Sale of Uno pizza line adds toppings for buyer’s business

A slice of the Uno deep dish pizza empire has been sold to Great Kitchens Food, a company operating in Romeoville and Chicago Heights.

The company acquired Uno Foods brand frozen and refrigerated pizzas and other products on Tuesday, said Henk Hartong, chairman and chief executive of Brynwood Partners. Brynwood owns Great Kitchens.

“The demand for frozen pizzas has never been higher,” Hartong said. “We are thrilled to own such an iconic brand.”

Terms were not disclosed. The sale does not include the original Pizzeria Uno restaurant at 29 E. Ohio St., famous for inventing the deep-dish pizza in 1943, or other company-owned or franchised restaurants. These remain with Uno Restaurant Holdings, owned by Newport Global Advisors.

Hartong said the frozen pizzas are made in Brockton, Massachusetts, where about 80 people work. “Our plan is to invest in this business” and eventually create jobs there, he said.

He said the new brand could also lead to increased production and jobs at Chicago-area Great Kitchens locations. He said the Romeoville headquarters and plant employ about 720 people, with another 80 in Chicago Heights.

Great Kitchens makes private label pizzas for grocery chains, warehouse clubs and other retailers.

Uno Foods was launched in 1988 to bring the famous name to grocery store shelves.

Brynwood is based in Greenwich, Conn., and owns a line of food brands, some of which were acquired from business owners tearing down their product lines.

Its holdings include Chicago-based Hometown Food, which owns grocery brands Hungry Jack and Martha White and dry baking mixes under the Pillsbury name. In January, Hometown acquired the Birch Benders line of baked goods.

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