Could Buona Beef be the next Portillo's?

Jan 14, 2015 1359

Turns out investors aren't just hungry for hot dogs. Some have a taste for Italian beef.

Last spring, before a private-equity group paid an estimated $1 billion for Chicago-based Portillo's Restaurant Group, Joe Buonavolanto Jr. says investors began cold-calling his company, Berwyn-based Buona, purveyor of Buona Italian beef.

"People were inquiring to see if we were interested in selling or joint-venturing to purchase Portillo's," says Buonavolanto, president of the family-owned restaurant chain.

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