Long before Alabama-based Chicken Salad Chick brought its first restaurant to the area in 2015, Jacksonville diners knew where to try some of the best chicken salads in town: Yum Yum Tree.
For generations, the Lakewood area restaurant has served its famous chicken salad – and tuna, noodles, potatoes, eggs, and other salad favorites – in its modest storefront at 6225 St. Augustine Road.
But after 41 years, Yum Yum Tree will close its doors forever on Wednesday November 25th after lunch.
“It is with a heavy heart that we have to announce that our last business day will be November 25th. We have loved the last 43 years that we have served our community, ”the restaurant announced on Friday in a Facebook post.
The upcoming closure comes months after the coronavirus pandemic outbreak, forcing Jacksonville restaurants to temporarily close their dining rooms and switch to takeaway, roadside and delivery options to help contain the spread of the virus.
Earlier this year the restaurant updated its website to reflect the new reality: “Due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak, we are only open for takeaway from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm. We don’t know what the future holds – it doesn’t look promising. We ask you to visit us if you are a loyal YYT customer and feel comfortable and secure. We, along with many other small businesses, are struggling to stay afloat. We need your patronage now more than ever. “
Two years before their Lakewood restaurant opened, founders Terrie and Jim Polkey opened their first Yum Yum Tree restaurant in the Shoppes at Avondale in 1977, which became a neighborhood favorite for 23 years until it closed in September 2000.
The co-owner Stacie Dern and her brother Kurt Polkey took over the operation of the Lakewood restaurant in 2008 after the death of their father.
The restaurant is planning an open house on Saturday, November 28th to sell Yum Yum Tree memorabilia, tables, chairs, and more.