Tyrannosaurus snub? It’s a rare day when island-born billionaire Tilman Fertitta doesn’t get his way in business. So, it’s not surprising that business reporters last week were abuzz about Ignite Restaurant Group‘s rejection of a $55 million bid by Landry’s Inc., of which Fertitta is president and CEO.
Ignite, which owns Joe’s Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern + Tap, in June announced it would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Rumors had been swirling since last summer that Fertitta, known for snapping up restaurant chains at bargain prices, was planning to acquire Ignite Restaurant Group through a venture called Lancadia. Turns out that it was through Landry’s that he intended to make the buy.
But according to reports, Houston-based Ignite reaffirmed its intent to sell its restaurant chains to KRG Acquisitions Co., which last month agreed to pay $50 million for the brands.
The snub 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.”
Landry’s, which operates more than 50 brands, argues that Ignite has an obligation to secure the best sale price for its creditors.
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
Ignite operates a Joe’s Crab Shack and a Brick House Tavern + Tap on Seawall Boulevard in Galveston. In recent years, Ignite has been closing its weakest locations, including one last year at Pier 19 in Galveston. Stay tuned.
Retail row: Meanwhile, in brighter news for Landry’s, Kemah Boardwalk officially debuted four new retailers — Style & Trend, Kemah Outfitters, Build-A-Bear Workshop and The Candy Box. Landry’s owns and operates Kemah Boardwalk, a massive entertainment complex that includes restaurants, amusement rides and shops.
Style & Trend offers such designer brands as Pandora, Vera Bradley, Kendra Scott, Michael Kors and more. Kemah Outfitters is a purveyor of surf-chic lines, such as Quicksilver, Roxy and Salt Life, along with preppy-casual brands. Patrons create their own stuffed animals at Build-A-Bear. The Candy Box sells sweet treats and more.
Where there’s smoke: Good brisket is prized in these parts. And a new barbecue joint in League City is generating buzz for that and other menu items. James Theriot and his wife, Carol, have opened JT’s Smokehouse, 3612 W. Main St. James Theriot often competed in barbecue cook-offs and often won. He’s always been passionate about barbecue, his wife said. So, he decided to take a leap of faith, enroll in culinary school and open a restaurant. JT’s Smokehouse also is getting strong reviews for its different sides, including beans and macaroni and cheese. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.
On a roll: Anyone else notice people rolling around on the beach in giant balls? Beach Service LLC, which rents Jet Skis, chairs, umbrellas and more, has added “human hamster balls” to its list of offerings at 39th Street and the seawall on the island, reports Kandie Bowers, whose family owns the business. For the uninitiated, the balls are made from translucent materials and allow users to roll around inside a bubble.
On the road: An island eatery famous for its breakfast burritos, barbacoa and Mexican fare, is taking a bite out of Austin’s competitive food-truck scene. Bronco Burritos this week opened Bronco Burritos ATX. Business was so brisk Friday the food truck had to close early, reports Hans Parrilla, who, with his wife, Danielle, operates the Austin truck at 617 Radam Lane. The Parrillas co-own the food truck with Melinda Quiroga, who will continue running the island Bronco Burritos, 4917 Broadway, in Galveston. Bronco Burritos has been in business on the island since 1991 and is famous for the Bronco Burrito, which is made with two eggs, potatoes, bacon, cheese, refried beans and chorizo wrapped in a flour tortilla. Although there’s heavy food truck traffic in Austin, there weren’t a lot of eateries where patrons could get homemade Mexican food, including handmade tortillas, Hans Parrilla said. The Parrillas intend to rectify that.
Aloha state of mind: An island business is celebrating 54 years with a Hawaiian theme through the summer. Speedy’s Printing, 715 24th St., has decorated its shop with Hawaiian décor, is playing Hawaiian music and giving leis to its customers. To complete the theme, staff is wearing Hawaiian shirts.
“We’re really going full force with this theme,” owner Leon Kaplan reports. Speedy’s offers printing services, copying services, digital color copying, high speed DSL and more.