Orange County Business Journal

Darden Expects to Keep Yard House HQ in Irvine

Kari Hamanaka Monday, July 16, 2012

The buyer of Irvine-based Yard House USA Inc. said it expects to keep the chain’s headquarters in Irvine, and plans to grow it from 150 to 200 restaurants nationally.

Yard House, which is known for its classic rock theme and large selection of craft and specialty beers, currently totals 39 restaurants in 13 states.

Orlando, Fla.-based Darden Restaurants Inc., which operates chains such as Olive Garden and Red Lobster, announced its purchase of Yard House for $585 million in cash last week. Darden acquired Yard House from San Francisco private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners LLC, which bought a 70% stake in the chain in 2007.

The deal is expected to close in the November quarter.

Yard House was one of the few restaurant chains that fared well during the downturn.

The company opened 14 restaurants between 2009 and 2011.

Yard House had sales of $262 million last year, up 23% from a year earlier.