logo

Company News

Castanea Partners Announces New Transaction

Newton, Massachusetts, December 1, 2002 - Castanea Partners announced that it has teamed with Phillip Romano, the founder of eatZi's Market & Bakery, and senior management to purchase eatZi's from Brinker International (NYSE: EAT) for an undisclosed sum.

eatZi's Market & Bakery (www.eatzis.com) is an innovative specialty retailer offering chef-crafted meals, fresh baked goods, and specialty packaged food designed for customers who value both convenience and exceptional food. eatZi's currently operates in four locations; Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, and Rockville, Maryland. From the start, eatZi's has enjoyed tremendous customer loyalty. All four stores opened with the highest average per-store revenues in the industry, and twenty-five percent of its customers visit three or more times each week.

Robert Smith, Managing Partner of Castanea Partners commented, "eatZi's customer value proposition is unique and incredibly powerful, as evidenced by their tremendous customer loyalty. What is equally impressive to us is the job Phil and his team have done over the last few years refining the operating model to deliver attractive store-level economics."

For the past two years, eatZi's Market & Bakery has been managed by founder and CEO Phil Romano - developer of nationwide restaurant concepts Fuddrucker's, Romano's Macaroni Grill, and Cozymel's - and former Cheesecake Factory executive Diana Fair, who leads the company's operations. Joining the team as co-CEO is Rick Claes who, as CEO of Thornton Oil Corporation, helped build a chain of over 150 convenience stores which generated nearly $1 billion in annual revenue.

"One of the strengths of eatZi's is its superb management team whose extensive experience is a perfect complement to this unique blend of food service, grocery and convenience retailing", said Brian Knez, Managing Partner of Castanea Partners. "Phil and his team have created a strong employee culture focused on providing an exceptional customer experience. We are excited to work with them to refine the eatZi's concept while significantly expanding the store base."

"The Castanea Partners team brings more than money to this transaction," Romano said. "Their knowledge and operating experience with upscale specialty retail brands such as Neiman Marcus and Kate Spade will be invaluable as we grow and refine the eatZi's concept."

Castanea Partners, Inc. is a private equity investment firm located in the Greater Boston area. Castanea Partners was founded and capitalized by Robert A. Smith and Brian J. Knez, the former co-CEOs of diversified publishing leader Harcourt General and of high-end retailer The Neiman Marcus Group. Castanea Partners has combined a core team of top operating executives with experienced private equity professionals to truly be a value-added investor.

In addition to Castanea Partners, the investor group includes Phil Romano and eatZi's management, along with Matrix Capital Markets, the investment bank which facilitated the transaction.

For Potential
Portfolio Companies

  • See what some of our portfolio company business owners have to say about Castanea Partners

    Read more

Press Releases

  • Castanea Partners announces investment in Tatcha

    OCTOBER 2017 - Castanea Partners announced today that it has made a minority investment in Tatcha, a luxury skincare brand with a collection of products inspired by timeless Japanese beauty rituals.

    Read More

Media Coverage

  • Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams featured on Wall Street Journal

    OCT 2017 - Cool Kitchen Tips From America's Ice-Cream Queen

    Read More

Perspectives

  • Q&A with Partner at Castanea Partners, Tim Burke

    NOV 2017

    Read more

  • Janet Gurwitch speaks at 2014 Texas ACG Capital Connection


    Play Video

Castanea Partners Three Newton Executive Park, Suite 304, Newton, MA 02462
P (617) 630-2400 | info@castaneapartners.com