Restaurant chains that are no more

irish_buffalo

Well-known member

Do not recall most of these. We still have a couple Frisch's Big Boy's in my neck of the woods. Chi-Chis and Ponderosa are ones I recogonize (I miss Ponderosa TBH).

In NWOhio there was a small Midwest chain called Sveden House which was dynamite smorgasbord style. We also had Rax, Ya-Ya's Chicken, and Original Pancake Houses. Godfather Pizza is another but they still have some down South and in Florida.

Be curious to hear some others?
 

NothingButTheTruth

Well-known member
Kenny Roger's Roasters was awesome. They had the best chicken pot pie, which came in a bread bowl. They gave you the bowl top and insides for dipping into the pot pie.
 

Zunardo

Well-known member
Interesting list. I'm sure of them were in other geographical areas. I'd forgotten about Minnie Pearl's chicken, just remembered her in the TV ads for it.

OldSoulon is correct, Sambo's was a great breakfast joint. Unfortunate name choice. I had assumed it was named for the Little Black Sambo character. Did not know it was a portmanteau of the owners' names, someone should have advised them to pick something else. If not for that, they might still be around today.
 

Foster

Active member
Interesting list. I'm sure of them were in other geographical areas. I'd forgotten about Minnie Pearl's chicken, just remembered her in the TV ads for it.

OldSoulon is correct, Sambo's was a great breakfast joint. Unfortunate name choice. I had assumed it was named for the Little Black Sambo character. Did not know it was a portmanteau of the owners' names, someone should have advised them to pick something else. If not for that, they might still be around today.
Sambo's did have a dark-skinned South Indian boy as their mascot.
 

Zunardo

Well-known member
Sambo's did have a dark-skinned South Indian boy as their mascot.
Wow. I can’t remember the signage or logo, just that the walls in front of the kitchen had red tile.

That building still stands today and the red tile is still there. . After Sambo’s folded quickly, it’s been a pizza joint, a blue plate diner, a Wings and Rings, and a Mexican joint for the last 15 years.
 

Zunardo

Well-known member
Went to the last standing Arthur Treachers last week.
Where was that at?

I remember one still in operation in Reynoldsburg 30 years ago. There’s another one in Grandview still recognizable but it’s privately owned as Marino’s Seafood and Chips.
 

hubman

Well-known member
Cuyahoga Falls, OH
Where was that at?

I remember one still in operation in Reynoldsburg 30 years ago. There’s another one in Grandview still recognizable but it’s privately owned as Marino’s Seafood and Chips.
Cuyahoga Falls, OH just north of Akron.
 

Mr. Slippery

Well-known member
When we lived in Columbus and they’d show browns games we’d go to Damon’s to watch Bengals games and spend the whole day there.
In college, my buddy would watch Steelers games at the Damon's near Delaware. If the Browns weren't usually playing at the same time, I'd have likely gone with him just to hang out. Was a lot of fun on Sundays in the fall living in a frat house with guys from all over the country. Had guys who were fans of the: Patriots, Giants, Eagles, 'skins, Steelers, Browns, Lions, Bears, Cowboys, Seahawks, and Vikings. My pledge trainer worked for the Jaguars and later the Bengals before I lost track of him.

What I remember most about Ponderosa was always getting sick a few hours after eating there. Burger Chef was the fast food burger of choice growing up, probably because it was the closest option to home. We ate at Chi Chi's, but I wasn't a big fan of Mexican food, not even the neutered variety that Chi Chi's served.
 
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chs1971

Well-known member
Ponderosa - #1=sirloin, #2=rib eye, #3=chopped steak. That was the whole menu.

Burger Chef - Many in NW OHIO before any McD's. How do you screw that up?

I've been to that Arthur Treacher's in Cuyahoga Falls. I wish they were still around.

Big Boy is still around

Isaly's - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaly's

Red Barn - I remember one in Sandusky.

L & K - Seems like they were all over NW Ohio.

Friendly's - Used to be several around. Now all in the NE states.

Dutch Pantry -Two remain in central PA. In NW Ohio Fricker's bought the empty buildings and moved in.
 

EagleGuy

Well-known member
Bennigan's - One in Steubenville according to their website with foreign locations and planned openings. Gone from my city.

Big Boy - We had a Shoney's BB for a long time. Even the Shoney's near the airport is closed.

Burger Chef - I remember the name, but can't recall if I have ever seen one. Maybe, I don't go back that far. :)

HoJo's - Still here in the same location near the Coly. I remember a good friend of mine working a second job there as the night manager years ago.

