The businessman who founded the national restaurant chain Jason's Deli more than 40 years ago in Texas has died.
A Jason's Deli statement says Joe Tortorice Jr., founder and chairman of the board, died Saturday at age 70.
A company spokeswoman says Tortorice had battled cancer for the last 19 months.
The Beaumont-based company says Tortorice was the grandson of Italian immigrants and it was his father's investment in a little sandwich shop that inspired him to open his own restaurant.
From a single location that opened in Beaumont in 1976, Jason's Deli now has almost 300 locations across the U.S.
Tratorice's oldest son, Jay Tortorice, who inspired the company's name (Jay + son), said in the statement he'll remember his father for being "a dedicated family man, business mentor and inspiration to all who knew him."