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May 11, 2009 07:36 PM

Rare Chains in New York City (Findings and Request for Advice)

Hi All,

I'm trying to find rare chains in New York City. Either those on the way out or those barely in basically. So far I have:

New York City's last Roy Rogers: The remaining one is right outside Penn Station and eating there is like a trip through time. I wrote up a piece about it here:

New York City's only Chick-Fil-A: It's in a public area of a NYU dining hall right off Washington Square:

Tomorrow my friends and I are going to check out one of the only two Boston Markets in Manhattan, and then I also have the only NYC Church's Chicken near the PABT on the agenda.

Any suggestions on what else to check out? I'd also value rare casual dining chains, as that will be my next venture.

Thanks for your help!

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  1. I find this a very puzzling quest. Basically my question is - why bother? :)

    The great thing about NYC is the abundance of unique restaurants that are the antithesis of corporate food. I'm not a chain snob, but given the choice, I'd try to be adventurous and eat at a one of a type restaurant.

    3 Replies
    1. re: dpan

      It's more of an adventure. 9 times out of 10 I do eat at unique non-chain places, but it's more like a puzzle I'm trying to solve.

      And some of these chains are so rare in New York City, it's almost like they're one of a kind!

      1. re: newkai need to get out of the City more. Chains are the norm everywhere else in the country.

        1. re: dpan

          You want chains? Come out to the mid-west like where I live in Dayton, Ohio. Every intersection you come to: McD's, Wendy's, Arbys and Taco Bell. For a unique dinning experience you come to an intersection that has: McD's, Wendy's, Arby's and KFC. I wish we had someplaces like what you have in NYC.

    2. What about Krispy Kreme? I think those are a dying breed in NYC...


      2 Replies
      1. re: wontonfm

        Good point, thanks! There are a bunch in Penn Station. I don't think there are any of the full-size ones where you can watch the donuts fry though, that'd be great.

        Actually found a "Dunkin' Deli" in a DD/BR near Houston & Hudson. Apparently it's a leftover from the days when DD owned Togo's. I took some pics:

        1. re: newkai

          I used to go to a location on the UES (maybe 3rd just south of 86th) but I just checked the site and it seems to be gone :( The only locations are in Penn.

          RIP Krispy Kreme in NYC

      2. I believe Bon Chon and Kyochon are fried chicken chains in korea with outposts in flushing queens. That would by an interesting addition to your journey.

        1 Reply
        1. re: BaconBits

          Oh, wow, that would be the rarest find yet! I'll look into it, thanks for the tip.

          By the way, I've expanded these adventures into their own blog,

        2. I seemed to remember Arthur Treachers as being tough to find and their website shows only one left in Manhattan - on 14th St.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Enfielder

            Thanks, I'll check it out! I love their fish 'n chips. I've seen a few inside Nathan's... Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and Queens Center Mall I believe. Nathan's owns them now so they appear to be stable, yet still very rare.

            Nathan's also own Kenny Rogers Roasters for awhile. They sold it last year to a Philippine franchiser, where they're blossoming. Nathan's retained the right to operate them inside Nathan's, however, so there's at least one left (sort of), inside the main Coney Island location.

          2. A Miami Subs opened in Jamaica, Queens. I went there yesterday - their menu is huge!

            Submarina California, a chain from out west, is supposed to share space with The Häagen-Dazs on Steinway St in Astoria, but they've had a "coming soon" sign up for months and it doesn't look like anything has been done inside.