The restaurant empire also appears on the verge of adding The Palm steakhouse.
Landry’s Holdings, owned by Tilman Fertitta, agreed to spend $7.5 million during an auction to buy Cadillac Ranch, a concept formerly owned by Granite City Food and Brewery, according to court documents.
There were three separate sessions to bid on Cadillac Ranch, Granite City, and all assets combined. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December.
According to court documents, during the Cadillac Ranch session, Landry’s and The One Group (parent of STK Steakhouse and Kona Grill), bid back and forth for an hour before Landry’s submitted its high bid of $7.5 million. Cadillac, which serves steaks, burgers, and seafood, has units in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut.
BBQ Holdings, parent company of Famous Dave’s, purchased Granite City for $3.65 million, outbidding Landry’s by $50,000.
During the session to purchase both brands, BBQ Holdings and Landry’s went through nearly 60 rounds of bidding over one hour and 20 minutes, with the Famous Dave’s parent putting in a final all-asset bid of $11.05 million. However, the all-asset bid was designated as a back-up since Landry’s high bid for Cadillac Ranch assets and BBQ Holding’s high bid for Granite City assets totaled $11.15 million, and thus the separate bids were determined to be the best value. The company was given the opportunity to top $11.15 million, but declined to do so.
When Granite City filed for bankruptcy, Richard Lynch, chairman of the board and CEO, said in an affidavit at the time that competition in casual dining hurt operating performance and margins. Seven restaurants were closed prior to the filing. At the time of the bankruptcy, the beer chain employed more than 2,200 people across 15 states.
Landry’s purchase of Cadillac Ranch wasn’t Fertitta’s only move in February. Last week, the Houston Rockets owner bid $50 million for The Palm steakhouse in another bankruptcy deal. The chain was founded in the 1920s and has 24 units across the country. It's been mired in an ugly court battle for months. The Cadillac and The Palm, if approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida, would join a long list of acquisitions by the billionaire over the years including Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse and Del Frisco’s Grille, Joe’s Crab Shack, and more.
“The Palm is one of the storied restaurant brands in America, and we are excited for this opportunity. The Palm is a perfect complement to our portfolio of steakhouse concepts,” Fertitta said in a statement to The Houston Chronicle.
Landry’s owns and operates more than 600 locations and 60 brands. BBQ Holdings, formed in September, oversees Clark Crew BBQ, fast-casual prototype Real Famous BBQ, and 128 units of Famous Dave’s.
Acquiring chains out of bankruptcy is nothing new for Landry's, either.
The company won the bankruptcy court action in July 2017 to assume ownership of Joe’s Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern + Tap. According to bankruptcy filings, Fertitta’s company offered $57 million.
Fertitta picked up Morton’s Restaurants for about $116.6 million in 2011. The previous November, he agreed to acquire McCormick & Schmick’s in a $131.6 million deal. Landry’s bought California-based Claim Jumper out of bankruptcy with a $76.6 million bid in 2010 and then purchased Bubba Gump two weeks later in early November for an undisclosed amount.
That previous April, Landry’s bought the Oceanaire Seafood Room out of bankruptcy for $23.6 million. A month later, Fertitta acquired Landry’s outright in a deal valued at $1.4 billion, ending a nearly two-year-long bid for the restaurant company, which he already had a 55 percent stake in.
Fertitta’s Landcadia Holdings also picked up delivery service Waitr in 2018 for $308 million and won the right to acquire Restaurants Unlimited for $37 million out of bankruptcy.