W. R. Grace & Co., the restaurant, retailing and chemical conglomerate, has acquired the local American Cafe restaurant chain, the company said last week.

Financial details were not disclosed by either company, except to say that Grace had acquired a "significant interest" in The American Cafe's parent company, Monolith Enterprises, on Feb. 28.

Grace, which is based in New York, is primarily a chemical company, with interests in natural resources and consumer outlets such as Herman's Sporting Goods and Channel Home Stores.

Grace also owns the Barley Mow, Casa Maria Mexican Restaurant, the Devon Bar and Grill, El Torito, Houlihan's Old Place, Hogate's Restaurant and Fedora Cafe in the Washington area.

The American Cafe, with seven restaurants, will continue to operate as a separate entity but will report to Grace's restaurant group, said Christopher Tofalli, a Grace spokesman.

"This deal will enable us to continue into our next stage of development," said Robert Giaimo, president of The American Cafe. "I'm very excited about this opportunity to have Grace as our financial partner to give us the strength to achieve that growth.

"Grace has a tremendous amount of resources -- financing, purchasing and real-estate expertise -- so this provides us the opportunity to grow beyond what we could on our own resources," Giaimo said.

Giaimo will remain American Cafe's president, and he said no management changes were expected.