News | September 6, 2023

Frontenac Announces Partnership With A Leading New England-Based Foodservice Distribution Platform, City Line Distributors


Frontenac today announces a partnership with specialty foodservice distributor, City Line Distributors© (“City Line”). Frontenac and food distribution industry veteran Sean Griffin are partnering with City Line CEO Robert Berkowitz as they seek to bring about the company’s next stage of growth and expansion through partnerships with other leading independent distributors throughout the Northeast.

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City Line is the top independent full-service foodservice distributor based in New England. For over 75 years, City Line has been providing its services to numerous independent restaurateurs and food establishments across Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, and Massachusetts.

City Line brings a differentiated customer-oriented approach to the foodservice distribution industry. “We pride ourselves in our customer-centric approach to the foodservice distribution industry and feel that our differentiated approach to serving our customers is both exceptional and innovative,” said Robert Berkowitz CEO of City Line. Adding, “We are thrilled to partner with Sean and the Frontenac team as I lead City Line through our next stage of growth. Sean’s industry experience combined with Frontenac’s history of partnering with family-owned businesses made them an ideal partner for City Line.”

As the industry continues to mature and supply chain issues ‘normalize’, independent food distributors face competition from broadline distributors that are consolidating the industry. As the largest independent food distributor in the region, City Line will continue to enhance its strategic counter-position by differentiating on one or more factors important to operators in their geographic markets such as service, specialty SKUs, and branding and marketing. City Line is actively looking to partner with other leading independent food distributors in the Northeast who want a strategic partner to help them reach their goals while expanding their offerings and preserving their independence and culture.

"Robert Berkowitz is one of the most engaged and effective operators with whom I’ve collaborated in my career. I am excited to partner with Robert and his team. Together, we will work to build upon the company's operational strengths and impressive legacy. The Northeast boasts a distinctive foodservice scene as it is rich with independent restaurants who seek differentiated service and products. Our platform goal is to align with those values and we believe this platform creates a compelling opportunity for other privately held distributors who are looking to preserve their heritage and find liquidity," expressed Sean Griffin, CEO1ST™ partner and food distribution veteran.

“We feel honored to partner with the City Line team. They have built an exceptional foodservice distribution company that has prioritized delivering top-notch customer experience for more than three generations," expressed Betsy Williamson, a Managing Director at Frontenac.

DLA Piper LLP served as legal counsel for the transaction.

About Frontenac

Frontenac is a Chicago-based private equity firm. The firm focuses on investing in lower middle market buyout transactions in the consumer, industrial, and services industries. Frontenac works in partnership with established operating leaders, through an executive-centric approach called CEO1ST, which seeks to identify, acquire, and build market-leading companies through transformational acquisitions and operational excellence. Over the last 50+ years, Frontenac has built a franchise working with over 300 owners of mid-sized businesses as they address complex transition issues of liquidity, management enhancement, and growth planning. For more information, please visit

About City Line

Founded in 1930, City Line is a third-generation family-owned and operated full-service food distributor headquartered in New Haven, CT. City Line is a trusted partner to hundreds of independent restaurant operator across the Northeast. The Company is one of the largest single facility distributors in the United States, servicing 20+ counties across four primary states. For more information, please visit

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