Nick Varano has sold several of his restaurants, including Strega Prime in Woburn, to the Dublin-based investment group Danu, which operates the Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group. According to the Boston Globe, Danu is looking to grow its restaurant operations, and purchased Strega Waterfront in the Seaport, Strip by Strega in the Park Plaza Hotel, Strega Prime in Woburn, and the five Caffe Strega coffee bars in Boston, along with a related catering business.
“The Strega brand was built by my passion and determination to add to Boston’s outstanding culinary scene over the past 17 years,” said Nick Varano, founder of The Varano Group. “To have this opportunity to pass on the Strega experience to a company like Danu Partners is an incredible opportunity. This will be a new day for The Varano Group and I look forward to the continued success of everyone involved.”
The glitzy Woburn steakhouse is a must-dine destination on the North Shore, as much for the food as for the scene. Juicy top-quality filet mignon, served with “Strega butter,” a mixture of fois gras and truffle marrow, is a popular favorite, along with classic steakhouse sides, like twice-baked potatoes and creamed spinach diners and perfectly prepared Italian specialties like fresh pasta and Parmesan polenta with mushrooms and Madeira wine. Star athletes from the Red Sox and the Bruins, who practice nearby, routinely find their way in—and when Hollywood hits the North Shore to film movies, celebrities often turn up in droves.
“Through the creation of PPX Hospitality Brands and with Smith & Wollensky’s commitment to genuine hospitality and quality, we will bring additional support systems, growth strategy and a team of resources to drive the Strega brand to new heights,” said Michael Feighery, CEO & President of Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group, who has worked with the international steakhouse brand for 35 years now. In his new role as CEO of PPX Hospitality Brands, Feighery will oversee the entirety of PPX Hospitality Brands, including Strega, while remaining in his role with Smith & Wollensky. “We are committed to investing in The Strega Group’s team members, brand awareness, facilities, and the customer experience throughout greater Boston.”
The Strega division will be overseen by Nick Foley, who is among those joining from the Varano team, according to the Globe. Feighery told the paper that the two groups, taken together, generate roughly $100 million in annual revenue and have more than 1,000 employees, and noted he expects to save money through joint purchasing and contracting, but he has no plans to lay off employees because of the sale. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.