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eatZi’s Market & Bakery, the restaurant/home meal replacement format that gained great notoriety a half-dozen years ago, has been sold by owner Brinker International to an investment group led by its founder, Philip Romano, and Castanea Partners, a private equity investment firm.

Romano will serve as co-CEO of the new company.

The goal of the new management and ownership is to build more than 30 stores over the next five years in new and existing markets.
KC's View:
For a while there, eatZi’s was like Rick’s in “Casablanca” -- everybody went there, because it was held out as the vision of the future for the food business.

Of course, it didn’t work out that way across the board. The first store opened in Dallas, and the company proudly says that its expansion into Houston, Atlanta and the suburbs of Washington, DC, has earned it a loyal following, with a quarter of its customers visiting three or more times a week.

The publicity material doesn’t mention that eatZi’s couldn’t cut it in the Big Apple.

But there we go being cynical again…

Actually, the couple of eatZi’s we’ve been to were delightful, with good food and a fun atmosphere. We like our own cooking better, but go figure…

There is a place for eatZi’s, and it certainly is a vision of the food future. But it’s only one vision…and there’s plenty of room for other visions.