Edward W. Engel Senior Counsel

Mr. Engel is a seasoned Business and Real Estate Attorney and has extensive experience as an executive in the restaurant and hospitality industry.  Mr. Engel recently returned to the private practice of law from the hospitality industry where he served as Sr. Vice President and General Counsel for Ignite Restaurant Group, Inc. which he took public in 2012 and served as Associate General Counsel for Landry’s Restaurants, Inc.


Mr. Engel was formerly Board Certified in Commercial Real Estate Law assisting clients in a broad array of real estate transactions including acquisition, disposition, construction and development of both commercial and farm and ranch properties.  In addition, Mr. Engel has extensive experience representing both commercial landlords and tenants in all aspects of retail and office leasing.


Mr. Engel has participated in a multitude of merger and acquisition transactions representing businesses from large restaurant and casino operations to the wholesale and retail businesses.  Mr. Engel led all domestic and international franchise operations for both Rainforest Café and Romano’s Macaroni Grill, successfully negotiating and managing franchise agreements throughout the Middle East including Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Turkey.



  • Initial member of executive team in spin-off and transformation from a private equity backed turnaround company into a publicly traded industry growth leader with increase in sales from less than $300M to almost $900M, 120 restaurants to more than 350, with more than 20,000 employees.
  • Created and led initial legal, development, and human resources departments for spin-off company.


  • Completed successful launch of IPO including full exercise of underwriter’s over-allotment option resulting in raising $83.8M in total net proceeds to the company.
  • Recapitalized the business by executing a dividend recap resulting in the return of $80M of equity to private equity sponsors.
  • Collaborated with private equity sponsor in a sale leaseback of 29 fee-owned restaurant properties resulting in $80m net proceeds.
  • Refinanced credit facility reducing interest rate, increasing flexibility of financial covenants and resulting in savings to the company of more than $3.5M.
  • Served on Board of Directors for Joint Ventures in Japan, Hong Kong and UK.

M&A/Real Estate

  • Led real estate and legal due diligence in acquisition of major Las Vegas casino, hotel and resort.
  • Led negotiation, acquisition and integration of major restaurant chain acquiring 186 domestic restaurants in 36 US states with 10,000 employees.
  • Managed and negotiated new leases, renewals, amendments and terminations for portfolio of more than 300 restaurant properties.
  • Managed portfolio of more than 30 restaurant franchises 15 foreign countries,

Litigation/Risk Management

  • Negotiated settlement of final working capital following initial acquisition of $192M spin-off business.
  • Collaborated with CFO in working through a GAAP technical restatement of Financial Statements and SEC investigation within three months of IPO launch resulting in no action letter from SEC.
  • Successfully defended multiple class-action lawsuits in California, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Texas relating to employment, credit card, and securities issues.


  • State Bar of Texas, Member
  • Houston Bar Association, Member
  • Texas College of Real Estate Attorneys, Member

Bar Admissions

  • Texas, 1975

Court Admissions

  • US District Court for the Southern District of Texas
  • US Court of Appeals
  • 5th Circuit US Court of Appeals
  • 11th Circuit US Tax Court
  • US Court of Claims


  • South Texas College of Law Houston, Houston, Texas, Doctor of Jurisprudence, 1975
  • University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, Bachelor of Business Administration, 1972
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