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Firebirds Wood Fired Grill purchased

Angelo, Gordon & Co., a New York-based money management firm, has acquired the 18-unit Charlotte, N.C.-based Firebirds Wood Fired Grill casual-dining chain. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Firebirds is known for bringing its Colorado-theme ambiance, upscale-casual concept and open-flame grilling to eight states from North Carolina to Arizona.

The private equity division of Angelo Gordon is partnering with the founders of Firebirds International LLC to acquire the company, according to a statement released Monday. Angelo Gordon’s private equity group typically looks at deals ranging from $50 million to $500 million.

Firebirds’ founders, Dennis Thompson and Doug Glendenning, will continue to serve as shareholders of the company, the statement said. The duo founded the chain in Dec. 2000 in Charlotte. Mark Eason, a restaurant veteran with nearly three decades in the industry, will also continue to serve as Firebirds chief executive.

“Firebirds has all the hallmarks of a great restaurant company and is comparable to the best I’ve worked with over the past 15 years as a restaurant investor,” Richard Leonard, a managing director at Angelo Gordon said in a statement. “We are very excited to be working with Doug, Dennis, Mark and the entire Firebirds team. They’ve built a great company and we think Firebirds will be successful across a wide range of geographies and markets. Our plan is to help the company grow significantly by adding locations over the next several years.”

Firebirds has restaurants in Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Nebraska, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia. The units are typically built in strip shopping centers or lifestyle centers and range in square feet from 6,000 to 7,500. The restaurants are known for their exposed wood and stone décor, an indoor fireplace and an exposed kitchen with a wood-burning grill.

Angelo Gordon focuses on several sectors, including financial services, health care and consumer/retail.

Contact Alan Snel at [email protected].

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