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Beer, Seafood Make for Winning Combination

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Chipotle (CMG - Get Report), a Mexican-restaurant franchise, and salad-and-sandwich purveyor Panera (PNRA - Get Report) have been good bets, as their fresh and tasty food serve as alternatives to the likes of McDonald's (MCD - Get Report) and Yum Brands' (YUM - Get Report) KFC.

Much lesser known is Flanigan's Enterprises (BDL - Get Report), an owner of restaurants and liquor stores in Florida that has been successful for more than half a century. Flanigan's increased profit and revenue during the recession, which was the worst in 80 years.

During the past three years, Flanigan's has increased revenue 6.2% annually, on average, and boosted earnings per share 8.7% a year. It has a market value of only $12 million.

Fiscal fourth-quarter profit soared 67% to $290,000, or 15 cents a share, as revenue increased 5.6% to $17 million. The operating margin stretched from 1.8% to 3.4%. Return on equity, a key measure of profitability, matched the industry average of 10%. Flanigan's derives the majority of its revenue from seafood restaurants and bars.

Though the company is publicly traded, it has a small-business feel. Its menu, entailing a healthy lineup of local fish such as mahi mahi, is as unpretentious as its business. Seafood and alcohol are a great combination in Florida, the land of Jimmy Buffett.

Its stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 8.2, a price-to-book ratio of 0.8, a price-to-sales ratio of 0.2 and a price-to-cash-flow ratio of 1.8, reflecting, on average, a 90% discount to the restaurant industry average. As a micro-cap, Flanigan's is susceptible to unique risks, including thin trading volume. Still, its shares trade at fire-sale prices, which is baffling considering the company's record of steady growth.

Investors know that management is on their side. James Flanigan II, the seafood patriarch, owns 20% of shares outstanding while Michael Flanigan and Patrick Flanigan control 11% and 8%, respectively. All three men purchased additional shares during the fourth quarter, a signal of confidence in the long-term prospects of their business. Flanigan's shares have risen 46% during the past year, outperforming stock-market indices.

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