TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - eegee’s, a Tucson institution, has been sold to a national investment firm and that has some loyal customers concerned things may change.
eegee’s opened for business in 1971 and has developed what some call “cult like” status among many of its customers.
Lynne Gomez has been dining at eegee’s for 35 years.
“I hope they don’t change anything, just keep it as wonderful as it is,” she said. “This is an institution in Tucson.”
Tucson has voted that eegee’s has the best fries in town along with it’s homemade ranch dressing.
“The ranch dressing is the bomb,” Gomez said. “I get the fries just so I can scoop up the dressing.”
John Clark has been eating at eegee’s since it opened and is hoping the new owners see the value of keeping the customers happy.
“I hope they don’t change the menu or the service or the food,” he said.
But the present management says there will be no changes.
“The thing we don’t want to do is make any changes that upsets the relationship eegee’s has with its customer base,” said Ron Petty, company CEO. “No fries, no ranch, no eegee’s are changing, it stays the same.”
According to BusinessWire, 39 North Capital bought the eegee’s chain. Terms of the deal, which was announced Wednesday, Oct. 10, were not been disclosed.
39 North Capital said it plans to remodel existing restaurants, add new locations and bring eegee’s into the digital age.
“We will be able to grow Tucson and build out the Tucson market,” Petty said. “Once we do that we’ll be looking at other markets and the logical one is Phoenix.”
Petty believes Tucson can handle another six to eight stores. The company just remodeled the interior of all 24 of its stores and will do the same to the exteriors. Some eegee’s stores will be move to a better location.
“The partnership with 39 North Capital is extremely exciting for eegee’s and our loyal employees. 39 North’s investment will enable us to supercharge our growth, expand our footprint, remodel the restaurant exteriors and invest in new technology. Just as important, 39 North will continue the family-owned and-operated tradition on which eegee’s was founded," eegee’s CEO C. Ron Petty said in a news release.
39 North Capital said eegee’s rabid fan base was a major factor in the decision to buy the chain.
“eegee’s has established itself as a restaurant leader in the Tucson community and has built a loyal customer base of true brand enthusiasts,” Jacob Roffman, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of 39 North, said in a news release.
Kitchen Fund, a major investor in emerging restaurant brands, was part of the purchase.
“We look at restaurant brands across the country and rarely have we seen a brand that has built such an authentic and longstanding relationship with its guests,” said Greg Golkin, Managing Partner of Kitchen Fund. “We have known the 39 North team for a while and have long admired their patient investment approach. We are thrilled to work on this opportunity with them.”
This is the second time in 12 years the restaurant chain has been sold.
In 2006, CEO Foods purchased the chain from original owners Ed Irving and Bob Greenberg. eegee’s was founded in 1971.