Granite City Food & Brewery, the Bloomington-based chain of casual-dining restaurants in more than a dozen states, has filed for bankruptcy protection.

The company has secured a $5 million “debtor in possession” loan to continue operating its 29 restaurants under its namesake brand as well as Cadillac Ranch All American Bar & Grill during the Chapter 11 process, according to bankruptcy records filed last month in federal court in Minnesota.

Its Minnesota locations of Granite City Food & Brewery are in Eagan, Rose­ville, Maple Grove and St. Cloud. Cadillac Ranch has an outpost at the Mall of America in Bloomington.

“Management expects to continue operations without interruption during the Chapter 11 case,” the company said in a news release.

It also lined up a potential buyer, KRG Granite Acquisition, which wants to acquire it as a “going concern” for $7.5 million plus certain liabilities. The potential sale will be part of an auction process and subject to approval by the bankruptcy court that the company said it expected to complete by February.

“The Granite City Board of Directors and management team have thoroughly assessed our strategic options and financial situation and unanimously agree that this structured sale process represents the best possible solution for the company,” Richard Lynch, the company’s CEO and chairman, said in a statement. “We believe pursuing this path will provide value to our creditors, enable one or more future restaurateurs to operate our locations, and preserve hundreds of jobs.”

He did not return a call for further comment.

In its court filings, Granite City listed assets and liabilities of between $10 million and $50 million and estimated its number of creditors to be between 5,000 and 10,000.

The restaurant company, which started with a single location in St. Cloud in 1999, has been exploring its options for years as its business has been sputtering. In 2015, it hired an investment bank to help it consider a sale, merger or other deal.

In 2013, it delisted its stock to reduce the costs of reporting to regulators and has been trading in the “pink sheets,” or the over-the-counter stock market, ever since.