Employees of Romano’s Macaroni Grill casual Italian restaurant in Valencia Marketplace on The Old Road in Stevenson Ranch came to work this morning to find that the restaurant has been closed.
Employees were notified by email Monday night of an employee meeting at 9:00 a.m. this morning, according to the relative of an employee who asked not to be identified.
Three rental trucks loaded furniture from the restaurant late this morning. An executive who said he was the company’s COO but declined to give his name directed questions to Holly Wagstaff, the company’s vice president of marketing.
A call to Wagstaff at the company’s Denver headquarters was not returned by press time.
This morning at 11:30 a.m., the company’s online store locator included the SCV store. A call to the store at the time led to a recording saying that the store was not accepting online orders.
By 2:30 this afternoon, the location, the chain’s only outlet in the Santa Clarita Valley, was no longer on the corporate website. An attempt to order by phone redirected the call to the chain’s nearest restaurant that’s still open, on Plummer St. in Northridge.
Phil Romano opened the first Macaroni Grill in San Antonio in 1988, with a menu based on Italian country cuisine served in his grandmother’s kitchen. At its peak, it had more than 230 locations.
The company has had at least four owners since 1989.
In 2013, Ignite Restaurant Group Inc., owners of Joe’s Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern + Tap, bought Macaroni Grill for $55 million, according to Nation’s Restaurant News, an industry publication.
Two years later, the Denver Business Journal reported that Ignite sold the chain for $8 million, to an investment group that included Redrock Partners, LLC, and Dick Monfort, majority owner of the Colorado Rockies Major League Baseball team.
Monfort previously was president & CEO of Monfort Meats, president of the protein divisions of ConAgra Foods, Inc. and owner of the Hyatt Regency-Palm Desert in Indian Wells.
At the time of the Redrock purchase, Macaroni Grill had revenue of about $300 million at 146 company-owned locations in 33 states, a 2015 company statement said. Franchisees owned another 25 locations in the United States and eight other countries.
As of late this afternoon, the company’s website listed 125 restaurants in 28 states and the District of Columbia.
In addition to the Northridge restaurant, other remaining Southern California locations are in Cerritos, Puente Hills, and Simi Valley.