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Sun Capital principal appointed CEO of Smokey Bones

Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill named Sun Capital Partners principal Ryan Esko CEO, the casual-dining company said Tuesday.

Esko replaces Chris Artinian, who left Smokey Bones to pursue other opportunities, the company said. Artinian had served as CEO since June 2014.

“We are very pleased that Ryan is joining Smokey Bones,” said Anthony Polazzi, a Smokey Bones board member. “With Ryan now on board, we plan to move quickly to continue our growth plan by adding new stores, completing major remodels, and looking at potential acquisitions.”

For Smokey Bones, Esko previously led key initiatives that drive strong gains in sales, customer satisfaction and financial performance, the company said.

“I look forward to working with this great team to further accelerate the company’s brand and growth,” Esko said. “Smokey Bones is passionate about delivering good food, good drinks and good times—and I am very excited to be a part of this great company once again.”

Sun Capital acquired the Smokey Bones chain in 2008 for $80 million. The brand had previously been under the purview of Darden Restaurants.

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