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

Romeoville-based Great Kitchens Food buys Uno’s frozen and refrigerated business in a deal that does not include the restaurants.

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An Uno deep-dish pizza.

Provided

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

The company Tuesday acquired the frozen and refrigerated branded pizzas and other products of Uno Foods, said Henk Hartong, chairman and CEO of Brynwood Partners. Brynwood owns Great Kitchens.

“Demand for frozen pizzas has never been higher,” Hartong said. “We’re delighted 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., celebrated for inventing deep-dish pizza in 1943, or other company-owned or franchised eateries. Those 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 that business” and possibly increase jobs there, he said.

He said the new brand also could lead to more production and jobs at Great Kitchens locations in the Chicago area. He said the Romeoville headquarters and factory employ about 720, 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 shelves.

Brynwood is based in Greenwich, Connecticut, and owns a range of food brands, some of which it acquired from corporate owners culling their product lines.

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

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