Kenny Rogers' - Only know from Seinfeld.

Lum's - Did not know until now that the one here had closed. Wow!

Ponderosa/Bonanza - Gone. Guess I'll have to start going to Ruth's Chris.

White Tower - The History Channel mentioned this copy of White Castle on the Burger King/McDonald's segment.

The rest I have not heard of.

As an aside, a long-time local cafeteria (two locations) just closed. Volume down was it's demise.




In the small town I grew up in (debatable), we had a Dairy Queen (still there), Isaly's (see post above) and Red Barn. Fun times.
 
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irish_buffalo

Well-known member
What I remember most about Ponderosa was always getting sick a few hours after eating there.
Ponderosa - #1=sirloin, #2=rib eye, #3=chopped steak. That was the whole menu.
Ponderosa/Bonanza - Gone. Guess I'll have to start going to Ruth's Chris.
Hah! on all three accounts.

I have a soft spot in my heart for Ponderosa. We would often go there after church and the ability to make a suicide pop, grab as many wing-dings, and create your own sundae was the stuff of legends. My siblings and I musta looked like feral animals coming through the door. Plus we just did not go out to eat often so it was always a big deal. They still have several in Illinois and Wisconsin maybe? I'm sure if I went today or had a time machine I'd wonder why the heck I loved it so much?
 
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irish_buffalo

Well-known member
Sveden House still makes my mouth water. Toledo had three at one point. Michigan had a bunch. Always had a guy in a chef's hat at the end of the smorgasbord carving roast beef. We might have gone there two times a year. Usually for special events like a baptism or something.

 

Mr. Slippery

Well-known member
Hah! on all three accounts.

I have a soft spot in my heart for Ponderosa. We would often go there after church and the ability to make a suicide pop, grab as many wing-dings, and create your own sundae was the stuff of legends. My siblings and I musta looked like feral animals coming through the door. Plus we just did not go out to eat often so it was always a big deal. They still have several in Illinois and Wisconin maybe? I'm sure if I went today or had a time machine I'd wonder why the heck I loved it so much?
To be clear, when I say Ponderosa made me sick, I mean like violently ill (vomiting) as opposed to achy stomach that goes away if given enough time to sit around and digest. It was always the Grand Buffet for me.

The other buffet establishments (Old Country, HomeTown, and Golden Corral) never made me sick like that.
 

hubman

Well-known member
Loved Burger Chef, used to be one on West Market here in Akron.

Another one that didn't make the list York Steakhouse, which I loved as a kid, that was our version of upscale dining growing up. Found one a few years ago in Columbus, while dropping a kid off at school. It was just as I remembered it, but my kids were not impressed :(
 

Mackinbiner

Well-known member
Loved Burger Chef, used to be one on West Market here in Akron.

Another one that didn't make the list York Steakhouse, which I loved as a kid, that was our version of upscale dining growing up. Found one a few years ago in Columbus, while dropping a kid off at school. It was just as I remembered it, but my kids were not impressed :(
Burger Chef had the Big Shef and the Super Shef sandwiches. At least some of their sandwiches were served in a see through plastic type of baggie.
 

19AL63

Well-known member
How about Royal Castle they had Birch beer in frosted mugs and 15 cent hamburger that made the others taste sad.
 

ohiopup

Well-known member
Loved Burger Chef, used to be one on West Market here in Akron.

Another one that didn't make the list York Steakhouse, which I loved as a kid, that was our version of upscale dining growing up. Found one a few years ago in Columbus, while dropping a kid off at school. It was just as I remembered it, but my kids were not impressed :(
York is still open, just a stone's throw from the casino on the West side.
 

cjb5656

Well-known member
Burger Chef got a lot of family traffic due to the Fun Meal and Fun Burger. McD’s took notice and the Happy Meal was born. Life was a little simpler back then, so kids loved anything that came with a little extra. Hence the hey-day of prizes in boxes of cereal. That was a huge deal back then.

And I agree with the previous poster who wondered how Burger Chef could have screwed it all up so badly as to fold?
 

111411

Moderator
Burger Chef got a lot of family traffic due to the Fun Meal and Fun Burger. McD’s took notice and the Happy Meal was born. Life was a little simpler back then, so kids loved anything that came with a little extra. Hence the hey-day of prizes in boxes of cereal. That was a huge deal back then.

And I agree with the previous poster who wondered how Burger Chef could have screwed it all up so badly as to fold?
I have memories of crusin' the Chef parking lot, along with other, now 60+ year olds, back in the 70's.
 
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