Paul Emmett, a leader in South Florida’s restaurant industry and prolific businessman who transformed Duffy’s Sports Grill from a small chain into a fixture of the local community, died peacefully Tuesday morning surrounded by family at his home in Palm Beach, Florida. He was 62.
Paul is survived by his wife of 30 years Geri Emmett, his three children, Heather, Jason and Alexander, his father Jay Emmett and two brothers, Steven and Andrew. He was preceded in death by his mother Martha Emmett.
A native of New York, where he maintained a residence, Paul relocated to South Florida with his family in 1999 after a distinguished 25-year career with Restaurant Associates as president of the company’s sports and entertainment division and president of its Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse chain. Two years later, Paul began his journey to develop Duffy’s Sports Grill into a family of sports-themed restaurants, which today is one of the nation’s largest independently-owned restaurant chains. He was a recognizable and loved figure among employees and patrons, having served for years as the face of the restaurant in the community and on its TV advertisements.
In life, Paul was an avid tennis player, a family man, upstanding citizen and generous philanthropist. He was known throughout South Florida for his commitment to bettering the community by serving on the board of directors for the Palm Beach County Economic Council and the Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
In business, Paul was known as a maverick. His vision for Duffy’s Sports Grill was to create an environment that combined the best in food and sports entertainment. Today, the company mirrors his personal commitment to community by constantly giving back to charity. Driven by Paul’s leadership, Duffy’s Sports Grill now partners with the Special Olympics of South Florida, Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida and Honor Flight of South Florida to support their fundraising activities.
Paul’s memory will continue to live on in the hearts of his family, and every person who visits one of his beloved restaurants will feel his legacy long into the future.
A public celebration of Paul’s life will be held at Christ Fellowship, 5343 Northlake Boulevard, Palm Beach Gardens, FL on Saturday, February 14, 2015 at 10 am. In lieu of flowers, the Emmett family requests that donations be made in Paul’s name to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.