flickr: Timo
According to bankruptcy filings, Landry's Inc. offered $57 million.

Landry's, Tilman Fertitta Win Joe's Crab Shack in Auction

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The casual dining chain was owned by Fertitta in the 1990s.
By Danny Klein July 2017 Chain Restaurants

Ignite Restaurant Group’s assets appear headed for familiar hands. Tilman Fertitta, head of Landry’s Inc., won the bankruptcy court action Monday to assume ownership of fledging casual dining chains Joe’s Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern + Tap.

According to bankruptcy filings, Fertitta’s company offered $57 million.

Fertitta owned Joe’s Crab Shack in the 1990s before selling it in 2006 to JCS Holdings LLC for $192 million. The company changed its name to Ignite Restaurant Group and went public in May 2012.

The purchase could conclude what’s been an eventful process in recent months. Ignite filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in early June, an announcement accompanied by news that Kelly Companies bid $50 million in cash for both brands. At the time, Ignite also filed a motion for the implementation of bidding procedures to allow other companies to submit bids through a court-supervised process to purchase the assets being sold. A couple of weeks later, Houston-based Landry’s, which operates more than 50 brands, announced a $55 million bid.

Ignite was initially resistant to the deal, according to The Houston Chronicle. Landry’s offered $60 million in May before dropping its price to $50 million in early June. Joe’s and Brick House have struggled to fix sales and declining guest traffic.

Ignite’s same-store sales dropped 14.3 percent at Joe’s and 12.6 percent at Brick House in the first quarter versus the prior year. In March, the company was delisted from the Nasdaq Stock Market. The company closed 18 Joe’s and one Brick House in 2016, bringing the total to 112 Joe’s and 25 Brick House stores.

The court must still approve the sale later in August.