Huntington Capital, a San Diego private equity firm, said it partnered with Laurel Crown Partners LLC on a $15 million capital investment in Native Foods Café, a Chicago restaurant chain specializing in vegetarian fare.

The new capital will be used to finance Native Foods Café’s expansion into new markets. It now has 16 restaurants including stores in San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange County, Chicago, and Denver.

About 12 to 14 new restaurants are planned for this year, Huntington Capital said.

Laurel Crown Partners is the investment vehicle of the Paul family of Pittsburgh, and Los Angeles.

The new capital comes on top of the $10 million raised by Native Foods Café last year from NGEN Partners of Santa Barbara and New York, a private equity firm.