Fat Sparrow Group spreads its wings … to St. Jacobs

Fat Sparrow Group spreads its wings … to St. Jacobs

The Fat Sparrow Group continues to grow, and it has spread its wings into St. Jacobs, the company’s first foray outside of Uptown Waterloo. That’s exciting — and really good news for Waterloo Region.

With four Uptown Waterloo restaurants — Uptown 21, Taco Farm, Marbles and Harmony Lunch — Fat Sparrow Group finalized a deal to acquire the Stone Crock Inc. today.

The Stone Crock Inc. was founded by entrepreneur Milo Shantz and his wife Laura in 1975  and includes Jacob’s Grill, Stone Crock Meats and Cheese, Stone Crock Bakery, Stone Crock Restaurant, St. Jacobs Catering, Salad Division and Meeting/Banquet Rooms.

It also operates three booths at the St. Jacobs Farmers’ market.

Known for its home-style cooking and hospitality, Stone Crock has been a St. Jacobs landmark and destination for locals and tourists alike for over 40 years. Sandra Shantz, who has overseen the family-run business since the 1990s,  will stay on with the company.

“In Fat Sparrow, we have found a perfectly suited successor for our business. They bring both passion and respect for Waterloo region’s culinary scene to the table, and I’m confident our customers and employees will be in very capable hands,” Shantz says.

For his part, Nick and Natalie Benninger and his Fat Sparrow business partners look forward to growing.

“We have enjoyed great success in Uptown Waterloo with our current portfolio of restaurants,” says Chef Nick Benninger. “We’re really excited to be part of St. Jacobs now as it continues to grow and prosper.”

Both Nick and Natalie previously worked at Benjamin’s Restaurant earlier in their careers when it was owned and operated by Stone Crock and credit this time for inspiring their enduring philosophy to support local farmers and producers.

The Stone Crock’s salad division, bakery and meat shop adds an exciting new internal supply channel for Fat Sparrow. “We take great pride in making as much food in-house as we can,” says Benninger. “At Taco Farm we make everything from scratch down to our house-made tortillas and chips and I’m beyond excited to extend that even further with the support of our own bakery and butcher shop.”

With the combination of the Stone Crock enterprise, Fat Sparrow Group will now employ 180 people. “Employees are our most valuable resource,” says Benninger.

“We’re confident our expansion is going to help us to grow all aspects of our business, particularly on the catering side where we will be able to handle much bigger corporate events and weddings. We’re looking forward to working with all our employees and divisions to make these events exceptional.”

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