Massachusetts-based pizza restaurant chain Papa Gino's has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and closed nearly 100 locations throughout New England amid the company's restructuring and sale to a private equity firm.
Papa Gino's Holdings Company, which owns the pizza chain and D'Angelo Grilled Sandwiches, announced Monday it has been sold to a Wynnchurch Capital portfolio company, a day after abruptly closing 95 locations around the region.
Papa Gino's bankruptcy filings were entered in a U.S. bankruptcy court in Delaware on Monday morning, court documents show.
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Customer Bob Messina said he loved the location in Quincy and so did his kids.
"A lot of people brought their children there and they gave them little things to color with crayons," said Messina. "It was a good place for kids, and it's tough to see them go out of business."
When longtime customer Lorenzo Cerda, of Norwood, found out about the closures he said he was disappointed.
"As a frequent customer, I'm pretty upset," said Cerda. "It was a strange thing to wake up to this morning to read on the news."
The bankruptcy move on Monday came a day after customers and employees took to social media to voice concerns about the surprise closures.
The company hasn't provided a full list of the closures, but said in a statement on Monday there were 100 remaining Papa Gino's locations and 78 remaining D'Angelos restaurants.
While Papa Gino's say it will try to help workers find jobs at restaurants that didn't close, managers at other Massachusetts pizza restaurants have been reaching out to let workers know they are hiring.
"We're hiring from supervisors, drivers, insiders," said Brenno Silva, a Domino's manager who's interested in hiring the displaced workers. "All positions are open, so they can find a place."
Papa Gino's was founded in 1961 in East Boston as Piece O' Pizza. It changed its name to Papa Gino's in 1968 and expanded throughout Boston, other parts of Massachusetts and Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.
In a statement, the company said the sale of Papa Gino's will allow the pizza chain to "remodel and modernize" its practices, including online ordering.
"We are pleased to have reached an agreement that will ensure a long and prosperous future for these iconic New England restaurants," chief financial officer Corey Wendland said in a statement.