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Restaurants Closing

For whatever reason...loss of lease, slow sales...

1. Hops
2. Vinnie T's
3. Macaroni Grill in West Hartford

and I heard Hooters in Manchester might be next...not sure how to put my concern into words on this one...devastating...

I do think we are in a recession...the margins on these business' are so tight that a poor sales month can make the corporate office close them up...and december sales were horrendous.

The people have to start relizing that support for locally owned businesses and especially restaurants is one of the most important ways to ensure local econimies are not impacted by decisions made in Boston, Houston, and Tampa...

I am sure Highland Park Market in Evergreen Walk is just primed and ready to compete with the new Walmart Supercenter at Buckland Hills...it has been a tough road for them...

Buy something local and support local business.

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  1. Macaroni Grill in W.H.'s lease was not renewed, nor any other tenents there. There is going to be a huge re-development in Bishops Corner, including Stop & Shop and rumors are a Target. The owners are not renewing leases. Chains constantly come and go, so don't pity them. Most of the chain food is pre-made and bagged. Macaroni Grill is not in that mold, but your Ruby Tuesday's, etc... do. I agree that small businesses MUST be supported. Too many good restaurants are finding it harder to compete and don't have the financial backing of your big wigs.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rrdrums

      rrdrums is right, the reason the Mac Grill closed is their lease wasn't renewed pending a redevelopment of the area. This article provides more info. on the plans for Bishop's Corner:


      1. re: rrdrums

        Macaroni grills food is mostly pre-made and bagged

      2. Vinny T's is kaput but a new restaurent is opening soon in Manchester. It's called Hartford Road Pizza. Considering there are at least 7 other Italian/Pizza joints within a mile of this place, I'm wondering what niche this place thinks they are going to fill?

        3 Replies
        1. re: Waquoit

          Vinny T's is closing near the Maine Mall in South Portland too. I'm pretty sure they've always been busy so maybe it's a company thing. Perhaps if they didn't give you enough pasta for 8 people in a single dish, they could have saved money.

          1. re: grittys457

            Also I heard they are closing on in Boston.Not sure which one. Earle Ct.

            1. re: grittys457

              So many different factors play into the decision to close a regional franchise like Vinny Ts. It could be countless things like the investment group seeing a better ROI in other ventures, and the margins on the restaurant business being too thin to generate significant proceeds for a sale, so its tidier to shut the door and sell the equipment or reuse it in a new venture. Often times with regional chains like Burger King in the greater Portland area a few years ago, or Quiznos in the Northeast, the sale/collasp of the business has less to do about sales volume and more to do with the banking condition of the ownership group.

              Without a doubt the restaurant market - especially in the midmarket segment is getting slaughtered by high gas prices, especially in the Northeast where so many middle-income families drive trucks and SUVs. For many people the extreme-high gas prices are coming straight out of a family's entertainment/eating out budget - whether they know it or not!

          2. I heard Vinny Ts by Maine Mall is closing, but they weren't very busy the couple of times I went there. But, the one in Worcester area was hugely busy, wonder if that Vinny Ts is closing too? Mac Grill in Maine Mall area does a great business, and has food that I think is a cut above the typical chain fare. We used to go alot when our daughter was younger, certainly hope it isn't closing!

            1 Reply
            1. re: maina

              they also closed the VT's in brookline ma as well as sev others
              no great loss
              in their hayday their food was fair to passable AT BEST and over the years
              well lets just say purina approached them for their recipes they want to bring out a new line of pet food

            2. There used to be a Hops in Independence, MO that had the absolute best Cheddar Ale soup, but it's been closed down for quite a few years. I think that other, larger Microbrewery chains have taken over (see: Granite City) and people tend to flock to whatever is new. Rock Bottom Brewery comes to mind... When it used to be open, you could call and make reservations, and they would cheerily greet you, "Hello, you've hit Rock Bottom!" Those were the days...

              Recipes, Restaurant Reviews, Food News and More - http://www.epicureforum.com

              1 Reply
              1. re: sirregular

                I think national brewhouse chains are an oxymoron...beer tastes best brewed by local peole who have to see the people they serve it to every day...

                I went to Vinnie T's when they first opened and had a meatball grinder...three ping pong balls of bread crumbs on a stale roll..never went back.

              2. The closing of those Vinny T's locations actually make sense if you refer to this article written when it was first acquired back in '06

                10 Replies
                1. re: jcormie1

                  I heard that Portland area had the distinction of being the only location in which a Red Lobster couldn't make it and had to close (yeah!!).Vinny Ts in South Portland was mediocre at best, and not very crowded the 2 times I went. Not surprised they closed. Thought maybe other Vinny Ts were better, but maybe not. Won't be missed at all. Another restaurant, called East Side Marios (I think that's right name) also closed in South Portland. Think that is a chain, also with Italian fast food. Not sure if whole chain closed, or just South Portland location. All restaurants mentioned were in Maine Mall area.

