Beefsteak Charlie’s began in Manhattan in 1910, gaining fame for its all-you-can-eat salad and shrimp, accompanied by sangria, beer, and wine.
However, the restaurant’s generous offerings led to financial struggles and it closed its doors in 2010.
TCBY, known for being the first frozen yogurt shop, faced financial difficulties and filed for bankruptcy protection in 2008. Consequently, over 1,300 stores shut down, leaving only 405 locations by 2011.
Minnie Pearl’s Chicken
Minnie Pearl’s Chicken, a fast food chain designed to compete with KFC, struggled due to menu and recipe issues. It eventually closed down.
Horn & Hardart
Horn & Hardart, known for its automated fast food service, closed its last location in 1991.
Burger Chef, once a popular chain, declined in quality and lost to its competitor, McDonald’s. Following financial troubles, it was sold and eventually became Hardee’s.
Henry’s Hamburgers, originally an extension of an ice cream company, closed after failing to sustain its popularity.
Henry’s Hamburgers aimed to compete with McDonald’s by offering cheap meals, despite not having a drive-in or a diverse menu as McDonald’s did. However, the company started losing ground to its competitor, which led to the closure of many of its store locations, with only one store remaining in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
Howard Johnson’s, also known as “Hojo’s,” was a prominent restaurant chain known for its distinct building designs and peaked roofs. At its peak, it had over 1,000 locations nationwide and offered a unique dining experience.
Official All-Star Café
The Official All-Star Cafe, owned by Planet Hollywood, grew rapidly to 10 locations, including high-traffic areas like Times Square and Walt Disney World. Planet Hollywood enlisted popular sports icons to invest in the cafe, aiming to create a haven for sports enthusiasts. However, the concept didn’t last long, and all chains were closed in 2007 due to declining popularity.
VIP’s, a fast-food chain based in Oregon, gained popularity for being both a coffee shop and a diner. With over 53 locations nationwide, it offered a convenient dining destination for travelers along the freeway. Unfortunately, it started declining in the early 1980s and eventually sold 35 of its locations to Denny’s.
Roadhouse Grill, a popular casual dining steakhouse, was found in major interstate interchanges across the eastern United States. However, the chain filed for bankruptcy in 2007 and was forced into liquidation in 2008, leading to the closure of its last 20 locations.
Isaly’s, renowned for its chipped chopped ham and the invention of the Klondike Bar, was a beloved restaurant chain founded in the 19th century. Despite its sad demise, it remains a cherished memory for many.
Schrafft’s had at least 43 locations on the East Coast by 1937, mostly in New York City, but they also had some chains in Philadelphia and Boston. The company started declining in the 1980s and unfortunately did not stand a chance against its competitors, leading to its closure.
Red Barn was known for its distinctive red barn-like buildings and became quite popular due to its unique dining experience. It had over 400 locations during its prime, but currently, there is only one location left in Wisconsin, Racine, now named The Farm.
Lum’s first launched in 1956 in Miami Beach as a normal hot dog stand and then grew in popularity with over 400 company-owned franchise restaurants by 1969, including locations in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Unfortunately, due to their rapid expansion, they eventually filed for bankruptcy, leading to the closure of all their original stores by 1982.
Steak and Ale
Steak and Ale was founded in 1966 in Dallas, Texas, and became popular for serving affordable and delicious steaks. However, their attempt to keep up with competition led to lowering prices and offering free meals, eventually leading to the closure of the last location in 2008. The parent company began offering franchises in early 2017, aiming to revive the brand.
White Tower, founded in 1922, closely imitated White Castle in its concept and even took inspiration from their advertising methods, style, and architecture. With 230 locations in the 1950s, many closed due to legal action against them, and the last location closed in 2004.
Gino’s Hamburgers was opened by football hall-of-famer Gino Marchetti in 1957, and it grew in popularity with over 300 locations mostly on the East Coast. The chain became a culinary mainstay, with its slogan “Everybody goes to Gino’s.”
In the 1960s, Gino’s Hamburgers and Chicken was a popular fast food chain in the Midwest, but unfortunately, everything was short-lived.
Eventually, the burger joint was sold to Marriott, which then converted all Gino’s locations into Roy Rogers restaurants.
Sambo’s was founded in 1957 and experienced healthy growth on the West Coast. There were over 1,100 locations open by the late 1970s.
The name started to spread to the northeast, where it became quite popular. Although it was famous for the food, most people know Sambo’s for the controversy surrounding its name.
D’Lites was founded in 1978 and, within less than a decade, the fast food chain had soon expanded to over 100 locations nationwide.
Unfortunately, their success was very short-lived due to their inability to offer people healthier food options.
Sandy’s first opened its doors in Central Illinois in 1956, established by four businessmen named Gus “Brick” Lundberg, Robert C. Wenger, Paul White and W. K. Davidson. In the Midwest, Sandy’s was the ancestor of the Hardee’s chain.
Originally, the four owners wanted to open McDonald’s franchises, but because the area they were going for was too high in traffic (which resulted in higher fees to pay), they decided not to pursue the idea further.
The name was inspired by Wimpy from the Popeye Cartoon, which was created by E.C. Segar. Sadly, all the Wimpy locations in the United States started going under after the death of the owner.
While the rights and trademark were never purchased from the Gold’s after the owners death, there are still some locations open in the UK.
Reading Wetson’s slogans “Look for the Orange Circles,” and “Buy a bagful,” might make you feel a bit of déjà vu. Especially if we remind you of the very similar, pre-existing slogans of McDonald’s and White Castle respectively.
Overall, Wetson’s was a mixture of all the fast-food joints put together.
Childs was founded by Samuel Childs in New York City in 1889. The company grew in popularity during the 1920s and 1930s, with 125 locations serving over 50 million meals annually. The restaurant chain had a nautical theme in some of its more famous locations.
In the 1940s, the company went bankrupt but continued operating. It was later transformed into the Hotel Corporation of America and eventually sold off to other companies in the 1960s.
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