A highly popular restaurant chain with three locations in The Villages has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection because of the loss of business due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
TooJay’s Deli, which has eateries in each of the town squares in Florida’s Friendliest Hometown, announced the decision Wednesday on the same day that Gov. Ron DeSantis said restaurants can slowly start reopening across the state.
The South Florida-based company’s CEO, Maxwell Piet, called the bankruptcy decision the best path forward for the chain, which is known for serving handcrafted sandwiches with fresh deli meats, comfort foods, soups, salads and baked goods. Piet also made it clear that the bankruptcy filing came about because of the “devastating” economic impact the Coronavirus outbreak has had on the chain, which has continued to offer takeout services amid the pandemic.
It’s unclear if the TooJay’s restaurants across the state will remain open during the bankruptcy proceedings. Many of them are located in South Florida in counties that were excluded from DeSantis’ reopening plans.
The TooJay’s restaurants in The Villages are located in Spanish Springs at 990 Del Mar Dr., in Lake Sumter Landing at 1129 Canal Street and in Brownwood at 2835 Brownwood Blvd. The Spanish Springs location sits on the site that was once a popular fruit stand operated by former Florida Rep. Hugh Gibson’s wife, Evelyn.