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Maui Tacos sold to franchisor


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POSTED: Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hawaii's eight Maui Taco restaurants have been sold to New York-based Maui Tacos International Inc., the company that has been franchising the Hawaii-born surf-shack taco concept on the mainland.

The purchase price was not disclosed and the deal is expected to close next month.

The eateries were owned by Mark and Judy Ellman or by Mark Ellman and Shep Gordon.

The 84 employees of the company will be offered continued employment, “;and I think 99 percent will remain,”; Mark Ellman said yesterday.

The Hawaii restaurants were sold because Maui Tacos International Chairman Jeff Endervelt “;wants to grow and he sees a great opportunity for growth in Hawaii, especially on Oahu,”; Ellman said.

With the Hawaii Maui Tacos, the fine-dining Mala Ocean Tavern and Mala Wailea as well as Penne Pasta Cafe on Maui, “;I'm being pushed and pulled and stretched,”; Ellman said.

The economy “;has affected us immensely. ... I'm very sad because I've had people that have been with me for 16 years.”;

Ellman is still “;a tiny partner in the franchise company”; and has been contracted to stay on as a consultant for five years.

There were nine Maui Tacos in Hawaii, but the Mililani location closed at the end of March.

Its lease was up and “;A&B wanted to raise our lease rent,”; Ellman said.

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On the Net:

» www.mauitacos.com

» malaocean-tavern.com