Several local eateries appear to be among the dozens of Papa Gino’s pizzerias and D’Angelo’s sandwich shops across New England that were abruptly closed over the weekend.
Ovens will fire no more at Papa Gino’s locales in Andover and Methuen, according to a bankruptcy filing, and sandwiches will no longer be made at one D’Angelo restaurant in Derry and two in Salem, New Hampshire. Calls made to all five affected locations Monday were met with an automated message saying the restaurants were permanently closed.
The five were among approximately 95 restaurants closed as the pizza and sandwich shops’ parent company, PGHC Holdings Inc., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday in preparation for its sale to a private equity firm, according to a press release. The company closed 47 Papa Gino’s and 45 D’Angelo Grilled Sandwiches locations in all, in addition to three restaurants that were already closed, according to the bankruptcy court filing.
Several Papa Gino’s locations in the region, including in Haverhill, Salem, Plaistow, Derry and Londonderry, remain open, according to the company’s website and calls placed Monday to each restaurant.
Papa Gino’s parent company said in a press release the sale would allow the chain to “remodel and modernize” its 141 company-owned restaurants across Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Connecticut. There are a total of 178 Papa Gino’s and D’Angelo’s locations throughout the four states, the others part of franchises.
The plan unveiled Monday would also allow the company to open new locations and enhance its online ordering, the press release said.
“There 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,” said CFO Corey Wendland.
Employees and customers across the state were stunned to find the pizza shops suddenly closed on Sunday. Roughly 1,100 workers were laid off in the process, though the company is encouraging them to apply for positions at its remaining locations.
Some on social media expressed surprise with the move, while others lamented the chain’s rising meal costs over the years.
The windows were dark Monday afternoon at the Papa Gino’s at 209 North Main St. in Andover, though signs on the doors said it was due to a lack of gas from the Sept. 13 gas disaster. An employee of another shop in the plaza said he’d seen construction workers going in and out of the pizza shop in recent weeks, but knew nothing of the permanent closure.
Tom Becker, a spokesman for the company, said the Andover and Methuen locations were closed because they were underperforming. The Methuen location was at 188 Haverhill St. The shuttered D’Angelo’s were at 53 East Broadway in Derry, 365 South Broadway in Salem, and in the Mall at Rockingham Park, according to the bankruptcy filing.
“The remaining restaurants are strong and are expected to be part of the long-term future of the company,” Becker said in an email.
To help clear up customers’ confusion about which locations survived, an employee at the Papa Gino’s at 99 Cluff Crossing Road in Salem answered phone calls Monday with reassurances her location was still open.
Wendland, the CFO, said the company has been “pursuing a plan to strengthen our financial footing and secure capital for investment in our restaurants, while also addressing our significant debt load,” for some time.
PGHC Holdings on Monday filed for protections under Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which would allow the company to maintain its business operations at remaining restaurants with improved liquidity while it proceeds with the sale to Wynnchurch. The sale requires court approval.
The company said it will continue to pay its network of suppliers, honor its customers rewards and gift card programs, and continue its presence at team celebrations and neighborhood events during the bankruptcy process.
“We recognize we have a responsibility to not only provide for the future of these businesses, for our valued team members and guests, but to also ensure our current debt structure is sufficiently addressed,” Wendland said. “We believe this process will allow us to do just that and build an even better company for all of our team members by creating an atmosphere that team members will be proud to serve in.”
Dedham-based Papa Gino’s was founded in East Boston in 1961.
Follow Lisa Kashinsky on Twitter @lisakashinsky.