Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Defunct-y Chicken

A somewhat poignant list of defunct restaurant chains in the US.

How many do you remember patronizing? I can come up with nine for which I have (sometimes) fond memories :

1) Burger Chef - Burger Chef and Jeff were the cartoon mascots. The Yumbo, a ham-and-gloopy-cheese on a toasted sesame seed bun, rocked my world.

2) Chi-Chi's - I know I've eaten at Chi-Chi's, but I other than the episode below of WKRP In Cincinnati, where news director Les Nessman pronounces pro golfer Chi Chi Rodriguez's name as "Chy Chy Rod-wa-gweeze", I got nothin'.

3) Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour - There was a Farrell's at the Scottsdale Mall in South Bend, IN, and we used to beg Mom and Dad to go there on a semi-regular basis. We always wanted to but never had the courage to order The Zoo, which was comprised of 8-and-a-half pounds of ice cream (I remember it was supposed to be 21 scoops), and was brought out with sirens and alarms and run out to you in a stretcher by two Farrell's employees.

I've tracked down one of their old commercials from their heyday in the mid-Seventies.

4) Henry's Hamburgers had over 200 locations in the early 1960s, even more at that time than McDonalds. When I was but a wee lad, I used to beg my parents to stop at the one in nearby Benton Harbor (MI). Sadly, it was around that time in the mid-1970s that Henry's fortunes took a precipitous fall, and that Benton Harbor store is the sole remaining Henry's. They kept their sweet neon sign, though.

(image source All Things Michigan)

5) Kenny Rogers Roasters - If it's good enough for Kramer, it's good enough for me.

6) Mr. Fables - mostly confined to the West Michigan/Grand Rapids/Holland area. Ate there maybe twice. Meh.

7) Sambo's - Come for the pancakes, stay for the quasi-racist overtones!

8) Showbiz Pizza Place - In the 1980s, Showbiz was a competitor with, and was eventually subsumed by, Chuck E. Cheese's. At this point I was really too old to be there for the creepy animatronic bear band or the crappy pizza, but it was the height of the video game arcade era (younger readers, think of the abandoned arcade in last year's Tron), and there was a pretty extensive arcade within the friendly confines of Showbiz Pizza Place (or as we smart-assedly dubbed it, Slowbuzz Pizza Face).

9) York Steak House - In the mid-80s, my friend John and I used to frequent the York Steak House tucked inside the now-circling-the-toilet Orchards Mall. Chopped steak and a baked potato. Cute waitress that John asked out once or twice, if memory serves.

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