Redrock Partners Acquires Romano’s Macaroni Grill

Redrock Partners Acquires Romano's Macaroni GrillTransaction with Ignite Restaurant Group to be completed within 30 days

Redrock Partners Acquires Romano's Macaroni GrillRedrock Partners, LLC today announced that it has agreed to acquire Romano’s Macaroni Grill from Ignite Restaurant Group, Inc.

Redrock Partners, LLC is a limited liability corporation based in Phoenix, Arizona.

Three industry veterans will be taking over ownership and operations of the popular restaurant chain: John Gilbert, who is presently President and will continue to serve as CEO of Romano’s Macaroni Grill; Dean Riesen, who will serve as Chairman of the organization; and investor Dick Monfort.

Redrock Partners expects to complete the transaction within 30 days.

Romano’s Macaroni Grill is an Italian restaurant brand founded in 1988 by Phil Romano, one of the industry’s leading innovators.   Inspired by the Italian “country” cuisine served in Romano’s grandmother’s kitchen, Macaroni Grill has grown to over $300 million in US sales and another $40 million through its franchise operations.

“We are delighted to continue the work started by Ignite on the transformation of Mac Grill,” said John Gilbert, who has been president of the brand for the past year.

Gilbert has a strong history of brand transformation, including the launch of Jack Daniel’s Grill at Friday’s and leading the team that developed the “America Runs on Dunkin’” campaign at Dunkin’ Donuts.   Gilbert has also served as President and CEO of both public and private companies for the past seven years.

“Over the past nine months, Macaroni Grill has tested and launched Romano’s Kitchen Counter, which has proven to be a big hit with our customers,” continued Gilbert. “Romano’s Kitchen Counter features a proportional service model where the restaurants are able to provide customers with a range of service from a fast-casual counter occasion to a full-serve special occasion.”

Dean Riesen added: “We believe that Romano’s Kitchen Counter is the beginning of a new chapter in the Macaroni Grill story. It was this growth opportunity, combined with the existing business foundation, that led me to put together the investment group to acquire Macaroni Grill.”

Redrock Partners Acquires Romano's Macaroni Grill
Pork Belly & Chicken Carbonara
Riesen has had a lengthy financial and strategic career in the hospitality industry. He led Carlson Real Estate Company, served as the CFO of Carlson Holdings, Inc. and led the merger of Carlson’s U.K. travel interest into Thomas Cook Holdings, LTD (U.K.), then serving on its board of directors. Riesen also served on the board of Famous Dave’s of America and as Chairman from 2011-2014.

Dick Monfort, who completes the ownership trio, also stated: “I was delighted to join this team. I have worked with both Dean and John for many years and I believe we have the ideal chemistry to continue to grow the Mac Grill business.”

Monfort also has deep experience in the food service and hospitality industries, serving as the President & CEO of Monfort Meats, President of the protein divisions of ConAgra Foods, Inc. and owner of the Hyatt Regency-Palm Desert. Monfort served on the Board of Famous Dave’s of America, Inc. He is also the majority owner of the Colorado Rockies Major League Baseball team.

“We believe in the huge potential of this brand,” concluded Gilbert. “We are grateful for the initiatives launched under the stewardship of Ignite Restaurant Group and I know I speak for both Dean and Dick when I say that we plan on continuing, as owner/operators, those activities and building on the relationships with the employees, franchisees, landlords and suppliers that we will inherit.”


  • Redrock Partners, LLC has agreed to acquire Romano’s Macaroni Grill from Ignite Restaurants Group (IRG)
  • Redrock LLC expects to close this transaction within 30 days.
  • Romano’s Macaroni Grill currently operates 146 locations across 33 states with a total annualized revenue of roughly $300 million
  • Romano’s Macaroni Grill franchises 25 locations in the US and in 8 other countries
  • Romano’s Macaroni Grill currently operates 136 Romano’s Kitchen Counter fast-casual service locations and is likely one of the top two or three Italian fast-casual concepts in the US
  • Romano’s Kitchen Counter is currently in domestic restaurants only with plans to expand to international franchisees in the coming months
  • Romano’s Macaroni Grill will continue to be based in Houston, Texas
  • Romano’s Macaroni Grill’s talented team of employees are expected to join the new enterprise under John Gilbert, who served as president of Macaroni Grill under IRG and will be CEO going forward
  • Dean Riesen and Dick Monfort will constitute, along with Gilbert, the new board of directors, in which Riesen will act as chairman.

Completion of this transaction is subject to certain conditions and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.