Shares of restaurant and entertainment chain Dave & Buster's (NYSE:DAB) rose nearly 5% in yesterday's trading following the announcement that the company would buy most of bankrupt competitor Jillian's key operating assets -- in short, nine "complexes," as well as the associated brands and staff -- for $27 million in cash.

For Dave & Buster's investors, this kind of good news represents vindication of sorts: The company and its shares have come roaring back from a 52-week low, and now stand over a vanquished challenger to boot. "Themed casual dining isn't dead," wrote Rick Aristotle Munarriz in September. Since then, the company's stock has been on a tear: It's up some 90%, well ahead of the Standard & Poor's 500, over the last nine months or so.

The reasons for this are easy to see. An economy that favors value-priced recreational alternatives -- especially for young adults, who can sometimes have expensive tastes -- has been good to the company. In early April, Dave & Buster's reported fiscal 2004 (ended Feb. 1) financial results that included better margins and huge jumps in operating and net income over 2003 levels. Meanwhile, the company finished the fiscal year with more cash and less long-term debt than it had the year before.

And now it's putting what amounts to the kibosh on a wannabe that won't. At $35 million for nine locations (add $8 million to the $27 million to account for planned improvements at the Jillian's spots) that have already been sited, built, staffed, and tested, it looks like the company has picked up a pretty good deal. To add nine new locations using standard operating procedures might have cost the company twice that.

Put simply, things are looking pretty good for a company that was looking to go private not too long ago. Investors who've been around since 2000 are glad it didn't.

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Fool contributor Dave Marino-Nachison doesn't own Dave & Buster's stock.