Grand Lux Café at Boca Raton’s Town Center mall will permanently close, lay off 105 workers

South Florida Sun Sentinel

Dec 03, 2021 3:13 PM

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Grand Lux Café, the upscale American café chain owned by the Cheesecake Factory, will permanently close its Boca Town Center mall location on Jan. 31, and lay off 105 employees,

Grand Lux Café, the upscale American café chain owned by the Cheesecake Factory, will permanently close its Boca Town Center mall location on Jan. 31, and lay off 105 employees, (Grand Lux Cafe/ Courtesy)

Grand Lux Café, the gilded, upscale restaurant offshoot of the Cheesecake Factory, will permanently close at Boca Raton’s Town Center mall and lay off its employees on Jan. 31, the restaurant told the state of Florida this week.

At least 105 employees will be among the jobless, including seven managers, 29 servers, 22 line cooks, 11 dishwashers and four dessert bakers.

“Grand Lux Cafe has truly enjoyed being a part of the Boca Raton community, and hopes their guests will continue to dine at Grand Lux Cafe in Sawgrass Mills,” Alethea Rowe, a Cheesecake Factory spokesperson, wrote in an email to the Sun Sentinel on Friday.

The restaurant at 6000 Glades Road, a staple at the Town Center mall since 2006, remains open for now. When asked about the closing, an unnamed server who picked up the phone at Grand Lux said she wasn’t aware of the planned layoffs.

Grand Lux Café’s parent company, Cheesecake Factory Incorporated, sent the letter, posted online on Nov. 23, to Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity. The company had to share the closing under Florida’s WARN Act, which requires businesses with at least 100 workers to give the state 60 days’ notice in advance of planned mass layoffs.

Sidney M. Greathouse, the Cheesecake Factory’s vice president of legal affairs, also sent copies of the notice to Boca Raton Mayor Scott Singer and City Manager Leif J. Ahnell.

Rowe declined to give a reason for Grand Lux Cafe’s closing, but told the Sun Sentinel that all laid-off workers will be offered “a position at one of the Cheesecake Factory or North Italia restaurants.”

This is Grand Lux Café’s second South Florida closing in a year, after shuttering its Aventura Mall location in December 2020. At the time, Greathouse blamed the “COVID-19 crisis.” “The Grand Lux Café markets have softened over a period of several months and this is expected to continue,” his notice read, adding that the decision was spurred by “the national emergency and the continued governmental orders that have been put in place and may resume in the future.”

The pandemic has dealt a rough blow to the California-born chain. It furloughed 41,000 workers in March 2020, cut the pay of corporate employees by 10 to 20 percent, and even refused to pay landlords’ rent.

Grand Lux’s sprawling menu adopts the let’s-throw-every-cuisine-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks mentality shared by its parent, Cheesecake Factory. Asian nachos and eggplant Parmesan fritters are served alongside pasta carbonara, ribeye steaks, cedar-plank salmon and double-stuffed potato spring rolls.

After Jan. 31, the Grand Lux Café at Sunrise’s Sawgrass Mall will become the chain’s final location in Florida.

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