Marie Callender Parent Buys East Side Mario's Chain

Wilshire Restaurant Group, owner of the Marie Callender restaurant chain, has purchased East Side Mario's Restaurants from PepsiCo Inc. for an undisclosed price, the company said Wednesday.

East Side Mario's, with 89 company-owned and franchise locations in the Southeastern and Western states and Canada, is one of several chains that PepsiCo is divesting as it focuses on its core soft drink and Frito-Lay snack businesses. PepsiCo also plans to sell its Chevy's, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC chains.

Administrative services that PepsiCo had provided from a Wichita, Kan.-based facility will now be provided by Marie Callender at its headquarters in Orange. Spokesmen for the different companies did not return phone calls, so it was uncertain whether the acquisition would generate additional jobs in Orange.

Marie Callender, which opened its first location 47 years ago in Long Beach, now operates about 150 restaurants. The chain began as a family-operated business featuring recipes created by namesake Marie Callender, who died in February 1996.

Wilshire Restaurant Group's major shareholder is Saunders Karp & Megrue LP, a New York-based investment banking firm.

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