×

New owner of local Perkins plans large investment

Four Perkins restaurants in the Mahoning Valley have a new Pennsylvania-based owner that plans a major remodel at each of the family-style diners.

The restaurants in Warren, Niles, Austintown and Boardman are among 13 in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York that JDK Management bought from 5171 Campbells Land Co., also Pennsylvania-based, as it tries to work its way out of bankruptcy.

The sale finalized Sept. 15. JDK announced this week its plans to invest $4 million across the 13 restaurants on a remodel package that includes upgrades to the interior fixtures and furniture, and also to the exterior.

Locally, Russ Berner, vice president of operations for JDK, said the effort is to “re-introduce the Youngstown community to a more contemporary and rejuvenated Perkins.”

“We’re remodeling from the ground up, inside and out and revitalizing the entire business,” Berner said Tuesday. “It’s a heritage brand and has been in the market for decades. We want to bring it back to its highest relevance.”

The company also plans to unveil a new menu in November.

JDK, which is the largest franchisee of Perkins now with 52 restaurants from Allentown, Pa., to Cincinnati, purchased six restaurants in Ohio, six in Pennsylvania and one in New York from Campbells Land Co. The company was founded in 1988. Berner did not say for how much, but it was a “major investment.”

The restaurants will experience a few days of disruption during the remodels.

The remodel in Niles, 1953 Niles Cortland Road, was set to begin Sunday with a grand reopening Thursday. The Warren restaurant, 3870 Elm Road NE, will have the work done starting Nov. 3 with a reopening Nov. 9.

The Boardman store, 804 Boardman Poland Road, and Austintown store, 5550 Interstate Blvd., will be remodeled starting Nov. 17 and Dec. 1 with scheduled reopenings of Nov. 23 and Dec. 7.

“We’re confident that our regular guests, and a whole new generation of restaurants-goers, will find the enhancements to Perkins impressive, appealing and positive for the whole community,” Berner said. “We are so proud to revive these locations that have been fixtures in the market for decades and then operate them long into the future.”

Berner said JDK has new franchise agreements with Perkins. The agreements Campbells Land Co. held for those restaurants no longer exist.

Campbells Land Co. filed bankruptcy in Pittsburgh to attempt to restructure its debt on July 8, the same day a hearing was in a case against it by Perkins & Marie Callender’s, which claimed Campbells Land Co. defaulted on its license agreements and owed more than $2.1 million in franchise-related fees.

A judge issued an order temporarily barring Campbells Land Co. from using the Perkins trademark, and hours before a July 8 hearing on making the order permanent, Campbells Land Co. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Pittsburgh.

The lawsuit in Tennessee has been dismissed.

rselak@tribtoday.com