Ninety Nine restaurant chain founder dies

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FALMOUTH, Mass. (AP) – Charles Doe, whose Ninety Nine Restaurant & Pub in Boston grew from one location with seven employees to a chain of 111 restaurants and 6,500 employees, has died of cancer. He was 79.

Doe died Sunday at his Cape Cod home in Falmouth.

A native of Watertown, Doe grew up in the restaurant business and struck out on his own in 1952, opening his first restaurant at 99 State St., an address that gave his business its name.

His wife, Shirley, gave the restaurant its logo when she found a horseshoe and they placed it around the 99 on the building’s brick facade for good luck.

Doe expanded from Boston to the suburbs and then to other New England states, including Maine.

The chain, which became part of O’Charley’s Inc. a few years ago, has spread in recent years into New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Besides his wife of 55 years, Doe leaves three sons and three daughters, two sisters and 15 grandchildren.

From offering a few homeless men free meals at the end of the evening and a place sleep in the back, Doe became the largest corporate benefactor to the Pine Street Inn, giving the Boston shelter money, food and volunteer time. He also supported the Boys and Girls Clubs in New England, and Habitat for Humanity in Florida, where he also had a home in Naples.

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