COVID-19 kills sale of Parasole restaurants

Sure it's a bear market, but if you've got a set on ya, we've got an idea…

Sure it's a bear market, but if you've got a set on ya, we've got an idea… Star Tribune

If “restaurant years” are measured anything like “dog years,” some of Parasole restaurants' biggest names are ancient beasts, which puts their future squarely in COVID’s crosshairs.

Now, the likes of Chino Latino and Manny’s Steakhouse are resting on more unstable ground than ever thanks to the virus.

Tuesday afternoon, word spread that FS Funds, a Minneapolis-based private equity firm, had backed out of an agreement to purchase Parasole Restaurant Holdings. The 42-year-old restaurant group—which owns the likes of Pittsburgh Blue Steakhouse, Salut Bar Americain, the Good Earth, Burger Jones and Field Day—had even returned the new purchaser’s money to square the deal

Terms of the March 2 bargain were not disclosed. 

In a bleak sign of the times, Parasole co-founder Phil Roberts spoke highly of FS Funds, though he told the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal, “Nobody was surprised.” 

Speaking for those not involved in the deal directly—some of us weren’t “surprised,” per se, by this collapse… but witnessing the first local (big) sign of money’s behavior toward the restaurant industry’s best laid plans, pre-virus, doesn’t look good.

It also doesn’t bode well—on, like, an omen level.

And we're not economists, but it's news to us to learn that takesies-backsies are a thing?

Back in March, Parasole’s sale was considered nice, since it was thought the new ownership group would allow the restaurants to maintain their character. Less than two weeks later, everything closed for everyone’s safety. All 14 of Parasole’s establishments declined to enter the takeout and delivery game, and now the deal is off.

Thanks, corona.

Only one question remains: How restaurant workers’ stimulus checks would have to be pooled to buy Parasole? The price has probably dropped since early March…