Fertitta feat: Island-born billionaire Tilman Fertitta has prevailed in his bid for the bankrupt Ignite Restaurant Group, the parent company of Joe’s Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern + Tap, according to reports.
Fertitta, president CEO of Houston-based Landry’s Inc., last week told Nation’s Restaurant News his company had won a bankruptcy court auction Aug. 7 that will give him control of Ignite Restaurant Group assets. A judge must approve the sale in a court hearing in Houston scheduled for Thursday, the trade magazine reports.
Houston-based Ignite filed for bankruptcy protection June 6 with a $50 million “stalking-horse” bid by Kelly Investment Group. A stalking-horse bid is an initial bid on a bankrupt company’s assets from an interested buyer chosen by the bankrupt company. The point is to allow the struggling company to avoid unreasonably low bids. But Ignite Restaurant Group’s rejected Landry’s higher $55 million bid, which didn’t sit well with Fertitta.
Landry’s attorney Patrick Hughes borrowed a line from “Jurassic Park,” where raptors terrorized their creator and his guests, the Houston Chronicle reported.
“Debtors have ‘spared no expense’ to defeat and reject a better deal from Landry’s that has been theirs for the taking,” Hughes wrote. He added a footnote: “Quoting John Hammond from Jurassic Park 1, and we saw how that turned out.”
Fertitta is quite familiar with the Joe’s Crab Shack chain.
In 2006, Landry’s sold the bulk of Joe’s Crab Shack restaurants for about $192 million to private equity group JCS Holdings, which in 2008 changed its name to Ignite Restaurant Group. The island’s seawall is home to a Joe’s Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern + Tap. Stay tuned.
Catch of the day: Look for an early September opening of Flippers Coastal Seafood, 628 FM 517 in Dickinson. Owners couldn’t be reached for comment, but Biz Buzz heard this buzz from a reader: “A friend of mine attended a pre-opening dinner at Flippers where the chef cooked up some of the items that will be on the menu. She said it was really good.” Flippers is in the same retail center — developed by Jon Arledge — that houses the popular T.J. Reed’s Better Burgers & Shakes. Stay tuned.
Fried and true: Meanwhile, fast-food fried chicken purveyor Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen is planning to roost at 900 W. FM 517 in Dickinson. The site is vacant and zoned for commercial. Dickinson Planning & Zoning Commission must approve the Popeyes development. Read next week about more retail and development plans for Dickinson.
Hut-hush: Inquiring readers from all around are seeking news about the status of The Beach Hut, 731 Seawall Blvd., in Galveston. Initially, Nelson Alvarado and Sidhartha Sen, who bought the building in 2015, had hoped to open in early January. They then pushed plans to this spring. But it has been quiet at the site. The owners this week did not respond to Biz Buzz inquiries and city officials did not immediately answer questions about the status of construction and occupancy permits.
In March last year, Alvarado said: “We acquired the property with great ambitions to open up a lot sooner.” But Alvarado and Sen have other ventures, which have preoccupied much of their time, Alvarado said.
Alvarado and Sen are executive partners of Integris Projects LLC, which has more than once landed on Houston Business Journal’s Fast 100 List. Integris, according to its website, specializes in emergency response and disaster recovery, marine operations, roofing services, general construction and more.
When it reopens, The Beach Hut will offer live music, food and adult beverages. Crews were building a large, customized stage for the venue. And initially, food trucks will supply fare, including barbecue, Alvarado has said. A new bar at The Beach Hut will seat about 60 people, as opposed to 16 that the previous venue accommodated. Crews also were renovating the restrooms, Alvarado said last year. Stay tuned.
Really BIG buzz: Investment in the island’s downtown shows no signs of slowing. Milton Ausherman and Andrea Hunting have renovated and opened up the downstairs of the historic M.W. Shaw Building, 2427 Market St. The results of that renovation have generated buzz. The airy 3,000-square-foot space serves as the showroom for their newest retail venture — GIANT.
GIANT features modern art, painting and sculpture and a store featuring modern-design furniture
Ausherman, a well-known artist, custom builds the furniture, including hairpin leg and maple coffee tables, a mahogany bed frame, baking tables that slide into space as work islands, modern room dividers and more. The store also carries decorative items.
Hunting also is known for creating popular restaurant EATcetera, also at the M.W. Shaw Building. Last year, Ann O’Brien began leasing the restaurant so Hunting could pursue other ventures.
The scoop: Owners of ice cream enterprise Hey Mikey’s are planning to celebrate the opening of their shop on Texas City’s booming Sixth Street.
Hey Mikey’s Ice Cream already has opened at 613 Sixth St., but will commemorate its debut in Texas City with grand opening celebrations from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Festivities will include a ribbon cutting, live band, bounce houses and face painting.
Mike and Kathy Bouvier own Hey Mikey’s Ice Cream, 2120 Postoffice St., in the island’s downtown. The island shop will remain open.
On the burner: Careful, this dish is hot. When the lease expires for the Chevron gas station at 1043 Bay Area Blvd. at Baybrook Gateway in Webster, crews will demolish the building and remove tanks. Escalante’s Fine Tex-Mex restaurant will rise in the gas station’s place, Webster city officials report. Escalante’s, which opened in Houston in 1993 and has six locations, is aiming to open the Webster eatery in December 2018, or the first quarter of 2019.