Today, the Portland Business Journal dropped this quarter-pounder: Portland's own Little Big Burger gourmet burger chain has sold to Chanticleer Holdings, a Charlotte, North-Carolina-based holding company. Among its holdings, Chanticleer owns three additional gourmet-burger chains, but only one of its restaurants already exists in Portland: Hooters. Around the globe, the company owns 400+ Hooters locations.
Eater called Chanticleer Holdings Chairman/CEO Mike Pruitt this morning to learn more about the acquisition. "We've been very active in the acquisition of the better-burger category," said Pruitt. "The size of their [Little Big Burger's] burger and their truffle fries is a very unique concept." Little Big Burger originally proposed the sale to Chanticleer Holding, and while the price of the acquisition has not been revealed, it will be released publicly within 24 hours.
Chanticleer Holdings has not announced any changes to the Little Big Burger concept other than expanding it beyond its Portland roots. Construction has begun on a ninth Portland location as part of the Hassalo on Eighth development that will open late 2015. The company is also considering opening Seattle and Boise locations.
Little Big Burger was formerly owned by Katie Poppe and Micah Camden, who also own Blue Star Donuts, Boxer Ramen, and Son of a Biscuit. Speaking with Eater this morning, Poppe said, "Chanticleer really impressed us with their industry knowledge and commitment to maintaining the integrity of their other restaurants, which is really important to us. They don’t want to change anything about Little Big Burger, just help improve it. We’re super excited to work with them over the next year."
Although both parties are adamant that Little Big Burger won't change, improvement implies change of some sort. So it'll be interesting to watch the development of the chain in the coming months. Chanticleer Holdings has said that it is in the process of developing an advisory board to oversee Little Big Burger, and Poppe and Camden will be invited to join post-closing.
"We think that Katie is a visionary, and Mike is a genius at creating food that people love to eat," says Pruitt. "We look forward to working with them to grow out their baby."
Additionally, Poppe and Camden say that the sale will let them focus and refine their other restaurant concepts.