After bankruptcy filing, Z’Tejas restaurants getting new owners

Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month, is getting new owners.

The restaurant chain is being acquired by Cornbread Ventures, a newly formed group that consists of the general partners of the Austin-based Iron Cactus restaurant chain and the Stone Group, an Austin-based commercial real estate investment company.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not revealed.

“We’re super excited,” Iron Cactus general partner Gary Manley told the American-Statesman. “We love the brand. It has great recognition. It’s an Austin institution.”

Founded in Austin in 1989, Z’Tejas is now based in Scottsdale, Ariz. Cornbread Ventures will keep the current Z’Tejas management team, Manley said, and will allow executives to continue living and working in Arizona.

The chain has nine locations, but the sole Z’Tejas in California – in Costa Mesa – will close this year, Manley said. There are three locations in Central Texas: 10525 W. Parmer Lane in Avery Ranch; 9400-A Arboretum Blvd. in the Arboretum area; and 1110 W. Sixth St. near downtown Austin.

No major changes – to staffing, to the menu and to other Z’Tejas trademarks – are planned, Manley said.

Iron Cactus got its start in downtown Austin in 1996. It also has three locations in Central Texas: 10001 Stonelake Blvd. near the Arboretum, 13420 Galleria Blvd. in the Hill Country Galleria in Bee Cave and 606 Trinity St. in downtown Austin.

In court documents related to the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, Z’Tejas listed a number of outstanding debts, including rents for some locations. Creditors included city of Austin utilities, U.S. Foodservice, Brothers Produce of Austin and Farmers Insurance Group.

Manley said the Z’Tejas bankruptcy proceedings are expected to wrap up in September.

In a written statement shortly after the filing became public, Z’Tejas president and CEO Steve Micheletti said, in part, “Z’Tejas filed for bankruptcy to restructure its long-term debt and other financial obligations. It was an extremely difficult decision, but it was the best way to preserve our brand so that we can continue to serve great food and beverages. A successful restructuring also will allow us to preserve the jobs of our team members, maintain our vendor relationships and maximize value for our stakeholders.”

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