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Primanti's to expand with investor's help

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Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Primanti Brothers is looking to expand, and that doesn't mean heaping more fries, cole slaw and tomatoes onto its sandwiches.

The popular Pittsburgh restaurant chain said it landed its first outside investment, an unspecified amount from private equity firm Catterton Partners. It will put the funding toward expanding the Primanti brand and introducing it to new audiences, but it did not disclose details.

The Catterton firm, of Greenwich, Conn., has helped to expand companies such as Baja Fresh Mexican Grill and P.F. Chang's, Primanti Brothers said. Its investment in the chain that Joe Primanti started in 1930s, with a sandwich cart in the Strip District, could help take Primanti's to the “next level,” the statement said.

By serving “some of the best and boldest sandwiches in the country,” it said, the chain established a premier position in the restaurant industry.

Jim Patrinos bought the business in 1974 from Dick Primanti, one of Joe's brothers. He expanded it from the original Strip District restaurant to 18 Western Pennsylvania locations, plus three in Florida, and added pizza, wings, salads and other dishes to the menu.

Patrinos was unavailable for comment, as was J. Michael Chu, Catterton's managing partner.

Patrinos and Nick Nicholas, owner of Nicholas Coffee Co., are owners in Primanti's and are expected to retain active roles in operations and growth strategies.

Catterton's website said it is one of the largest private equity firms in the United States focused on the consumer industry, with more than $2.5 billion in equity capital under active management.

Kim Leonard is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5606 or kleonard@tribweb.com.

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