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Hai Hospitality owns the Uchi, Uchiko and Loro Asian Smokehouse & Bar brands.

KSL Capital Partners invests in Uchi parent Hai Hospitality

Austin, Texas-based restaurant company foresees expansion with private-equity partnership

An affiliate of private-equity group KSL Capital Partners LLC has invested in Austin, Texas-based Hai Hospitality, parent to the Uchi and Loro restaurant brands, the companies announced Monday.

Hai Hospitality’s founding chef and partner, Tyson Cole, will continue to head the company, which has six Uchi locations. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We opened Uchi Austin in 2003 with a unique and modern approach to Japanese food,” Cole said in a statement. “I'm excited for KSL's investment and to continue bringing the magic of Hai’s concepts to new markets across the U.S.”

Since opening the first location in Austin, five additional Uchi-branded restaurants have opened: Uchiko Austin in 2010, Uchi Houston in 2012, Uchi Dallas in 2015, Uchiba Dallas in 2016 and Uchi Denver in 2018.

Uchi was named a Nation’s Restaurant News “Breakout Brand” in 2016.

Hai also launched Loro Asian Smokehouse & Bar in 2018, in partnership with Aaron Franklin, the founder of Franklin Barbecue in Austin.

The KSL investment will enable Hai Hospitality to accelerate growth and elevate the guest experience, the company said.

“Hai’s extreme attentiveness to the guest experience, exacting attention to culinary and design detail, as well as their focus on people, culture and community is unmatched in the industry,” said Chris Chang, principal at KSL Capital Partners.

Tony Montero, Hai’s CEO, said, “Hai’s mission to continue elevating the guest experience through innovative food, exceptional service and thoughtful design aligns perfectly with KSL's long history of building differentiated, experiential hospitality brands that are committed to people and community impact.”

“We feel privileged to partner with a team with such a strong operational foundation and look forward to helping grow Uchi and Loro in new and existing markets,” said John Ege, KSL partner.

KSL Capital Partners specializes in travel and leisure enterprises in five primary sectors: hospitality, recreation, clubs, real estate and travel services. KSL has offices in Denver, Colo., Stamford, Conn.; and London. Since 2005, KSL said it has raised about $13 billion in capital across both debt and equity funds.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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