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New Parent Company of Six Bankrupt Chains Says It Only Plans to Revive One

It's the end of the road for these buffet brands.

BBQ Holdings, owner of Famous Dave's, has acquired six restaurant chains from Fresh Acquisitions, a recently bankrupt holding company. But the new parent company says that only one of the six currently shuttered chains will be continuing operations.

That chain is Tahoe Joe's, a line of steakhouses known for its pellet-broiler-cooked, smoke-infused steak. BBQ Holdings has big plans for Joe's, hoping to co-brand the chain with its own Famous Dave's brand and incorporate items from the Tahoe Joe's menu into Dave's menu and vice versa.

RELATED: Parent Company of These 6 Restaurant Chains Just Declared Bankruptcy

As for the other brands—decades-old buffets like Old Country Buffet, Hometown Buffet, Fire Mountain Buffet, and Ryan's—the future looks bleak. All remain currently shuttered, Fresh Acquisitions having entered bankruptcy with just six Tahoe Joe's units to its name. And BBQ Holding has no plans to revive any of the chains, CEO Jeff Crivello confirmed to Restaurant Business.

"[They were] just [intellectual property] that came alongside the transaction," Crivello said. "We have no immediate plans to reopen any of the buffet brands."

BBQ Holdings shelled out over $5 million for Fresh Acquisition's brands, a million more than the next highest bidder. The acquisition is just one of several completed this year, BBQ having absorbed the struggling Village Inn and Baker's Square earlier this summer, in addition to Clark Crew BBQ and a Real Urban Barbecue. In 2020, the holding company bought Granite City Food & Brewery out of bankruptcy. Tahoe Joe's will round out the BBQ Holdings portfolio as its seventh restaurant brand.

Fresh Acquisitions, meanwhile, is at the end of the road. The company's declaration of bankruptcy in April was its fourth in just 13 years. At the outset of the filing, Fresh Acquisitions had hopes of retaining Tahoe Joe's and Furr's, and of consolidating its business to focus on the flagship brands.

In the end, however, it was fast-tracked for the auction. Now under new ownership, Tahoe Joe's might, in the long run, find greater success at BBQ Holdings. Its sibling brands, however, are likely headed for retirement.

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Owen Duff
Owen Duff is a freelance journalist based in Vermont, home of Ben & Jerry’s. Read more about Owen