Garden Fresh Restaurants, which operates 97 buffet-style restaurants under the brands Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Garden Fresh is majority owned by Perpetual Capital Partners, whose executive chairman is Robert Allbritton, probably better known in these parts less for delicious, healthy buffet fare than for his ownership of Arlington-based reporting powerhouse Politico.
Allbritton hopped into Politico’s Slack Thursday night to reassure Politico employees they shouldn’t worry about connecting these particular dots:
Good evening all, hope everyone is hanging in there. Before it becomes public, I want to share that Garden Fresh, a restaurant company in the Perpetual Capital portfolio, will file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. I’m the majority owner, with a well-known restaurant team as minority owners. We explored all options and tried like hell to save it, but ultimately couldn’t meet the requirements to qualify for aid. I felt it important that you to hear it from me directly, because it’s important to understand that this has no impact whatsoever on you or POLITICO.
As I said on our recent newsroom Zoom, we continue to be optimistic despite this incredibly challenging environment. We continue to develop new products, bring in new clients and business, and so far have managed to avoid the advertising crater that some others have experienced. This is because of the incredible work that all of you are doing under the most difficult and stressful of circumstances. Our mission to provide groundbreaking, non-partisan, and fact-based journalism and intelligence has never been more important—or, frankly, more valuable. I am so appreciative of your efforts. Keep it up.
Perpetual Capital Partners is the Allbritton family’s private-equity vehicle, which it founded after selling its television stations, including WJLA, to Sinclair Broadcast Group in 2013. It acquired Garden Fresh in 2017.