Some Stanford’s and Portland Seafood Company restaurants will get another chance after months of uncertainty.
After RUI Holdings, the Seattle-based parent of Restaurants Unlimited was acquired last week by Landry’s in a bankruptcy sale, five restaurants were sold again to Ascend Hospitality Group, a restaurant management company based in Bellevue.
Stanford’s at Northgate Mall, along with a string of Stanford’s in Portland and the Portland Seafood Company, are safe and will now be renovated.
Restaurants Unlimited filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July.
Elaina Herber, Ascend’s president, said Restaurants Unlimited centralized Stanford’s by creating a uniform look and feel for the restaurants. She said Ascend will revitalize the restaurants by ripping out the carpet, updating the decor, and adding regional elements and menu items.
She said this happened once before, when the company acquired six Famous Dave’s barbecue franchises in Washington and Utah. Ascend implemented a new style and new color scheme to the restaurants, and added menu items like cheese curds and a hot chicken sandwich to regionalize them.
“People loved it,” Herber said. “[The restaurant] is a part of their family traditions.”
The company owns a small portfolio that includes upscale, fast-casual restaurants that sell poké, tacos and bao sandwiches in food court space in the Lincoln Square building in downtown Bellevue, along with a high-end steak house in the same area. Its purchase of a long-standing Pacific Northwest restaurant — Stanford’s was established in 1990 — will diversify its portfolio and stretch its expansion into Oregon.
“It’s right in the middle of the elevated polished casual,” Herber said. “Our goal is to reach into the history of these two brands…and we’re going to take it back there.”
The small restaurant management company, which started in 2017, now employs around 700 people in Washington and Oregon. It added 250 employees with the purchased restaurants.
Earlier this year Restaurants Unlimited closed Palomino in Bellevue. Three Henry’s Taverns in Bellevue and Seattle were closed late last month.
Landry’s still owns Stanford’s in Lake Oswego, Oregon.