Bye-Bye, Rib Eye

Publicly traded steakhouses are becoming an endangered species.

Duffy's Sports Grill announced that it was buying troubled Roadhouse Grill (OTC BB: GRLL.PK) in a $29 million deal last night.

The 57-unit casual steakhouse chain was on the brink of disappearing before the offer to take the company private came to save the day. Its shares were trading for less than a dime apiece.

So let's call this a small and somewhat insignificant chapter in the very long book of recent chophouse buyouts.

Roadhouse Grill never lived up to the potential of its more notable peers. It once had as many as 85 locations, but spotty profitability kept investors away. The company itself never regained its initial swagger after emerging from bankruptcy five years ago.

The recent moves to go private won't leave us with too many publicly traded steakhouses. We still have Ruth's Chris (Nasdaq: RUTH  ) and Morton's of Chicago (NYSE: MRT  ) on the high end, but the casual-dining end where many of these deals are taking place is drying up. There used to be nearly a dozen chains trading, and now we're down to a few remaining holdouts like Texas Roadhouse (Nasdaq: TXRH  ) and LongHorn Steakhouse parent RARE Hospitality (Nasdaq: RARE  ) .

Will the last publicly traded steakhouse please turn off the grill on the way out?

Outback Steakhouse parent OSI Restaurant Partners is an Inside Value recommendation.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is always on the lookout for a good steakhouse and thankfully has plenty to choose from in Miami. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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