Hickory Tavern Announces Investment from Rosser Capital Partners

Hickory Tavern Announces Investment from Rosser Capital Partners

January 6, 2014

Charlotte, NC – Hickory Tavern (the “Company”) today announced that Rosser Capital Partners, a private investment firm focused on investing in restaurant, consumer, and retail companies, has made a significant investment in the Company. CEO and co-founder Brad Smith and co-founder Tom Hager will continue to lead the existing management team and will retain a substantial ownership stake in the company going forward. In partnership with Rosser Capital Partners, management expects to continue to grow the Hickory Tavern brand into one of the nation’s leading upscale casual dining restaurant companies.

Founded in 1997 and headquartered in Charlotte, NC, Hickory Tavern is a leading operator of sports-themed, upscale casual dining restaurants with 16 locations across the Carolinas. New restaurants are scheduled to open shortly in Chapel Hill, NC, Columbia, SC, Tuscaloosa, AL, and Birmingham, AL. The Company has received numerous accolades and awards and was named “Runner-up for ESPN’s Best Sports Bar in North America”.

“At Hickory Tavern, we’ve always focused on supporting and developing our people, which allows us to provide a high-quality dining and service experience to our guests,” said CEO Brad Smith. “We are excited to have found a partner that shares our passion for hospitality and can support our continued expansion. Rosser Capital Partners’ has extensive experience growing national restaurants brands, which we believe will be invaluable as we look toward the future.”

Seeking to provide a comfortable dining and social atmosphere for multiple occasions, Hickory Tavern offers customers a high-quality menu of casual American fare. Each Hickory Tavern location has over 40 flat-screen high-definition televisions and a state-of-the-art audio system. The Company also offers consumers a robust beer and liquor selection in a lively and energetic bar setting.

“Hickory Tavern is a unique restaurant company that has all of the key attributes we look for – outstanding leadership, a strong culture, great food and service, and attractive positioning for future development,” said Jacob Organek, Managing Director at Rosser Capital Partners. “We look forward to our partnership with Brad, Tom, and their team.”

Hickory Tavern was advised by Arlington Capital Advisors, and its legal counsel was Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP. Rosser Capital Partners was represented by Drinker Biddle & Reath, LLP. RBS Citizens NA provided financing as part of the transaction.

About Hickory Tavern

Founded in 1997, the Hickory Tavern network has grown to include restaurants in 16 communities throughout North and South Carolina. Hickory Tavern’s unique brand of casual dining, lively bar atmosphere, and sports enthusiasm provides the perfect destination no matter what the time of day.

About Rosser Capital Partners

Rosser Capital Partners is a lower middle-market investment firm with a focus on investing in restaurant, consumer, and retail companies that demonstrate significant growth potential and can benefit from strategic and operational enhancements. The firm seeks to partner with strong management teams who have demonstrated the skills, commitment, and discipline to create shareholder value over time. Rosser Capital Partners supports its management teams by providing access to a wide network of strategic industry contacts, active lending institutions, consultants, and additional management and operational resources. Over the last 25 years, the principals of Rosser Capital Partners have completed 24 transactions, including 18 in the restaurant industry. Rosser Capital Partners is headquartered in Greenwich, CT, and can be reached via email at

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