Edward P. "Ned" Grace, III has joined the Angelo, Gordon & Co.'s Private Equity Group as a senior advisor, where he will help the firm source and evaluate new investments in the restaurant industry as well as serve as a board member of the firm’s restaurant industry investments.

Grace is the founder and past chairman, president, and CEO of The Capital Grille & Bugaboo Creek Steak House chains, which he took public in 1994 (NASDAQ: RARE). 

“Ned has had an outstanding restaurant career and we’re looking forward to utilizing his knowledge and connections in the restaurant space,” says Richard Leonard, a managing director in Angelo Gordon’s Private Equity Group.  “We are also very pleased that Ned will be joining the board of Firebirds Wood Fired Grill, and are confident Firebirds will benefit greatly from his experience.”

Grace sold his chains to Longhorn Steaks, Inc. in 1996 and was a director and former vice chairman of the combined companies, known as RARE Hospitality International, Inc. RARE was acquired by Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) in 2008. 

Grace formerly owned and founded Hemenway’s Sea Food Grill and Oyster Bar in Providence, Rhode Island (named by Esquire as "One of America’s best restaurants"); and The Old Grist Mill Tavern in Seekonk, Massachusetts. 

Grace has served as a director of the National Restaurant Association in Washington and the National Restaurant Association's Educational Foundation in Chicago. He currently is a director of Not Your Average Joe's Inc., Larkburger Inc., and Shawmut Design and Construction.

“I’m excited to work with Angelo Gordon on its restaurant industry deals,” Grace says. 

“The firm is well positioned to succeed based on the strong restaurant experience of its team led by Richard Leonard as well as the firm’s strong real estate investing platform, which can be extremely value added to companies in the restaurant industry. 

“While this is a challenging time for the American economy, I believe now is a great time to be purchasing companies in certain sectors of the restaurant industry that are growing and increasing market share.  I’m also looking forward to working with the management at Firebirds, which is a great example of the type of restaurant company I think is attractive in the current environment.”

Angelo Gordon’s Private Equity Group acquired Firebirds Wood Fired Grill with the company’s management in April 2011.

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill has 19 locations nationwide.

Angelo Gordon’s Private Equity Group makes investments with deal sizes ranging from $50 million to $500 million. Sector focus includes financial services, healthcare, and consumer/retail.

Industry News, Labor & Employees, Firebirds, The Capital Grille