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Hai Hospitality partners with KSL Capital

An affiliate of KSL Capital Partners has made a substantial investment in the restaurant Group Hai Hospitality. The investment will enable the group to accelerate the growth and expansion of its restaurant brands. The Hai Hospitality leadership team, including Founding Chef and Partner Tyson Cole, will remain at the helm. Financial terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

“We opened Uchi Austin in 2003 with a unique and modern approach to Japanese food,” says Cole. “It’s amazing to see our evolution and the growth of a culture and team so dedicated to offering incredible experiences for our guests every day. I’m excited for KSL’s investment and to continue bringing the magic of Hai’s concepts to new markets across the US.”
The team at KSL have been long-time admirers of the Hai team and culture and its restaurant concepts. “Hai’s extreme attentiveness to the guest experience, exacting attention to culinary and design detail, as well as their focus on people, culture, and community is unmatched in the industry,” sdays Chris Chang, Principal at KSL Capital Partners.
Hai’s first restaurant Uchi, which opened in 2003, quickly earned recognition with Cole’s selection as one of Food & Wine Magazine’s “Best Chefs” in 2005. Chef Cole’s signature, non-traditional take on Japanese food and the rising popularity of Uchi and sister restaurant, Uchiko, continued to receive accolades, with a designation by Bon Appetit as one of the “20 Most Important Restaurants in America,” and the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef Southwest Award” in 2011.
Since the opening of the first location in Austin, five additional Uchi-branded restaurants have opened: Uchiko Austin (2010), Uchi Houston (2012), Uchi Dallas (2015), Uchiba Dallas (2016), and Uchi Denver (2018).
Hai also launched LORO Asian Smokehouse & Bar in 2018, in partnership with Aaron Franklin, a James Beard Award-winning chef and the founder of Franklin Barbecue.  Loro is a relaxed, counter-style restaurant combining techniques from Texas barbecue and bold flavors from Southeast Asia to create a unique dining experience that consistently delights a huge base of enthusiastic fans.
“We couldn’t imagine a better partner than KSL for growing our restaurant brands and continuing to foster Hai Hospitality’s culture,” says Hai Chief Executive Officer Tony Montero. “Hai’s mission to continue elevating the guest experience through innovative food, exceptional service, and thoughtful design aligns perfectly with KSL’s long history of building differentiated, experiential hospitality brands that are committed to people and community impact.”
“We feel privileged to partner with a team with such a strong operational foundation and look forward to helping grow Uchi and Loro in new and existing markets,” says John Ege, Partner at KSL Capital Partners.

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