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Tilman Fertitta grows empire in New York

Landry's founder to acquire BR Guest Hospitality

Landry’s Inc. founder Tilman Fertitta is in the process of acquiring New York-based BR Guest Hospitality and its Bill’s Bar & Burger, Dos Caminos and Strip House restaurants, the Houston-based restaurateur said Tuesday.

Fertitta, who is also host of CNBC’s “Billion Dollar Buyer” reality show, said the deal with BR Guest owner Starwood Capital Group will close in early December. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“It’s 15 Manhattan restaurants that include the Dos Caminos, the Bill’s Burgers of Manhattan, the Atlantic Grills, Blue Water Grill and Isabella’s,” Fertitta said. “When you put those with our Chart House and Bubba Gump’s and Maestro’s and Morton’s, it will give us 21 restaurants in Manhattan, which will make us the largest independent operator in Manhattan.”

Fertitta said he has long had an affinity for New York City.

“I have a place in New York, and I like being there,” he said. “We’re excited. We like these brands. They’ve been around a long time, and they are successful.”

BR Guest’s holdings include restaurants and bars in New York, New Jersey and Nevada, including two Atlantic Grill locations, five Bill’s Bar & Burger units, Blue Fin, Blue Water Grill, six Dos Caminos restaurants, Isabella’s, Izi, Speakeasy, two Strip House units, and Troy Liquor Bar.

Fertitta serves as chairman and CEO of Landry’s Inc., which includes hospitality companies ranging from the Golden Nugget hotels and casinos to Claim Jumper, McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood & Steaks, Mitchell’s Fish Market and Saltgrass Steakhouse.

Fertitta is acquiring BR Guest Hospitality from the Greenwich, Conn.-based Starwood Capital private-equity firm. Starwood acquired 50 percent of BR Guest in 2007 from founder Stephen Hanson for a reported $150 million, and purchased the remainder of the company several years later.

Fertitta said he intends to keep BR Guest’s New York-based management. 

“We don’t expect to make any changes,” he said.

Over the past few years, BR Guest has closed several of its concepts, including Ruby Foo’s and Ocean Grill. James Gersten, a veteran of the New York restaurant industry, stepped down as CEO in September 2015, after two years in the role.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless 

TAGS: Operations
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