to be the gateway from the west side.”
Holley says she’s concerned that the area is the gateway into Delano and that Tight Ends won’t send the right message.
“The people of Delano have been working hard to ... build this area back up,” she says.
“I would love to see new development in Delano. I would love to support new development in Delano.”
In the petition, Parisho says that there are three schools, a faith-based assisted-living center, six worship centers, a park and hundreds of homes within 2,000 feet of where Tight Ends is planned.
He says the business would be a step back for the area.
“Do we really want the neighborhood to start getting that reputation?”