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Catterton invests in Italian restaurant chain

Catterton Partners has made a “significant” investment in PIADA Italian Street Food, a fast-casual Italian eatery based in Columbus, Ohio with restaurants in Ohio and Indiana. PIADA will use the proceeds to continue growing across the country.

Press Release

PIADA Italian Street Food, an authentic fast-casual Italian eatery based in Columbus, Ohio with restaurants in Ohio and Indiana, today announced that Catterton Partners, the leading consumer-focused private equity firm, has made a significant investment in the company. Catterton’s investment will be used to continue growing the PIADA concept across the country. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

PIADA currently has 14 locations across the Midwest, with 6 planned to open by the end of 2013. The company is poised for significant national expansion throughout 2014 and the years to come. In 2013, PIADA was named one of Nation’s Restaurant News’ five “Hot Concepts” as well as one of Nation’s Restaurant News’ top 50 breakout brands.

“We are excited to enter into this strategic partnership with Catterton, which has extensive expertise in developing restaurants and expanding brands,” said Chris Doody, founder and CEO of PIADA. “We are confident that PIADA’s fresh ingredients, innovative menu and customizable options will translate well to new markets throughout the U.S. and beyond. With Catterton’s support, we look forward to the continued evolution of our growth strategy as we pursue our goal of building the leading fast-casual Italian restaurant company in the country.”

“We believe PIADA will be one of the great success stories in fast-casual dining,” said Scott A. Dahnke, Co-Managing Partner of Catterton Partners. “PIADA is the leading player in the Italian fast-casual space and fits squarely within our investment strategy of finding top companies in great categories. We have a long history of partnering with exceptionally well positioned restaurant concepts such as Noodles & Company, Mendocino Farms, P.F. Chang’s, Baja Fresh, Bloomin’ Brands, Primanti Brothers, Cheddar’s, and First Watch, and believe that our extensive experience makes Catterton the ideal partner for PIADA.”

“With its upscale ingredients, customizable offerings and fast, convenient style of service, all at an attractive price point, PIADA is primed for growth,” said Jon Owsley, a Partner at Catterton. “We look forward to leveraging our expertise and working with Chris and his management team to expand the brand.”

PIADA, a Columbus-based fast-casual, authentic Italian eatery, serves made to order Piadas (an Italian thin crust dough, baked on a stone grill, then hand rolled with fresh authentic ingredients), Pasta Bowls and Chopped Salads. The company was founded by Chris Doody, who co-founded the BRAVO BRIO Restaurant Group in 1992. PIADA uses only the highest quality ingredients, from a blend of natural and organic flour, to extra virgin olive oil for the Piadas, to made from scratch sauces, pestos, and dressings. PIADA restaurants feature a modern Italian design with white Carrara marble, fumed white oak furniture, LED lighting and stained concrete floors. PIADA (www.mypiada.com) was born from the belief that everyone is entitled to experience fresh, authentic Italian food in a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Catterton Partners recently closed its seventh buyout fund, Catterton Partners VII, L.P., as well as its second growth fund, Catterton Growth Partners II, L.P. With the closing of these two funds, which include a combined $2.1 billion of Limited and General Partner commitments, Catterton now has over $4.0 billion under active management focused on growing well-positioned consumer companies.

PIADA was advised in its exclusive discussions with Catterton by Piper Jaffray & Co. and legal counsel Kegler, Brown, Hill & Ritter Co. L.P.A. Catterton was represented by Finn Dixon & Herling LLP.

About Catterton Partners
Catterton Partners is the leading consumer-focused private equity firm with more than $4.0 billion currently under management and a twenty-four year track record of success in building high growth companies. Since its founding in 1989, Catterton has leveraged its category insight, strategic and operating skills, and network of industry contacts to establish one of the strongest private equity investment track records in the middle market. Catterton Partners invests in all major consumer segments, including Food and Beverage, Retail and Restaurants, Consumer Products and Services, Consumer Health, and Media and Marketing Services. Catterton’s investments include: Restoration Hardware, Outback Steakhouse, Edible Arrangements, Sweet Leaf Tea, Noodles & Company, Frederic Fekkai, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Wellness and Nature’s Variety pet food, Kettle Foods, Odwalla and P.F. Chang’s, to name a few. More information about Catterton Partners can be found at http://www.cpequity.com.