Owners of Joe's Crab Shack file for bankruptcy

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The group behind Houston-based Joe's Crab Shack has filed for bankruptcy.

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Ignite Restaurant Group Inc., the operator of the Joe’s and Brick House Tavern & Tap chains, hopes to sell to an affiliate of Kelly Investment Group.

The group announced that sales have declined because of a drop in customer traffic. It listed estimated total debts as of April 30 of $197.3 million in Chapter 11 papers filed Tuesday in Houston federal court. Assets totaled $153.4 million.

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“The debtors have continued to experience declining financial performance and declines in comparable restaurant sales and income from operations at Joe’s and Brick House,” Tibus said in the court filing. “The debtors have closed underperforming restaurants and implemented cost reduction measures to help mitigate the effect of these declines and improve their financial position and liquidity.”

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