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Four Montana restaurant companies, Bozeman-based MacKenzie River Pizza Company, Whitefish-based CM Brands (Mambo's), Craggy Range Bar and Grill and the Corner House Grille, both in Whitefish, have been purchased by Glacier Restaurant Group LLC, the company announced in March.

Glacier Restaurant Group was formed by William P. Foley II, former chairman and chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants (Carl's Jr., Hardee's and La Salsa Fresh Mexican Grill), and other investors to acquire and expand Montana-based restaurant companies. Foley acts as chairman and chief executive officer of Glacier Restaurant Group, and Alan L. Stinson serves as president. Steven W. Shuel, owner and president of MacKenzie River Pizza, and Doug McNicoll, founder of CM Brands, have been appointed co-chief operating officers of the corporation and remain in their current roles with their respective companies.

With more than 700 employees throughout Montana, the company says it offers a blend of informal and upscale dining experiences — the distinctive gourmet appeal of MacKenzie River Pizza; the lively, exposition kitchen, high-energy atmosphere, immigrant-style Italian surroundings of Mambo's; the rustic atmosphere of the Craggy Range Bar and Grill; and the fine fare and elegant atmosphere of the Corner House Grille.

Strong brand loyalty and a highly successful business model provide exceptional opportunities for further expansion by Glacier in Montana, Idaho and the Pacific Northwest, the company said.

Since opening its first restaurant in downtown Bozeman in 1993, MacKenzie River has grown to 12 locations across Montana and was awarded the prestigious "Hot Concept Award" by Nation's Restaurant News.

Mambo's, which was established in 2000 in Whitefish, will open its first franchised store in Missoula in May, with more corporate-owned stores and franchised stores committed. Mambo's has been cited in many publications, including Food & Wine and Montana Living.

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