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Two CRO owners sell majority of their stake in the company

DALLAS Two major owners in Consolidated Restaurant Operations Inc., the 135-unit operator here, have sold back portions of their stock, leaving chief executive John D. Harkey Jr. with more than 80 percent of the private company’s shares.

Gene Street, who co-founded the Black-Eyed Pea Chain and sold his Good Eats restaurants to CRO, and investor John Cracken have sold most of their stake in the company. CRO also operates the El Chico and Spaghetti Warehouse chains as well as the III Forks and Cool River steakhouses.

Highland Capital of Dallas provided some funding and now holds a minority interest in CRO.

Harkey and Cracken founded Cracken, Harkey & Co. LLC, a private-equity firm in Dallas that bought the first restaurants for CRO in 1998. CRO also operates the Cantina Laredo, Lucky’s Café and Silver Fox Steakhouse concepts.

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