Joe’s Crab Shack has changed hands numerous times over the years. The restaurant chain, which was established in 1991 in Houston, Texas, was purchased by Landry’s Restaurants Inc. in 1994. In late 2006, the restaurant was acquired by J.H. Whitney & Company. At the time, J.H. Whitney & Company was operating as JCS Holdings LLC, which officially changed its name to Ignite Restaurant Group in April 2009. Now, Joe’s Crab Shack will change hands once again.
On June 6, 2017, Ignite Restaurant Group filed for bankruptcy protection. Since then, Ignite has closed numerous Joe’s Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern restaurants with little to no warning. At the time of the bankruptcy filing, Ignite Restaurant Group claimed that all restaurants would remain open. They’ve recently changed that strategy.
The Joe’s Crab Shack restaurant located near Disney World in Orlando, Florida has been closed. Restaurants in Fort Worth, Texas, Niles, Illinois, and Henderson, Nevada have also been closed. New York and New Jersey are also home to store closings. It has also been announced that Joe’s Crab Shack has found a new, but familiar, home.
Its previous owner, Landry’s Restaurants, has won the assets of Ignite Restaurant Group in a bankruptcy auction. The CEO and President of Landry’s is Tilman J. Fertitta. Fertitta’s Landry’s group offered $57 million for both restaurant chains. The bid slightly topped the next highest bidder, which put down a bid of $56.9 million.
At this point in time, Landry’s owns and operates various restaurants, including T-Rex Café, River Crab, Morton’s The Steakhouse, Meriwether’s, and the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. The company also operates hotels and casinos. Before Landry’s and Fertitta will be able to operate Joe’s Crab Shack once again, the sale will need approval from the court. During the lead up to the bankruptcy auction, Fertitta and Ignite engaged in a war of words.
At one point, Fertitta suggested the day he sold Joe’s was “one of the happiest days of my life”. It appears his words should be taken with a grain of salt.