The wind has been pulled out of the sails of local restaurant group SURG in the wake of Milwaukee Brewer Ryan Braun’s performance-enhancing drug scandal and his 65-game suspension from Major League Baseball. Yesterday, the group announced it has severed ties with the tainted star, who, through a licensing agreement, had lent his name to the SURG restaurant Ryan Braun’s Graffito. Now shortened to Graffito, the restaurant will close at the end of 2013, giving the company “time to place our employees,” says co-owner Omar Shaikh. The bigger problem is what Braun’s ouster will mean for SURG’s other sports-themed restaurant, 8-twelve MVP Bar & Grill – which has a location in Brookfield and one under development at Bayshore Town Center. Calling August “one of the tougher months I’ve had,” Shaikh wouldn’t comment when asked if the group would align with another athlete – a Milwaukee Buck, new UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis, perhaps? SURG says Green Bay Packer Aaron Rodgers (the “12” to Braun’s “8”) will “continue his relationship” with the restaurant group. After Braun’s suspension, Rodgers made a statement that “it doesn’t feel good to be lied to.” Regarding the deal with Bayshore – where the restaurant was originally projected to open this fall – Shaikh was also mum.
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