Food Management Partners has acquired the 34-unit Don Pablo’s Tex-Mex casual-dining chain from Rita Restaurant Corp., the company said Friday.

San Antonio-based Food Management Partners, or FMP, which also franchises 35 Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants and owns and operates 21 Zio’s Italian Kitchen locations, said all management functions will move from Madison, Ga.-based Rita Restaurant Group to FMP’s corporate office. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We are very excited about the acquisition of a heritage brand like Don Pablo’s,” Peter Donbavand, FMP vice president of business development, said in a statement. “With its history of serving high-quality Tex-Mex cuisine and excellent customer service, Don Pablo’s is the kind of concept we are always on the look out for.”

Don Pablo’s was founded in 1985 in Lubbock, Texas. Rita Restaurant Corp., a subsidiary of Waltham, Mass.-based DDJ Capital Management LLC, bought the concept in February 2008 as part of prior owner Avado Brands’ Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

An FMP spokesman said the Don Pablo’s units are located in 14 states. The company operates Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants in three states and its Zio’s concept in six states.

“We are confident that our experience as operators will allow us to continue the rich tradition that Don Pablo’s has built over the last 20 or so years,” Donbavand said. “A concept like this fits nicely into our portfolio of restaurants.”

Since acquiring Don Pablo’s in 2008, Rita Restaurant Corp. focused on positioning the brand with daily value offerings, called Loco Deals, and maintaining such menu items as fajitas carnitas, chimichangas, enchiladas and mesquite-grilled items. The concept also is known for its fresh tortillas.

Rita Restaurant Corp. awarded its first Don Pablo’s franchise in May 2012 to an operator in Sarasota, Fla.

Privately held Food Management Partners, founded in 1999, has previously franchised the Little Caesars and Smashburger brands.

Contact Ron Ruggless at ronald.ruggless@penton.com.
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