Glacier Restaurant Group has purchased Max & Erma’s from American Blue Ribbon Holdings and plans to revitalize the struggling casual-dining chain, the company said Monday.

The news comes just a week after American Blue Ribbon Holdings said that it closed 13 underperforming Max & Erma’s locations, leaving the chain with 51 units in 10 states, mostly in the Midwest. The chain had 106 locations as recently as 2008.

The deal gives Glacier, based in Whitefish, Mont., its fifth concept, joining MacKenzie River Pizza Grill & Pub, Ciao Mambo, Craggy Range Bar & Grill and Latitude 48.

“We are excited to welcome Max & Erma’s to our portfolio of restaurants,” Brad Ridgeway, president of Glacier, said in a statement. “It is a great brand that has a tradition of being an important part of the communities each location serves.”

Ridgeway said his company plans to update Max & Erma’s to “today’s tastes” by investing in the chain so it delivers “the best guest experience possible.”

“Our team is eager to revive the brand, introduce it to first-time guests and invite communities to rediscover the experience,” Ridgeway said. “We’re very optimistic about Max & Erma’s potential.”

Max & Erma’s gives Glacier Restaurant Group restaurants in 14 states.

This is the second time in five years that Max & Erma’s has changed hands. Fidelity National Financial bought the chain out of bankruptcy for $28 million in 2010. It then paired Max & Erma’s with Village Inn, Baker’s Square and O’Charley’s to form American Blue Ribbon Holdings.

Max & Erma’s was founded in Columbus, Ohio, in 1972, and is known for its quirky artifacts and local paraphernalia.

“One thing that is so appealing about Max & Erma’s is its heritage,” Ridgeway said. “It is a family-friendly restaurant where guests remember going as kids and now are bringing their kids in for made-from-scratch hamburgers and other delicious food. Our goal is to build on the groundwork established by ABRH and take menu innovation, quality control, community involvement and brand culture to the next level.”

Contact Jonathan Maze at jonathan.maze@penton.com
Follow him on Twitter: @jonathanmaze