Piccadilly Cafeteria closing doors tonight

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 7, 2003

Pemberton Square mall shopper Michael Orsag walks past the closing sign in front of Piccadilly Cafeteria Monday.(Melanie Duncan Thortis The Vicksburg Post)

[10/7/03]The Piccadilly Cafeteria in Pemberton Square mall will close at the end of business today, leaving 25 employees without jobs and regular customers looking for another place to eat.

Sid Reynolds, associate manager, said a corporate reorganization is the reason for the closing, and President and Chief Operating Officer Azam Malik said the company, whose sale was announced last month, may file for bankruptcy under Chapter 11, which would give it protection from creditors while reorganizing.

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In the shopping mall since 1997 when locally owned Pemberton Cafeteria closed the restaurant is one in a chain of 170 Piccadillys across the Southeast. Corporate headquarters is in Baton Rouge.

Reynolds also said the civic clubs that meet at Piccadilly have been notified, and they are arranging for other meeting places.

Cashier Felicia Blackmore said employees received little notice of the closing.

“I found out Sunday morning that I would have to find another job,” said the three-year veteran of the cafeteria.

She said she will miss the customers.

“We had a lot of regular customers; some of them were in tears when I told them,” she said, adding many regulars are older people who don’t cook much.

“Part of the plan is (also) to close some of the under-performing units, some that are no longer profitable,” Malik said, adding the number closed was not large.

The decision on closings was made in the past couple of weeks, Malik said.

He said there are about 25 employees at the Vicksburg location, and they were offered transfers to other locations, pointing out locations as close as Jackson are more profitable.

“We have plans in the works” to replace Piccadilly, said Renee Williams, a spokesman for Pemberton Square. “I’m just not at liberty to reveal them.”

She said there is a possibility another restaurant will take over the space.

Pemberton Square has four other eateries, Garfield’s, Corn Dog 7, Cadillac Sal’s and The Wok.