Orange County Business Journal

Yard House Founder Joins Tequila Company Board

Kari Hamanaka Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Steele Platt, the founder of Irvine-based Yard House USA Inc., has joined the board of directors of a local tequila company.

Irvine-based Agave Underground said Platt will provide "guidance, valuable input and new strategies" as the company looks to grow the brand nationally.

Platt founded Yard House in 1996 and grew it from a single restaurant in Long Beach, known for its classic rock music theme and wide beer selection, to more than 40 locations in 15 states.

The company attracted the attention of San Francisco private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners LLC, which bought a 70% stake in the chain in 2007. TSG sold Yard House to Florida multi-chain restaurant operator Darden Restaurants Inc. for $585 million last year.

Darden also owns the Red Lobster, Olive Garden and Capital Grille chains among others.