Atlanta-based private-equity firm Roark Capital Group has acquired Miller’s Ale House, a 65-unit casual-dining chain, from KarpReilly LLC.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

“Roark’s culture and strong record of partnering with management to build restaurant brands makes them the right partner for our team,” said Jack Miller, Miller’s Ale House founder and chief executive.

Roark was interested in Miller’s Ale House because of its focus on family-friendly dining, craft beer, a differentiated menu and sports viewing — trends that are all on the upswing, according to Geoff Hill, vice president at Roark. “We think Miller’s brings all that together,” he said. “It’s a great company. It’s differentiated. Their average unit volumes are industry leading.”

Hill added that the Jupiter, Fla.-based chain’s focus on value, “reasonable” pricing and big meal portions also appealed to Roark.

As part of the acquisition, National Restaurant Association chairman Phil Hickey was named chairman of Miller’s Ale House. The role will be advisory in nature, Hill said.

“Miller’s Ale House has distinguished itself within the sports bar and grill segment,” Hickey said in a statement. “Jack Miller and the entire Ale House team have created a truly unique restaurant concept focused on great food, great service and great value.”

Hill said there are no other planned executive or staffing changes as a result of the acquisition.

North Point Advisors and Ropes & Gray advised Miller’s Ale House and KarpReilly during the transaction, the company said in a statement. North Point had put the brand up for auction before it was purchased by the private-equity firm, according to Hill.

The purchase of Miller’s Ale House will mark Roark’s 13th restaurant brand and second full-service restaurant acquisition, as well as the company’s first foray into the bar-and-grill-segment.

Roark’s portfolio also includes Arby’s, Corner Bakery, McAlister’s Deli and Focus Brands.

KarpReilly owns Café Rio Mexican Grill, Elephant Bar and Sprinkles Cupcakes, among other brands. The company also holds a minority stake in Hooters and Coopers Hawk.

Contact Erin Dostal at erin.dostal@penton.com.
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