At least four units of the Del Frisco’s Grille steakhouse chain are expected to cease operation this weekend, right before the brand is sold, as previously announced, to Tilman Fertitta’s Landry’s Inc.
The closings would pare the polished-casual chain to 20 branches, the Grille’s website indicates.
Landry’s acquisition of the Grille and its upscale sister, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, will close at the end of this month, according to a spokesperson. She referred questions about the closings, brought to light by separate local media reports, to the steak chains’ parent, Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group (DFRG).
DFRG is being acquired for $650 million by L Catterton, the giant private-equity firm that also holds interests in Uncle Julio’s and Velvet Taco, among other restaurant operations. Catterton has agreed to flip the steak chains to Landry’s for an undisclosed amount. It intends to keep DFRG’s small growth chains, Barcelona and Bartaco.
On the day the sale to Landry’s was announced, Fertitta said in a statement, “We couldn't be happier with the acquisition and are planning no changes to the operations.”
His standard operating procedure has been to cherry-pick the healthier units of any chain he buys, leaving the others to close or be divested to others. Fertitta took that approach in buying Restaurants Unlimited for $37 million, a deal disclosed on the same day Landry’s announced its agreement to buy the sister Del Frisco’s brands.
The Del Frisco’s Grilles earmarked for closure are located in Washington, D.C.; Bethesda, Md.; and Chestnut Hill and Burlington, Mass.
DFRG did not respond to requests for information about how many other units may be shut before the sale to Landry’s is completed. The website for Del Frisco’s Double Eagle indicates all 16 units of that high-end chain remain in operation.
Del Frisco’s Grille was conceived as a lower-priced complement to Del Frisco’s Double Eagle. DFRG aimed for a higher frequency of visits with the Grille, but its efforts were thwarted by perception issues. Customers didn’t realize that the Grille’s menu extended far beyond steak, and that its pricing was more moderate than its upscale sister, executives said at the time.