Yum Yum Tree will have an open house selling all items inside the restaurant on Saturday, November 28, starting at 10:30 a.m.
JACKSONVILLE, Florida – A restaurant in Jacksonville will shut its doors forever next week after serving customers for more than four decades. The owners of the Yum Yum Tree St. Augustine Road they made the difficult decision to close due to financial pressures from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the owners’ other obligations as sixth grade teachers.
A sign outside the Yum Yum Tree advertises the iconic chicken salad, but if you take a closer look at the front door, you’ll see a post informing customers that the doors will permanently close after 43 years in business.
“Our last three days are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday,” said Stacy Dern, co-owner of Yum Yum Tree. “I’ve been here since I was seven years old, so I kind of grew up in the restaurant.”
Dern’s parents moved to Jacksonville from New Hampshire and opened Yum Yum Tree in 1977. Dern is heating up the last pancakes she will cook in the restaurant’s kitchen. “I’m on a roller coaster,” said Dern. “I cried this morning, then laugh. It’s hard.”
Agent Stan Maza has been coming to the Yum Yum Tree almost as long as it is open. “I am really sad,” he said. “I will miss it. It has been such an integral part of society. It was fun to come here and see the same faces for 35, 40 years.”
Mazza told First Coast News that he hopes to hold on to the memories with some of Yum Yum Trees’s most memorable dishes. “I hope I find the recipes. That’s why I’m here today.” She wasn’t giving me this coconut cream pie recipe. She said she wouldn’t give me the salad dressing recipe, but she said she would give me the chicken salad recipe. “
Dern says regulars pay tribute in person and online. “All of these people made these amazing comments on our Facebook page,” said Dern. “People come and say goodbye, which is what I wanted. It makes it seem like we made an impact even though we’re just a small family business.”
Yum Yum Tree will have an open house and sell all items inside the restaurant on Saturday, November 28, starting at 10:30 a.m., Dern is also trying to find a vendor selling the restaurant’s salad dressings and waffles.
As part of preserving the memory of the Yum Yum Tree, Dern agreed to give this top-secret chicken salad recipe to First Coast News and loyal customers. The recipe is listed below.
Use whole boiled chicken breasts, bone, and skin in seasoned chicken broth. Cut it while it is still hot. Add salt and pepper, then leave to cool. Add mayonnaise and chopped celery. If you don’t let it cool down, the chicken will absorb the mayonnaise and spoil the flavor and texture.