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Parasole Founders Strike Deal with FS Funds

Pete Mihajlov, left, and Phil Roberts toast their Lifetime Achievement Award from the Charlies.

Joe Harewicz

Football players go to Disneyland after winning the Super Bowl and, apparently, recipients of the Charlie Awards’ Lifetime Achievement sell their company.

Parasole Restaurant Holdings, a multi-unit, multi-concept company with iconic restaurants such as Manny’s Steakhouse, Chino Latino and Salut Bar Americain, have entered into a purchase agreement with FS Funds, a Minneapolis-based private equity group that currently owns four Original Pancake Houses and Snip-its, a kids' haircut franchise.

Details of the sale were not released.



Partners Peter Mihajlov and Kevin Kuester  will retire, while Phil Roberts will remain in his role as CEO.

Roberts said he was excited about the sale. “I’m at an age and our company is complicated and (it would be) hard to unwind it,” he said. “It took us over a year to do it. And this is the best way.”

Mihajlov is already enjoying retirement, Roberts said. “He’s on his way to Vietnam right now.” And while this might not be the best time to visit Asia, he added, the trip was on Mahajlov’s bucket list.

For his part, Roberts said he wouldn’t know how to do retirement. “I don’t play golf and after I’ve read the newspaper and watched my allotment of TV, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself,” he quipped. But the real reason he’s not resting on his laurels: “I love what I’m doing and I love the people I work with.” He’ll continue writing his beloved blog, WTF (Wine Travel and Food) and being the creative force behind the restaurants.

In a release the company sent out Roberts said that “our alliance with FS Funds offers Parasole the opportunity to continue to grow our brands and for Parasole to remain a Minnesota icon and restaurant industry leader for decades to come.” 

In addition to the current restaurant brands, which also include Pittsburgh Blue, Good Earth, Burger Jones and Field Day, the Roberts/Mihajlov partnership started with the charming Muffuletta on Como Avenue in St. Paul. Other concepts have been Figlio in Uptown, which morphed into II Gatto, which proved to have only one short life.

Two concepts that were spun off into successful national brands include Oceanaire and Buca di Beppo.

“These are good people,” Roberts says of FS Funds. “They’re hands-off—not operators—so we’re keeping the band together.”

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