The year was 1975, George and Linda Keller had their hearts set on opening a restaurant of their own. They developed a range of flavors they fell in love with and over the next few weeks, they shared them with their friends and family who confirmed they had a winning recipe.

The Kellers found a small, 35-seat building near the local high school in New Albany, IN, and with less than $10,000 launched the first ever Tumbleweed. The name was “borrowed” from the Elton John hit album of that year, “Tumbleweed Connection.” George manned the kitchen and Linda waited tables. Though business was slow at first, it built steadily and in less than a year, customers were lining up on the sidewalks outside most every day, waiting for their taste of the Tex Mex favorites the Kellers made from scratch.

With demand growing, the Kellers rolled with the Tumbleweed concept into a 7,000 square foot facility across the river in Louisville, Kentucky. It was a success beyond anything the Kellers had imagined. Over the next few years, George and Linda would open three more Tumbleweed locations in Louisville, and franchise four more in Southern Indiana and across Kentucky.

After a trip to Dallas, Texas in 1984, the Kellers installed wood-burning Mesquite grills in each unit to cook steak, chicken and seafood over a real mesquite fire for that authentic Tex Mex flavor

After 20 years spent building Tumbleweed into a potential powerhouse, the Kellers decided in 1995 that it was time to make way for a new leadership regime. The Tumbleweed of today doesn’t remotely resemble that first tiny restaurant. Yet since its inception, innovation and evolution have remained the hallmarks of the Tumbleweed concept.

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