MarketPlace Grill in Springdale, Conway sold to Texas group

by Paul Gatling (pgatling@nwabj.com) 3,131 views 

Springdale-based MarketPlace Grill, a locally-owned casual dining restaurant which has two Arkansas locations in Springdale and Conway, has merged with a restaurant group from Texas.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition was announced Sunday (Dec. 16) by Springdale-based Confidential Business Intermediaries (CBI), a business brokerage that served as the advisor for the transaction.

The new owner of MarketPlace Grill is Clean Plate Restaurants Inc. of Galveston, Texas, according to CBI Chairman Carl E. Grimes and Northwest Arkansas Managing Partner Jon Holbert.

“We’re pleased and honored to have served as Confidential Business Intermediaries to Mr. Godwin and his family on the sale of Marketplace Grill,” Grimes said.

Clean Plate Restaurants acquires and manages a portfolio of independent and small chain restaurants. According to its website, the company bought its first restaurant in September 2013. The company now has 15 restaurants in seven states.

Dave Godwin, the managing partner of holding company Restaurant Management Group, opened MarketPlace Grill in Springdale, its flagship store, in 1995. The Conway location opened in 1999. At one time, Restaurant Management Group operated five restaurants, including a MarketPlace Express concept.

A Little Rock store closed in late 2016 after being open for less than two years. In January, MarketPlace Express closed in the Northwest Arkansas Mall food court, where it had a presence since 1997. A Fort Smith store closed in 2014 after nearly 20 years.

“We see this as a great move forward to preserve the brand that we’ve built for the past 23 years,” Godwin said. “Their [Clean Plate] whole mission is to preserve local brands. We saw that as an opportunity to push MarketPlace Grill to the next generation of customers.”

Godwin said he and operations partner Dave Strong will retain an undisclosed equity stake in Clean Plate. Godwin will be stepping down as a result of the merger, but Strong will continue as director of operations for MarketPlace Grill.

Local management will stay the same for both restaurants. MarketPlace Grill has about 150 employees between its Springdale and Conway locations.

“We are excited to be involved with [Clean Plate] and we are hopeful for the future as far as where they’re going,” Godwin said.

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