                  1. re: maina

                    Mall sales everywhere were terrible last season...restaurants who locate in those areas all felt the pain...margins for these businesses are so tight a small drop is the death knell...

                    If you ever have the chance to see the details of a lease agreement with a mall or shopping center...they are usually structured so that as the unit increases sales...a higher and higher proportion of the gross sales...not profit, are returned to the landlord.

                    Greed generates greed...mediocrity breeds mediocrity...they get what they deserve...and malls are the next thing to die...

                    1. re: maina

                      "I heard that Portland area had the distinction of being the only location in which a Red Lobster couldn't make it and had to close (yeah!!)."

                      Actually once upon a time East Hartford, CT had a Red Lobster on Silver Lane but that closed several years ago.

                      I am not surprised at Macaroni Grill closing in W. Hartford if only because of the highly fattening nature of the food and the nature of the clientele. Everything on the menu has 70 grams of fat in it, I mean it, even the Chicken Marsala (that beats Olive Garden's by about 20 grams per serving). A lot of bad press about this has probably made people stay away, including myself.

                      1. re: maina

                        East Side Marios had a restaurant in Seekonk,Mass. and Providence,R.I.They both closed as they should have.The worst of a chain.There was a Red Lobster in East Providence,R.I. and also in Warwick,R.I.They both closed as well.I have eaten at all four of these locations and they are right where they should be.Just for the record,they were all in very busy locations and the only one still vacant is the East Side Marios in Providence.I don't think there is a Red Lobster North of Hartford,Conn.to the Canadian border.In Florida,there is a Red Lobster on every corner,and the wait is usually 2 hours for dinner.What do they know ?I have never eaten at Vinny T's but I heard it was just O.K.Ironically,I think Vinny T's took over the spot at East Side Marios in Seekonk.

                        1. re: raf945

                          Red Lobster is perfect for places that have no access to fresh seafood (I'm thinking Kansas), but it always seemed weird to me that they would open sites in New England (I'm around Hartford). Not surprising that they have nothing north of me. I'm amazed to hear that with all the fresh seafood in Fla, people will wait 2 hrs for Red Lobster!

                        2. re: maina

                          red lobster had a place in tyingborough mass right on the nashua nh border you could spit from their parking lot and it would land in nh right on the line anyway they closed about 4-5yrs ago
                          and about 4 decades ago their was one on rt1 in saugus ma
                          same with long john silvers 25 yrs ago there were a few here they dried up now they are sneaking back in
                          seafood is a tough thing people that live in the new eng. and new york area are very picky about their fish and chains like that never have done well here

                          1. re: raf945

                            i believe there is one in salem nh now yuk

                            1. re: foodperv

                              Anyone read "Last Night at the Lobster" by Stewart O'Nan? It's a pretty brief little novel about the closing of a Red Lobster in New Britain, CT. I'd recommend it to anyone who's ever worked at a chain restaurant, or can appreciate those who do. I'm not giving anything away to say the main character ends up working at an Olive Garden.

                              A Red Lobster closed in Enfield CT a few years ago. What took its place?

                              Olive Garden.

                              1. re: edub23

                                When the Red Lobster closed in Enfield, a barbq place from W. Springfield came in to open their second location. It was AWFUL. That did not last long, it stayed empty quite awhile then the Hazard Grill opened. Rod and John do a great job there. John makes all the soups and they are terrific. My only complain when I lived that way and ate there often, was the menu NEVER changed. Even the daily specials were the same from one day/week to another.

                                1. re: sallyct

                                  Red Lobster closed more than 10 yrs ago in Bangor( Long John's even longer ago) I read some where that Maine and Alaska were the only 2 states w/o a Red Lobster. The same company owns Olive Garden too, with 157000, employees, the largest restaurant corp., started, of course near Orlando! Why can't it close in New England too? A new Taco Bell opened last week in good ol' Ellsworth, Maine and the natives are having a feeding frenzy!
                                  I regret to announce the passing of Duffy's Restaurant on Rt1 in East Orland, Me. Home of great finnan haddie, meat loaf, berger w/ chourico and home made pies!

                        3. I think the economy has something to do with it, but you have to admit they have also saturated that area with restaurants in recent years. Smoky Bones, Red Robin, Carrabba's, Texas Roadhouse, Burton's Grill and Ted's Montana Grill have all opened within the past year or two. Just how many full service restaurants can that one area support? Something had to give. It's a shame that Hops had to go. At one time their food was good, but it had been slipping in recent years.

                          1. I can't say that I am sorry to see Mac Grill closed - I was amazed it was open as long as it was. The only meal I had there took 2 hours and the entree was swimming in a pool of faux butter - YECH!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: NE_Elaine

                              As to the before mentioned Hartford Road Pizza in Manchester opening ,it is now open. Not sure how the food is or how its doing, Maybe some on else can enlighten us. But it is now open!

