Browsing through the Restaurant Brokers' Web site is a bit like taking a peek into a crystal ball. The number of Valley restaurants offered for sale is an education in how volatile the business is, particularly right now with a glut of new eateries opening at the same time would-be diners are holding on tighter to their wallets. If the listings are any indication of the shape of our dining-out market, the next few months should see some pretty interesting changes in ownership.
Restaurant Brokers is Arizona's largest company specializing in the selling, buying and leasing of restaurants and bars. President Reuel Couch and vice president Brian Harron refuse to disclose the identities of their clients, given that rumors of a restaurant being sold can lead to employee and customer loss. But of the 42 current listings, several offer pretty obvious hints as to whom the clients might be (listings edited for brevity):
Restaurant/Lounge -- "Frank Lloyd Wright & Loop 101 in the Sonora Village Shopping Center. Seat larger groups in a semi-private area that directs sound away from the main dining area. Spacious patio. Main dining area gives diners full view of fireplace. Open kitchen and wood-fired oven; see-through plate glass keeps kitchen noise contained."
My guess? Rustico Italian restaurant.
Full Service Seafood Specialty Restaurant -- "BEST, BEST location, BEST demographics and many "BEST OF" awards. Display kitchen, outstanding wine collection. This is a great opportunity to purchase a restaurant with proven cash-flow potential."
My guess? Restaurant Oceana.
Full-Service Restaurant W/ Real Estate -- Old Town Scottsdale -- "Exceptional! Highly acclaimed with numerous awards. Consistent media mentions as one of Scottsdale's best. Always wins 'Best Patio.' Southwestern food, Tequila bar. Dinner only. Very consistent sales, with excellent cash flow."
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My guess? Old Town Tortilla Factory.
Phoenix Ice Cream Restaurant with Real Estate -- "This freestanding restaurant is a true Phoenix tradition, serving families and anyone who loves good homemade food since 1950. The buyer of this wonderful restaurant can capitalize on its history for growth as a single operation, or structure the business for growth into other locations and/or wholesale."
My guess? Mary Coyle's.
Playing the Beard: Join the Friends of James Beard for dinner September 24 at the Royal Palms Hotel. Chefs cooking a creative five-course meal include Derek Morgan and Pierino Jermonti (T. Cook's), Michael Hoobler (Valencia Lane), Alessandro Statta (Renoir at the Mirage, Las Vegas), and Stephen Kalt (Spartina, New York City).