PHOENIX — After seven decades in business, Arizona restaurant chain, Macayo's, is changing ownership. It is a move that the family hopes will keep the brand running and growing.
Woody and Victoria Johnson opened the first Macayo's restaurant -- Woody's El Nido -- in 1946.
Kind Hospitality, which is based in Mesa, announced Wednesday that it had bought the rights to the Macayo's name, and six of the eight remaining restaurants in the Valley. Collectively, they're known as "Macayo's Mexican Table."
The other two restaurants, Woody's Macayo in downtown Phoenix and Macayo's Depot Cantina in Tempe, will continue to be owned and run by Woody's children, Sharisse, Gary and Stephen Johnson.
“We are so grateful to all of the guests and teammates who have been a part of Macayo through these years; they are truly a part of our family. With what was started by our parents as just a dream over seven decades ago, it’s been an honor for us to be able to carry on their legacy across the Valley,” said Sharisse Johnson in a statement. “We all started working at a very young age, and as my brothers enter retirement, we are happy to be passing the torch to another local family business who we are confident will continue to uphold our Macayo traditions and honor our heritage.”
Kind Hospitality will own the restaurants in Ahwatukee, Glendale, Goodyear, Mesa and Surprise. According to a news release, they plan to renovate those restaurants and update their decor. They are also looking at the possibility of opening more restaurants, however, with a smaller footprint, the release said.
A timetable of when that would happen was not released.
"The Macayo legacy in the Valley and beyond is something we take very seriously. The food, the atmosphere and the organization’s involvement in the community has been unparalleled and we absolutely intend to keep the Johnson family traditions alive,” said Nava Singam, the owner of Kind Hospitality, in a joint statement with his wife, Leticia.
In 2016, Macayo's temple-shaped restaurant in Phoenix was demolished. It was replaced in 2017 with the opening of Woody's Macayo. With the opening, Macayo's closed its restaurant in Scottsdale and moved its test kitchen to the Phoenix location.
In 2018, Macayo's closed its restaurants in Casa Grande and Tucson.
Earlier this week, a Macayo's restaurant in Las Vegas announced in a Facebook post that it would close in March. While under the Macayo's brand, it is owned and operated by another family member and is not part of the acquisition or affiliated with the Arizona restaurants.