StoneFire Grill, the homegrown restaurant that started in Valencia almost 17 years ago, now employs more than 1,000 workers at eight locations – and with a recent majority investment by New York private equity firm Goode Partners LLC, it’s poised for further expansion.

Mary Harrigan and her sister Maureen launched the eatery as a family business – Mary’s sons Kyle and Justin Lopez worked the cash register in the beginning. Now the family can leave the money worries to their new partners.

“We’re excited because Goode Partners brings the opportunity for growth in a way that we don’t have to be the ongoing financial investment,” Mary Harrigan said. “They want to grow the concept – they think it can work everywhere.”

While third-party funding will drive the chain’s growth, its founding family won’t take a back seat. The Lopez brothers will remain at the helm, and are determined to preserve the family-oriented, homestyle atmosphere that has been key to StoneFire’s success.

“For the most part it’s just business as usual,” Justin Lopez said. “We just get to grow faster with Goode.”

Read the full story in the Jan. 9 issue of the San Fernando Valley Business Journal.