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Regional Hopdoddy to acquire Grub Burger Bar

HiBar Hospitality Group, with a combined 51 better-burger restaurants, is backed by private equity firm L Catterton


Hopdoddy Burger Bar has agreed to acquire the Texas-based Grub Burger Bar to create a combined HiBar Hospitality Group, the companies announced Thursday.

Austin, Texas-based Hopdoddy, with 32 restaurants in five states, and Bryan, Texas-based Grub Burger Bar, with 19 restaurants in five states, will broaden the footprint of both better-burger concepts under the new HiBar banner.

Terms of the deal, which was backed by Hopdoddy private-equity investor L Catterton, were not disclosed.

Hopdoddy CEO Jeff Chandler will lead HiBar Hospitality Group, and Grub Burger Bar founder and CEO Jimmy Loup will retain a stake in the combined business and serve on the new board, the companies said.

“We had been running a kind of a national search for the right brand and company to partner with as we look to accelerate our growth coming out of COVID,” said Chandler in an interview Wednesday. “Right in our own backyard, we found Grub Burger.”

Chandler said the two brands competed in a similar elevated-burger space. “We didn't necessarily compete head-to-head in a lot of sites,” he said, “so it seemed like a very good fit from the outside. And then once we got in the inside and we met Jimmy and we met the people in the culture, it really became an attractive, compelling opportunity for us.”

Loup said the deal is a one-plus-one-equals-three deal, especially in the third year of the pandemic.

“It's been an interesting 24 months,” Loup said, “so to join forces is really appealing for our people, for our brand. … Their values are the same; our people operate similarly. So a lot of the hurdles that a merger would typically bring forth, they're just not there. We really do feel like a glove.”

Both brands feature signature burgers, shakes, scratch kitchens and craft cocktails.

L Catteron invested in Hopdoddy in 2014 and helped fund the brand’s expansion.

Hopdoddy, which was founded in 2010, owns and operates 32 restaurants, with the majority in Texas and four other states to the west, including California and Colorado. Grub Burger Bar, founded in 2012, is also in five states, with most in Texas and states to the east as far as Florida and Georgia.

The two executives said that coast-to-coast footprint was attractive in the acquisition.

Hopdoddy’s four founders include Guy Villavaso and Larry Foles, who created Z Tejas and Eddie V’s, the latter of which they sold to Darden Restaurants Inc. in 2011. They teamed with Larry Perdido and Chuck Smith, who had worked with Villavaso and Foles.

L Catterton’s investments span a wide variety of consumer-facing companies, but stakes in restaurant brands currently include Barcelona, Bartaco, Uncle Julio’s and Velvet Taco.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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