The process of getting the newly opened Cajun-style restaurant in the Village started early in the spring.
Yats, the Indianapolis-based Midwest restaurant chain, after months of having a sign outside its doors, opened Sept. 18.
Prior to coming to Muncie, Dan Tasson, general manager of the Village location, was managing a Yats at the Hamilton Town Center in Noblesville, Indiana, where he continues to work. He was also the manager of the Cincinnati location in 2014, which is currently closed.
When he heard that a Yats was coming to Muncie, Tasson said he was excited.
“I thought that this exact spot, for years, would be the perfect place for a Yats in this town,” he said. “When I found out that it was right here, I was ecstatic.”
Tasson said he was he was passionate about the food and the restaurant.
Yats’ dishes center around Cajun spices and different seafoods, such as Cajun crawfish and Jambalaya, he said. Some menu items, like the Jambalaya, are only available Thursday through Sunday due to their rotating menu system while others, such as their chili cheese, are available everyday.
A fan favorite at the restaurant is French bread covered in Cajun butter, Tasson said. Within the first three days of opening, Tasson made extra trips to the Hamilton Town Center location specifically for more baguettes.
Michael Hicks, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research, finds it important to recognize that the Village is not highly visited outside the university community.
“The problem with the village is that Muncie is a city in decline, so as the economy worsens, it has to rely more upon the patronage of students,” Hicks said in an email response. “So, unlike Bloomington, West Lafayette or Indianapolis, there is no vibrant underlying population from which a restaurant can draw customers.”
He said because small businesses and restaurants fail at a high rate, turnover in the Village isn’t necessarily well outside the norm.
Despite the concerns of opening up a chain restaurant in the Village, Tasson said this Yats location has had a fantastic turnout. The restaurant experienced record-breaking sales on opening night, with the largest opening a Yats has ever seen, he said.
“The volume has been, three, four times more than we expected,” he said. “Muncie has shown us such overwhelming support. I haven’t seen an opening like this in my career.”
With business booming, Tasson said, he is still looking to hire people to fill available positions. Applications can be found at the restaurant.