Multimillion Dollar Lawsuit Precedes Snuffer's Takeover

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Last week Pat Snuffer announced Snuffer's Restaurants Inc., responsible for a number of Snuffer's restaurant locations around the DFW area, had ceased operations, and a new restaurant called Pat's Burger & Cheddar Fries would be opening on Greenville Avenue. Snuffers had been providing Dallasites artery clogging fries in a casual setting for the better part of 35 years. His bacon and cheese-topped empire was all coming to an end, or so it seemed.

A second announcement from Mike Karns landed just moments later. The Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas found that his Firebird Restaurant Group should take over operations of all six Snuffer's Restaurant & Bar locations. "It is Firebird's desire to protect the Snuffer's brand and ensure that it not only survives, but thrives," Karns said.

Earlier this year Pat Snuffer announced he had filed for bankruptcy, noting that the Greenville Avenue and a Plano location were not part of the proceedings. Shortly after the bankruptcy announcement, Karns stepped up to purchase Snuffer's debt, which totaled nearly $3,000,000, from a number of debtors including Texans Credit Union. Karns said that he saw the move as a worthwhile investment and that his Firebird Restaurant Group expertise gave him a unique and knowledgeable perspective as a lender. But he wasn't planning on staying a lender long.

This September, FRG Copenhagen, a company for which Karns is listed as a principle, filed a multimillion dollar lawsuit against Snuffer's Restaurants. At first it looked a lot like a lawsuit the Observer covered in 2011. Hanna Raskin reported that Bassham Wholesale Egg Co. had filed a suit against Snuffers for $700,000 in unpaid debt. While that may seem like an aggressive maneuver, Ronnie Bassham and Snuffer seemed amicable about the litigation. "We do this with all our customers," Bassham said. "It's no big deal."

Karns' lawsuit apparently was a big deal. While Pat Snuffer maintains control of his Greenville Avenue location under the new name, the remaining Snuffer's restaurants are now a part of the Firebird restaurant empire.

Snuffer seems resigned to his losses, confirming today that the Plano location held out from the bankruptcy proceedings has been "jettisoned" as well. Now he's got just one restaurant to focus on, and he seems excited moving forward. Snuffer says the new Pat's Burger & Cheddar Fries should be open in mid-December so long as he doesn't have any more big and unexpected setbacks. His newly finished hardwood floors haven't cured in days because of the recent rainfall, for instance.

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