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Thursday, January 30, 2020

Three NKU Grads Open New Restaurant in Former 'Toppers' Space

Bill Aseere, Michael Ash and Mark Halpin of Space Cowboys Restaurant Group to open new location in Highland Heights. (Photo: SCRG, LLC.)
By Jessie Eden

Three NKU grads are kicking off a new restaurant concept in Highland Heights this Spring and it combines two of the most important things when it comes to food -- sweet and savory -- to create one delicious idea.

Space Cowboys Restaurant Group, LLC., is currently working on opening a new restaurant in the former Topper's location in Highland Heights on Wilson Road. The space is located between Chipotle and Smashburger, right in front of NKU.

RELATED: Toppers Highlands Heights location has closed

The restaurant, "Donatos Pizza & Whit's Frozen Custard", combines pizza and custard. It will focus mainly on pick up and delivery for the pizza side but there will also be dine in options with interior and exterior seating for custard guests.

The group currently owns a Donatos Pizza & Whit's Frozen Custard location in Independence. The company also owns two Guthrie's locations -- one in Fort Wright and one in Erlanger. The location  on Mineola was acquired in 2019.

Space Cowboys Restaurant Group consists of three NKU grads; Bill Aseere, Michael Ash and Mark Halpin. Aseere has worked in the restaurant business for 22 years and is a city council member in Independence. Ash is the president of TLA Ashford and Halpin is a Senior Analyst for the IRS.

"We can't wait to expand our Restaurant Group to the area and feel that the market is really under served for quality product when it comes to pizza and ice cream (frozen custard)," said Aseere. "Our ownership group and store managers, are all Northern Kentucky University alumni. It is going to be rewarding to work with the University that helped so many of us get to where we are now!" 

The trio has been friends for many years. Aseere and Ash have been friends since kindergarten and became friends with Halpin in high school. Even the name "Space Cowboys Restaurant Group" is a nod to their friendship and participation on their high school and college sports intramural team.

As a way to support their NKU community, Aseere, Ash and Halpin hope to partner with the university to create special prices for NKU students, faculty and alumni.

"Donatos Pizza & Whit's Frozen Custard" is expected to open in April.

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