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PE-backed Real Mex hires CFO

Real Mex, a portfolio company of both Z Capital Partners and Tennenbaum Capital Partners, has named Laurie Lawhorne as chief financial officer. The appointment is effective immediately. Previously, Lawhorne worked at Captain D’s and Grandy’s where she served as senior vice president, CFO and treasurer. Headquartered in Cypress, California, Real Mex is a Mexican restaurant chain.


CYPRESS, Calif., Aug. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Real Mex Restaurants (“Real Mex” or the “Company”), the largest full service, casual dining Mexican restaurant chain in the United States, today announced that Laurie Lawhorne has been appointed Chief Financial Officer, effective immediately.

Ms. Lawhorne is a Certified Public Accountant who joins Real Mex with more than 20 years of financial leadership experience. A veteran of the restaurant industry, Laurie previously held positions at Yum! Brands, Inc. and Hudson Advisors, LLC, and most recently served as Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of restaurant chains Captain D’s LLC and Grandy’s LLC.

“We are excited to build out our executive team through the addition of Laurie,” said James J. Zenni, Chairman of Real Mex and President and Chief Executive Officer of Z Capital Partners. “Her extensive experience working with leading restaurant chains perfectly positions Laurie to oversee Real Mex’s finances as we elevate Real Mex to new heights. We look forward to Laurie’s many contributions as Real Mex continues to execute on our transformational strategy and implement growth initiatives to accelerate the expansion and development of Real Mex’s brands, drive profitability and enhance customer relationships.”

Ms. Lawhorne commented, “I am excited to join Real Mex at this exciting point in the Company’s growth. Real Mex is well positioned in the market and I look forward to contributing to the ongoing execution of its strategic plan. I have confidence in Real Mex’s ability to continue further developing the innovative concepts for its iconic brands that resonate with customers. I am pleased and honored to be a part of the Real Mex team and am eager to contribute to the Company’s growth and success.”

Real Mex is a portfolio company of Z Capital Partners, L.L.C. and Tennenbaum Capital Partners.

About Laurie Lawhorne
Laurie Lawhorne is a proven business executive and an industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience. Prior to joining Real Mex, Ms. Lawhorne served as Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer for Captain D’s LLC and Grandy’s LLC, two restaurant chains which combined own, operate and franchise over 560 restaurants.. From 2009 to 2011 Ms. Lawhorne worked at Hudson Advisors, LLC, a full-service asset management company, where she held the titles of VP of Capital and Corporate Planning as well as VP of Asset Management, focusing mainly on restaurant investments. From 1992 to 2009 she held a number of roles at Yum! Brands, Inc, including Director of Field Finance at Pizza Hut, Director of Financial Planning and Analysis at Yum! Restaurants International and Manager of Tax at Taco Bell. Ms. Lawhorne started her career in 1987 as a tax specialist with the public accounting firm KPMG . She is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Texas A&M University.

About Real Mex
Headquartered in Cypress, California, Real Mex Restaurants is the largest full-service, casual dining Mexican restaurant chain operator in the United States with 115 company owned and operated restaurants, as well as 13 franchised restaurants. Our brands include El Torito Restaurants, Acapulco Mexican Restaurants, Chevys Fresh Mex® Restaurants, El Torito Grill Restaurants, Las Brisas Restaurant in Laguna Beach, Sinigual Restaurant in New York City, Who Song and Larry’s in Vancouver, WA, and El Paso Cantina in Torrance, CA.

About Z Capital Partners
Z Capital Partners, L.L.C. (“Z Capital”) is a leading private equity firm with approximately $1.7 billion of regulatory assets and committed capital under management and with offices in Lake Forest, IL and New York, NY. Z Capital pursues an opportunistic, value-oriented approach in private equity that includes making control investments in middle-market companies that may require growth capital, turnaround, restructuring or other special situations.
Z Capital portfolio companies currently have aggregate worldwide annual revenues of approximately $1.5 billion, sell products in over 30 countries, and have in excess of 190,000 associates directly and through joint ventures.

About Tennenbaum Capital Partners, LLC
Tennenbaum Capital Partners, LLC (“TCP”) is a Los Angeles-based alternative investment management firm focused on performing credit and special situations for middle-market companies. TCP manages a publicly-traded business development company, TCP Capital Corp. (NASDAQ: TCPC), as well as other funds and accounts. Since its founding, TCP has invested more than $12 billion in over 300 companies. For more information, please visit: and