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Sun Capital buys Bar Louie

With merger-and-acquisition activity continuing to boil, private-equity firm Sun Capital Partners Inc. said Wednesday it has acquired Bar Louie Restaurants, owner of the 44-unit namesake casual-dining chain.

Based in Glenview, Ill., Bar Louie debuted in Chicago in 1991, and is known as a “progressively hip neighborhood restaurant and bar” with an American comfort food menu.

The chain was sold by Restaurants-America, the multi-concept operator of such brands as Red Star Tavern, The Grillroom, Bluepoint and Primebar, each of which have locations based primarily in the Midwest. Bar Louie Development Inc., the franchising arm of the chain, was launched in 2005. Restaurants outside of Bar Louie’s Chicago-area roots are located in Pittsburgh; Columbus, Ohio; Washington, D.C.; Tampa, Fla.; and Foxborough, Mass.

Terms of the deal between Sun Capital and Restaurants-America were not disclosed.

Anthony Polazzi, principal at Sun Capital Partners, said, “Bar Louie is a wonderful restaurant and bar concept. We look forward to working with management on strengthening its current market position and further differentiate the chain in the casual to upscale market segment, while staying true to the brand.

“Given the current market environment,” Polazzi added, “this is also an opportune time to seek out opportunities to grow the chain and take the concept to new locations.”

Sun acquired 36 Bar Louie corporate locations. The chain also has eight franchised units. A year ago, the chain totaled 52 corporate and franchised units, and it was not clear at press time whether some units had been closed or sold in separate deals.

Sun Capital owns a number of restaurant companies, including Captain D’s Seafood Kitchen, which is acquired just last month, as well as Boston Market, Bruegger’s Enterprises, Fazoli’s Restaurants, Friendly Ice Cream Corp., Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp., Smokey Bones Barbeque and Grill, Souper Salad, Real Mex and Restaurants Unlimited.

This latest transaction was one of a growing number of restaurant deals in recent months, including the sale of Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill to private-equity firm Mill Road Capital LP. CKE Restaurants Inc., parent to the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s brands, has agreed to a buyout by Apollo Global Management. The Tavistock Group is in the process of acquiring Magic Brands LLC, parent of the Fuddruckers and Koo Koo Roo brands, and Wingstop has been bought by Roark Capital Group.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected].

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