In case you're keeping track of the shrinking number of reasonably-priced lunch options around you, here's another disappearing classic to add to your list.
Earlier this week, Texas-based chain Jason's Deli announced the closure of its last remaining location in St. Louis, Missouri, which marked the 22nd location of the popular deli to close this year. According to Brandy Butler, the restaurant's director of marketing, the closures were a result of "tough decisions because of current circumstances." (To learn which other restaurant chains may be leaving your town, check out 9 Restaurant Chains That Closed Hundreds of Locations This Summer.)
The chain currently operates 257 restaurants in 28 states, but its footprint decreased by about 10% this year. In 2019, their portfolio spanned 290 locations, 180 of which were company-owned, and 110 which were operated by franchises.
Like many fast-casual chains, Jason's Deli has suffered from financial turmoil during the pandemic-related shutdowns. To top it off, the chain was forced to close all of its self-serve salad bars, which were a significant centerpiece of their menu. Instead, they shifted to offering ready-made salads. (Related: These 5 Classic American Restaurant Chains Are Close to Disappearing.)
The chain was founded in 1976 by Joe Tortorice Jr. and partners, and named after Tortorice's eldest son. Their original Beaumont location is still in operation today.
Back in its heyday, circa 2008, the chain ranked #1 in annual sales on QSR Magazine's Top Ten list of restaurant groups with under 300 locations. The same year, the chain announced they are eliminating high fructose corn syrup, MSG, and artificial trans-fats from all their menu items, a rare accomplishment for a restaurant chain with hundreds of units, especially at the time, when clean eating wasn't a mainstream health trend.
Today, they are known for well-priced deli classics like po'boys, muffalettas, daily soups, baked potatoes, pastas, and salads.
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