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Private-equity firm invests in Pacific Catch

The three-unit Pacific Catch restaurant chain in the San Francisco area has a new private-equity partner with sights set on growing the casual-dining seafood concept.

Pacific Community Ventures, or PCV, a San Francisco-based private-equity group focusing on small businesses that provide jobs in low- and middle-income communities, led the investment round of $4 million in Pacific Catch.

Yolanda Ruiz, vice president of PCV, said Pacific Catch’s management team will not change with the investment. She described PCV as having a significant stake in the restaurant chain, but would not specify whether it was a majority stake.

The group sees a huge opportunity in globally inspired seafood in a casual setting, Ruiz said.

“We feel it’s an underserved market, seafood. There’s a lot on the high end and some at the low end, but not very much in casual dining,” she said.

Pacific Catch was founded in 2004 by Keith Cox and Aaron Noveshen, both also founders of the World Wrapps chain that now operates primarily in the Pacific Northwest and Northern California. 

Noveshen, Pacific Catch’s president, also is a restaurant consultant and recently launched a food truck infrastructure company called Mobi Munch.

Cox, Pacific Catch’s chief executive, said: “We’re thrilled to have Pacific Community Ventures as a partner. We’re able to leverage PCV’s partners’ experience in our industry, having successfully built food-oriented businesses in the past. PCV’s double bottom-line approach to investment and social purpose aligns with our culture and vision.”

Known for its pan-Pacific-influenced menu, Pacific Catch has two locations in San Francisco, one in Corte Madera, Calif., and the fourth is scheduled to open in Campbell, Calif., in early 2011.

Pacific Catch is the first restaurant investment for PCV. However, the investment fund includes two restaurant industry veterans as principals. PCV managing partner Eduardo Rallo, with his wife, Sylvia Rallo, co-founded Resmex Group Inc., operator of five restaurants including Consuelo Mexican Bistro, El Jardin Tequila Bar, Thea Mediterranean and Roux Louisiana Kitchen, all in San Jose, Calif., and Colibri Mexican Bistro in San Francisco. Eduardo Rallo also was a co-founder of World Wrapps.

Also a PCV managing partner is Peter Mehrberg, who previously served in senior management at both the Catalina Restaurant Group, parent to the Coco’s and Carrows restaurant chains, and Peet’s Coffee & Tea.

PCV has other food-focused investments. Listed among its portfolio are the San Francisco-based beverage company Adina, Richmond, Calif.-based dessert maker Galaxy Desserts, as well as a Burbank, Calif.-home meal delivery company called Freshology. PCV is a previous investor in the Niman Ranch meat company based in Oakland, Calif.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected].

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