ORLANDO, Fla., April 7, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Tavistock Restaurants is pleased to announce John T. Bettin as Chief Executive Officer of its Upscale Collection of restaurants. Bettin will oversee Tavistock's numerous award-winning Upscale Collection concepts, including Abe & Louie's, AquaKnox, Napa Valley Grille, California Cafe, Atlantic Fish, Coach Grill, ZED451, Joe's American Bar & Grill, Blackhawk Grille, Timpano Italian Chophouse, Cafe del Rey, Taqueria Canonita and Sapporo.

With more than 30 years of restaurant industry experience, Bettin has worked with some of the most well-known hospitality dining brands, notably The Palm and Morton's of Chicago, where he led both companies as CEO and President respectively. Along with his diverse range of expertise, spanning from the back and front of the house to the corporate office, Bettin is well positioned to strengthen and grow Tavistock's collection of award-winning brands.

"I am thrilled to welcome John to our company," said Charles B. Lewis, Chairman of Tavistock Restaurants. "He has the depth and breadth of experience to lead our upscale portfolio of restaurants today and to help us find new avenues of growth going forward. John brings the proper temperament and commitment to further our goal of making Tavistock Restaurants one of the most desired restaurant collections for professionals to build careers and for patrons to enjoy special dining experiences."

Most recently serving as the CEO of the 88-year-old, iconic Palm Restaurant Group, Bettin's operational discipline and entrepreneurial vision for 29 restaurants successfully guided the company through the recent recession with a repositioned brand and new prototype designs, producing an organization poised for future growth.

Bettin's passion for the industry started in the kitchen. He began his distinguished career on the culinary side as an Executive Chef for Houlihan's and eventually rose to become Senior Vice President of Concept Development at Gilbert/Robinson. Bettin spent several years as Executive Vice President of Operations for Capital Restaurant Concepts and nearly a decade as President of Morton's of Chicago, where he led the restaurant through a vibrant expansion phase including development of the successful Bar 12-21 concept. After a short time at Potbelly Sandwich Works as COO and Senior Vice President. Bettin later joined Buca as President and COO, eventually becoming the company's Chief Executive Officer.

"Tavistock Restaurants has fantastic brands, is entrepreneurial and well capitalized for future growth," said Bettin. "Charlie has charged me with strengthening our company, maximizing the potential of our existing brands, and tasked me to look for additional growth opportunities within Tavistock Group's portfolio as well as outside acquisitions."

Bettin will be located in Orlando, Fla., the new headquarter location for Tavistock Restaurants Upscale Collection. This strategic move coincides with Tavistock's fast casual burrito concept Freebirds World Burrito's move to Austin, Texas. For more information on Tavistock Restaurants, visit www.tavistockrestaurants.com.

About Tavistock Restaurants

Tavistock Restaurants is a privately held company operating award-winning restaurant concepts from the fast casual Freebirds World Burrito restaurants to its Upscale Collection of restaurants including Abe & Louie's, AquaKnox, Napa Valley Grille, California Cafe, Atlantic Fish, Coach Grill, ZED451, Joe's American Bar & Grill, Blackhawk Grille, Timpano Italian Chophouse, Cafe del Rey, Taqueria Canonita, Sapporo and Papa Razzi. Tavistock Restaurants lives by the same mission as its parent company, Tavistock Group, which is committed to excellence in everything it does. For more information, visit www.tavistockrestaurants.com.

About Tavistock Group

Tavistock Group is an international private investment organization founded by Joe Lewis more than 35 years ago. With investments in more than 200 companies across 15 countries, Tavistock Group's investment portfolio includes: life sciences, sports teams and sporting events, manufacturing and distribution, oil, gas and energy, financial services, restaurants, commercial properties, private luxury residential properties, resort properties and large-scale, master-planned real estate developments including Albany, a luxury resort community nestled along approximately 600 oceanfront acres on the island of New Providence in The Bahamas, and the innovative, 7,000-acre city of Lake Nona in Orlando, Fla., located next to one of the world's busiest airports.

Lake Nona is a model 21st century city driving more than $7 billion in economic activity in Central Florida. Highlighted by a life sciences cluster known as Medical City, Lake Nona will feature more than five million square feet of commercial space, 2,200 hotel rooms, 30,000 residents and over 100 shops and restaurants.

For more information, visit www.tavistock.com.

Jessi Blakley, APR
Tavistock Group