The eatertainment chain hopes to eventually hit 100 locations.
Eatertainment chain Pinstripes, a 10-unit concept based out of Chicago, has struck a deal with Simon Property Group, the company announced October 14. This is the second strategic partnership Pinstripes completed in the last six months, and includes new leases for three future locations within Simon complexes, in addition to its existing Clearfork development in Fort Worth, Texas.
The shopping center operator took a minority stake in the brand with the deal, although terms were not disclosed. It said it’s identified several potential Pinstripes locations at “various Simon assets throughout the United States,” to be announced later.
In April, Pinstripes closed a similar multi-lease/minority equity investment transaction with Brookfield Properties. Combined, the partnerships represent six future restaurants and $15 million in minority equity.
"We're excited to work with the Simon team to deliver our sophisticated spin on dining and entertainment to three of the most dynamic retail/mixed-use centers in the U.S.," Dale Schwartz, founder and CEO of Pinstripes, said in a statement. "Our unique Italian-American scratch kitchen, curated wine and craft cocktail offering and the fun of bowling and bocce, all in a beautifully designed rustic-modern setting, will blend perfectly with Simon's upscale environment and merchandising at these three centers. This partnership will also further enable Pinstripes to accelerate its expansion plans and goals of opening more than 100 locations throughout the country over the next several years."
Pinstripes has targeted openings in Houston; San Mateo, California; and Norwalk, Connecticut, on deck for 2019.
"We're extremely pleased to join forces with Pinstripes, the market leader in entertainment dining, to bring leading-edge venues to our iconic properties around the country. Not only do our shoppers love these types of innovative activations, we believe Pinstripes will also attract new customers and drive additional traffic to our centers," added Mark Silvestri, Simon's executive vice president and chief operating officer for development. "Simon's unique combination of shopping, dining and entertainment makes us the ideal location for these new and exciting community spaces, complementing our other dynamic offerings."
The first Pinstripes opened in Northbrook, Illinois, in 2007. Schwartz, who grew up in Cleveland, wanted to open a bowling alley and has even owned the Pinstripes name since 1988. With little restaurant knowledge early on, though, he set about assembling an all-star team.
“One of our early board members was the founder of Maggiano’s,” Schwartz told FSR’s sister publication, Sapore. “Another board member was the former chairman and CEO of McDonald’s [Jack Greenberg].” Schwartz interviewed 38 people for the general manager position, eventually hiring Chris Soukup, who is now Pinstripes’ chief operations officer. “Chris has been with us since day one,” Schwartz says. “And Lida Ahn, who we hired three weeks after Chris, is now our chief training officer.”
Pinstripes added bocce, known as lawn bowling, to differentiate from other concepts and to bring in an Italian element. The concept is known for its high-end offerings, with menu items ranging from filet mignon to maple-glazed salmon; ricotta cheese gnocchi with tuna; flatbreads; wood-fired pizzas; salads and pastas.
Schwartz said Pinstripes hosts more than 1,500 events per location annually. As he noted, the concept has designs to open 100 units nationwide in addition to global growth. The goal is to debut five to six stores per year beginning in 2021. International sites on the radar include London, Germany, Prague, Mexico City, and Canada.
When Pinstripes agreed to its April deal with Brookfield Properties, it had one location at the Oakbrook Center outside of Chicago. New locations were slated for the Streets of Southpoint in Durham, North Carolina; Halley Rise in Reston, Virginia; and an addition to the anticipated SoNo Collection in Norwalk, Connecticut.
In anticipation of growth, the brand tapped Rob Hense, former head of real estate at both Apple and Crate & Barrel, as its chief development officer. Karen Katz, former CEO of Neiman Marcus, joined as an advisor, too.