Employees and fans of beloved New England pizza chain, Papa Gino's got a huge shock this weekend when more than 50 restaurants closed abruptly.
The chain went from around 150 locations to just 97, with no notice to its employees. Several reported showing up for work to signs reading “this location is now closed” and “thank you for your patronage.”
On Monday, a Papa Gino's spokesperson confirmed to NECN that the company has filed for bankruptcy, and is negotiating a sale to a private equity firm called Wynnchurch.
The first Papa Gino’s opened in East Boston under the name Piece O’ Pizza in 1961. In 1968 the name was changed, and franchises began to pop up throughout Massachusetts before expanding across New England.
The company, which also includes D’Angelo Sandwiches, has always remained a New England-only chain. While this fact has certainly limited its success, Papa Gino's is beloved by millions in the area.
According to Eater.com, several local chefs named Papa Gino's in a 2014 survey regarding their childhood pizza memories.
The company did not immediately release a list of which locations had closed. However, the website's location page now shows the 97 remaining stores.
Eater Boston also pointed out that Papa Gino’s is not the only local pizza chain to face bankruptcy this year. The brick oven favorite, Bertucci's suddenly closed 15 restaurants in April. There are now just 59 locations remaining.