                            2. So, let me try to understand what's happening here. The closing of Macaroni Grill and Hooter's is a bad thing?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Jimmy Cantiello

                                It's not necessarily a bad thing, depending upon how one feels about it, but perhaps it is a sign of the times and so worthy of some discussion.

                                1. re: ntuitive1

                                  Of course, I was being facetious. I think places like the Macaroni Grill and Hooter's add nothing to the dining landscape. Those types of places are just dumbed downed versions of real restaurants. I say good riddance.

                              2. Also in Maine Mall area - TGIFridays and Lonestar Steakhouse have closed. Not sad to see either one of those go. Looks like they're doing some renovations on old Lonestar bldg, wonder what is going in there? Another chain rest? Would love to get a good quality, casual (non chain) restaurant in that area.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: maina

                                  Macaroni Grill is getting ready to announce another closing in CT...can anyone guess where this one is?

                                  1. re: sodagirl

                                    Does anyone know what happened to texas roadhouse in hartford ct, I just drove bt there and they were closed, I have never been there but everytime I drove by it was PACKED.

                                    1. re: girliejg

                                      Business was bad from what I could see. Weekend evenings were always packed, but mid-week and lunches were DEAD. My family is very disappointed -- to say the least. Wish they had picked a better spot -- near Westfarms. Might have had more consistent biz. Manchester still doing well near the movie theater...

                                      1. re: mallomarmom

                                        If you have a craving for the Texas Roadhouse food, there is still one located on Allen Street in Springfield.

                                        1. re: lonborgfan

                                          Add a new one to the list of "Another Bites the Dust" Macaroni grill in Manchester is closing at the end of this month. I guess the economy isn't to good after all.

                                          1. re: Earle

                                            An institution is closing in Saco, Maine -- Cascade Restaurant. Has been open for decades, primarily known of lobster dinners. Had cabins out in back. Never ate there myself, but know it was venue for many weddings, parties, etc over the yrs.

                                            1. re: Earle

                                              I don't think it is a sign of the economy at all, in the Manchester area there is a chain restaurant every 100 feet. I am not a fan of any chain and do my best to avoid them, but I would put Macaroni Grill in the bottom 5 of them all, so I am not surprised.

                                  2. I'd like to see Highland Park Market flourish, esp. since they are one of the only specialty markets in the area. Every time I go in there on weeknights, it is dead. Sad.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: xilinxchic

                                      I would not be surprised to see someone buy out HPM in Evergreen Walk...maybe a Whole Foods or something...it is dragging down the whole chain and many positions have been cut...Geislers Market is the Highland Park of South Windsor and has the local following.

                                      With Supermarkets becomming so involved in take home meals...I expect to see a contibuation of the transformation of the industry...the margins for groceries are just non-existent...

                                      1. re: sodagirl

                                        Agreed, and I would think that spot is begging for a Trader Joe's. WF in Glastonbury is in reasonable proximity. It's unfortunate that Highland Park is struggling there, but it's not a surprise. While it's nice-looking, and great service, in the end it's just a grocery store. People going to Evergreen are not doing their everyday shopping, they're going for the "experience" of higher-end retail.

                                    2. RE: HPM in Evergreen..They haven't made a mistake yet. There are very big plans for residential development in the area, some right IN Evergreen! I think they will stick, especially in view of the fact that the Gbury store is (was) in the middle of nowhere and didn't take off immediately. On another point: A few years ago Consumer Reports reviewed around 80 mid level "family" type restaurants. Many I had never heard of since I don't travel out west much, but Macaroni Grill was rated highest of the ones I DID recognize. Pizzeria Uno (ugh) was right near bottom. Interesting what closes and what doesn't.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: thos

                                        If HPM can hold on it is a great group of people...had some good meals at MG...some bad ones at PU...the inititials sort of hold true...for my experience.

                                      2. I happened to be talking to a friend who is a business broker and jokingly said that the only business I would LESS rather be in these days than mine (I'm in the building supply industry) is the restaurant business. Without flinching, he told me that 90% of the restaurants in downtown New Haven are currently for sale, either as businesses listed with firms like his or through word of mouth. It is clear that nobody is exempt from the current economic environment. Even the absolute best-of-the-best restaurants are suffering. I received an email from Ibiza last week announcing that they would no longer be open for lunch on a daily basis, only on Fridays. In discussions with a friend who is in the wholesale gourmet coffee business, he told me that 90% of his time is now spent trying to collect past due invoices from his customers, most of whom are restaurants and many are among the "elite."
                                        No...it's not a pretty picture out there, and there are undoubtedly going to be a number of additional victims of the economy in the restaurant industry.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: lsnhc

                                          It's everything in general. Not just restaurants.

                                          1. re: lsnhc

                                            I thought in the past that Ibiza was only open for lunch on Thursdays? But I haven't been there for awhile. Lunch there was very nice, and a bit cheaper than dinner.