Taylor Gourmet, the Washington, D.C.-based hoagie chain that opened a decade ago, will close all 17 of its Washington-area locations on Sunday, said a company spokesman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak. The chain’s two Chicago locations closed on Friday, he said.
Chain co-founder Casey Patten was unavailable to speak to the media, the spokesman said. The owner was visiting each location, breaking the news to employees and managers. It’s uncertain yet what kind of severance package, if any, the employees will get, the spokesman said.
The chain opened its first Chicago restaurant last year in the Loop and opened a second location in June in the Fulton Market district on the Near West Side. Just last week, the chain was announced as a tenant for the planned retail development at the base of Willis Tower.
Taylor Gourmet took a hit on social media when Patten met with President Donald Trump in January 2017 as part of a small business roundtable at the White House. But, according to The Washingtonian, business at the hoagie chain also took a hit.
At the time, Patten defended the meeting with Trump, saying that he used it as a chance to ask the president to cut the red tape at the Small Business Administration and to talk about Taylor Gourmet’s immigrant workforce, which was “nervous about the potential regulations coming down the road.” At that time, Patten said that more than half of the company’s 300-plus employees were immigrants or the American-born children of immigrants.
When it comes to business, Patten told The Washington Post then, he’s apolitical. Taylor Gourmet even posted a billboard in Chinatown that stated: “Less Politics, More Hoagies.” Patten says he didn’t vote in the last presidential election and didn’t even know if he was registered to vote. (Nexis records indicate that he registered as a Republican in the District of Columbia in 2002.)
The chain, which has expanded rapidly in recent years, was reported to have received a $5.6 million investment from private equity firm KarpReilly in 2015. Karp Reilly recently pulled out of the company, the Taylor Gourmet spokesman said, though he did not know why. Representatives for KarpReilly, which is based in Connecticut, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Originally published by The Washington Post. Chicago Tribune staff contributed.