Financing

Savory Fund backs smoothie, acai bowl concept South Block

The majority stake marks the 12th restaurant investment for the Utah-based private-equity firm and the first in its $200 million Savory Fund III portfolio.
South Block
Savory Fund has taken a majority stake in better-for-you concept South Block. | Photo courtesy: South Block

Lehi, Utah-based private-equity firm Savory Fund on Wednesday announced its 12th investment in an emerging restaurant chain, just a few months after backing a hot chicken chain.

This time, Savory’s dollars went to South Block, a 15-unit, Virginia-based concept that sells made-to-order smoothies, acai bowls, toasts and cold-pressed juices. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, though Savory’s investment gives it a majority stake in the brand.

“I instantly fell in love with South Block—from the moment I took a bite of that insanely good PBJ acai bowl,” Andrew K. Smith, managing partner and co-founder of Savory, said in a statement. “Their menu is healthy without being intimidating, their systems are effective and sound, and their devoted following is incredible to watch.”

South Block, named after the location of the concept’s first store in Clarendon, Va., was founded in 2011 by Amir Mostafavi, who will remain as its CEO. The concept currently operates in Virginia; Washington, D.C., and Maryland.

“South Block was built by always putting people first,” Mostafavi said in a statement. “When seeking a partnership to accelerate our growth, we knew we couldn’t compromise on our core values. Savory stood out because of their focus on founders’ vision and their dedication to culture.”

He added: “Our teams have blended so well from the start. We couldn’t be more excited about the jobs we are going to create and the positive impact we are committed to cultivating on every block we become a part of.”

In November, Savory Fund announced its investment in Houston TX Hot Chicken, an 11-unit chain operating in six states. Savory has previously provided funding to growth chains such as Swig, Via 313, Hash Kitchen, Pincho and Mo’Bettahs.

South Block’s cash infusion is the first from the new Savory Fund III, a $200 million fund “focused on the strategic growth of emerging restaurant concepts,” Savory said. The firm said it currently has more than $750 million in assets under management overall.

“I have met with hundreds of brands over the years, and deciding what concept to invest in always comes back to its unique offering, its scalability and the heart of its origin story,” Taylor DeHart, a principal at Savory, said. “We are a founder-driven investment company and we are thrilled to welcome Amir and the South Block team to the Savory family.”

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