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ORLANDO-Budding restaurant companies with at least two successful locations and not more than 20 units could be in line for a capital infusion from a new $50 million restaurant acquisition fund being set up by Edward P. “Ned” Grace III, chairman of Orlando-based Grace Venture Partners LP.

Grace is branching out from his existing $20 million technology fund. The company is bringing Mark Peterson on board as a partner in the new Grace Restaurant Partners LP fund. Peterson is a former Applebee’s International vice president/controller and chief accounting officer.

Also arriving as a fulltime associate is Axel Stephan, a former investment banker with Deutsche Banc Alex.Brown.

Grace couldn’t be reached at GlobeSt.com’s publication deadline. But in a prepared statement, the former Providence, RI restaurateur says the new fund’s strategy will be to invest in young chain restaurant companies which show early growth potential.

Steering the new fund’s growth is an advisory board comprised of proven restaurant industry professionals. They are Al Baldochhi, a restaurant industry consultant and former Montgomery Securities investment banker; William Fisher, a professor at the Rosen School of Hospitality Management, University of Central Florida, and a past president of the National Restaurant Association; Johnny Rivers, owner/operator of an Orlando restaurant and catering company and a former chef at Walt Disney World; Burton Sack, an Applebee’s board member; and Regynald Washington, vice president/general manager, Disney Regional Entertainment, Burbank, CA.

Besides Grace Venture Partners LP and Grace Restaurant Partners, LP, Ned Grace is president of Phelps Grace International Inc., an Orlando-based investment and fund management company.

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