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Ruth’s Chris Coming to Greenville

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Ruth’s Chris restaurant to open at Crowne Plaza hotel in Greenville

March 31, 2008

By Rudolph Bell

A Georgia restaurant company plans to open the first Ruth’s Chris high-end steakhouse in Greenville at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in October, one of the company’s partners said today.

Georgia Sizzling Inc. owns three Ruth’s Chris restaurants in Atlanta and one each in Birmingham, Ala.; Huntsville, Ala.; and Columbia. The Atlanta company bought the rights to bring Ruth’s Chris to Greenville more than two years ago.

“We are so looking forward to being there, and I can’t wait to get open,” said Nancy Oswald, one of four partners in Georgia Sizzling.

Oswald said her company would also provide breakfast, lunch and catering and banquet services at the hotel, though not through the Ruth’s Chris restaurant, which will serve dinner only. The steakhouse should have about 225 seats and hopefully will open sometime in October, she said.

Oswald said the Crowne Plaza location near the intersection of Roper Mountain and Woodruff roads presented the right opportunity at the right time. The new owners of the 206-room hotel are currently renovating the 22-year-old property.

“We think it’s really going to be a premier property in the Greenville area,” Oswald said.

Raj Champaneri of Columbia, one of four partners who bought the Crowne Plaza last summer, said Georgia Sizzling will bring the high standards of the Ruth’s Chris chain to the hotel’s banquets and catering,and that promises to make it “the prime destination in town for corporate events.”

“It’s definitely going to take the hotel to the next level,” Champaneri said.

Champaneri said he and partners are spending between $6 million and $7 million renovating the hotel. He said most of the exterior work has been done and the interior work should be complete in late 2009. The renovation includes a new, contemporary look for the guestrooms, with flat-screen televisions, upscale bedding and new bathrooms, he said.

Rick Patel, another of the hotel’s owners, said it “just needed some TLC. No one ever gave it money and love.”

Champaneri said he and partners together own 26 hotels, including a Homewood Suites and full-service Holiday Inn in Columbia and a Fairfield Inn and Hampton Inn in Orangeburg.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House Inc., based in Heathrow, Fla., operates 119 restaurants. The company’s shares are publicly traded on the Nasdaq exchange under the symbol RUTH.

The Greenville restaurant will be the chain’s third in South Carolina. A Ruth’s Chris just opened in Myrtle Beach, Oswald said.

http://www.greenvilleonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080331/BUSINESS/80331055/1003
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