Restaurateur Pleases All Palates

The restaurant business can be a tough one indeed. With so many palates to please, how do you cultivate an atmosphere that comes out on top across all types of foodies? We spoke with Gwen Holtsclaw,  a partner of ScrubOaks; a contemporary restaurant with an upscale menu. This is what she had to say.

Why did you start your business?

ScrubOaks is my husband’s concept.  Tim worked in restaurants in college and always wanted to own one.  He knew he wanted an upscale casual restaurant in a neighborhood setting and when the perfect space came available in 2009, he moved quickly!

How did you come up with your business name?

Let me preface this by saying it is absolutely a true story … even though it sounds a little crazy.  I am a list maker by nature, so by the time Tim had signed the lease I had about 40 possible names on my list.  Tim hated at least 90% of them and couldn’t get excited about the remaining 10%.  This continued about a month, until one afternoon Tim called me from the golf course.  He had had a beer … or possibly five! … and said “I have the name of the restaurant.  It’s ScrubOaks.”  I didn’t say anything for a minute, and then I said “Like the tree?”  He said “Yep.  I am here getting ready to tee off on #18 and I look down the fairway to the left and there is a cool little scrub oak.  And it hit me … this little tree is cool and not trying to be a giant tree … just happy to be exactly what it is.  That’s exactly what I want our restaurant to be.”  And so … ScrubOaks is born!

How did you background help prepare you for your business?

Tim and I own several businesses, but the primary business is Cheer Ltd. Inc. which produces cheerleading events across the country.  We opened Cheer Ltd. over 25 years ago so we have done a ton of small events and huge events.  We create these events … we market these events … and we conduct these events.  That level of organization and creativity has transferred beautifully to the restaurant business which, after all, is just a different event every day!

How do you try and create an experience at your restaurant (with music, etc.)?

We have weekend feature dishes every weekend which we promote through our weekly eblast to over 1500 customers on our E-crowd. We have live music about every two weeks. We do big promotions of sporting events with eight big screens.  (We live in the heart of ACC country … we love our sports!) We do our own ScrubOaks Trivia every Monday night. We plan to do Music Bingo on Thursdays during the summer.

What is your signature dish?

Steaks really are our signature dish, followed closely by our Lobster Penne.

How does MustHaveMenus most benefit your business?

Without question, MustHaveMenus is second only to Facebook as the best tool in my marketing arsenal!  Visit our ScrubOaks Facebook page and look at the menus.  You’ll see I use nothing but MustHaveMenus for all of our special occasions!  The graphics are so professional and so cutting edge … and I have even learned how to change the color on the type!  (Little things excite me!)  The price is affordable and I honestly do not understand why every independent restaurant isn’t using MustHaveMenus.

For More information on ScrubOaks, visit their website at


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