DEDHAM, MA, CT (WFSB) - Only one Papa Gino’s restaurant remains in Connecticut, according to the pizzeria chain’s website after the company surprised employees and patrons with abrupt closures.
The franchise's parent company, PGHC Holdings, Inc., which owns both Papa Gino's Pizzerias and D'Angelo Grilled Sandwiches, said on Monday that it reached an agreement with sell the company to a Wynnchurch Capital portfolio company.
It said the deal would strengthen the chains' financial resources and allow the company to remodel and modernize its restaurants across New England. It said more restaurants could open as a result.
In order to complete the sale, the company said it had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Channel 3 called the Willimantic Papa Gino’s located 95 Storrs Rd. on Sunday night to which an employee confirmed that the location was the only one open.
Channel 3 also called four other Papa Gino’s in Connecticut, in New Britain, Vernon, Windsor Locks, and Waterford and heard an audio recording.
“Thank you for calling Papa Gino’s," it said. "This restaurant is now permanently closed. Please check out Papa Gino’s dot com for a complete list of all our restaurant locations and enjoy 50 percent off your online pizzas with ‘Code 6840’ for a limited time. Thank you, and we look forward to serving you soon.”
The Dedham, MA. based company said it still has 178 restaurants.
"We are pleased to have reached an agreement that will ensure a long and prosperous future for these iconic New England restaurants," said Corey Wendland, chief financial officer. "For some time, we have been pursuing a plan to strengthen our financial footing and secure capital for investment in our restaurants, while also addressing our significant debt load. We are confident that the agreement with Wynnchurch achieves all of those goals."
PGHC Holdings called Wynnchurch a leading middle-market private equity investment firm with $2.2 billion of committed capital under management. It said Wynnchurch has a long history of partnering with middle market companies like PGHC in the United States and Canada that possess the potential for substantial growth and profit improvement.
One hundred Papa Gino's restaurants and 78 D'Angelo Grilled Sandwiches restaurants, including franchise locations, continue to operate and remain open for business.
"These were hard decisions but decisions we believe were absolutely necessary to allow Papa Gino's and D'Angelo Grilled Sandwiches to continue serving New England now and for years to come," Wendland said. "We look forward to serving our guests the pizza and grilled sandwiches they have come to love over many decades. If your nearest Papa Gino's or D'Angelo has closed, be assured that your favorite pizza or Steak Number 9 sandwich awaits you at a re-energized restaurant not too far away."
PGHC said it hopes to move certain team members from closed restaurants to restaurants that continue to operate.