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Seven chains that are on the verge of extinction

Phaedrus Aug 4, 2013 03:38 PM


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  1. j
    judybird RE: Phaedrus Aug 4, 2013 03:43 PM

    We had breakfast at Sambo's in Santa Barbara, probably 30 years ago. We'd never seen USDA Small eggs before. Never went back.

    1 Reply
    1. re: judybird
      ricepad RE: judybird Aug 5, 2013 01:18 AM

      We ate at that Sambo's about a year ago, and it was actually fairly good. Hash browns were nicely browned and crispy on the outside, potato-ey and practically creamy on the inside, and the basket of free mini-muffins was really nice (choco-chip and orange, IIRC). We would probably go back if we ever found ourselves in the area at breakfast time.

    2. r
      roro1831 RE: Phaedrus Aug 4, 2013 05:27 PM

      We have a ground round near Asbury Park

      1. ipsedixit RE: Phaedrus Aug 4, 2013 05:37 PM

        If Bennigans ever vanishes, part of Americana and the traditional Monte Cristo will die a little bit.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ipsedixit
          Veggo RE: ipsedixit Aug 14, 2013 06:32 AM

          RIP Stage Deli in NYC. They had a great Monte Cristo.

        2. tcamp RE: Phaedrus Aug 4, 2013 05:41 PM

          It is hard for me to work up much nostalgia for those chains. Chi-chi's, for instance, totally sucked and wasn't Bennigans pretty much like TGI Fridays? I do have a fond memory of going to a Ground Round in Rochester, MN, when my sister lived there. Fun post-sport venue with peanuts you could eat and toss shells on the ground.

          Sambos....my dad wouldn't let us get anywhere near that one.

          1 Reply
          1. re: tcamp
            rjw_lgb_ca RE: tcamp Aug 14, 2013 10:15 AM

            Chi-Chi's was the kind of Mexican restaurant that would seem exotic and authentic in Minneapolis-- maybe because that's where that culinary chain atrocity started out....

            I have nightmares of cheese-and-sour-cream-and-"guacamole"-covered chimichangas and over-cheesed "nachos" at a Pittsburgh-area Chi-Chi's. Luckily NOT the one where that horrifying Hep-A outbreak occurred.

            Since I moved out to southern CA I have thankfully had much, MUCH better Mexican-American food and don't patronize places like that.

            Steak and Ale...? I remember that place. When you're middle-class and pre-teen, your folks took you there after games, concerts, and for birthdays. Hey, a sit-down joint with stainless-steel utensils! How special. But, as I recall, the steaks were not half-bad. However, my standards back then were damn low...!

          2. ttoommyy RE: Phaedrus Aug 4, 2013 07:34 PM

            I waited tables at a Ground Round in the 80s. One of the worst jobs I ever had!

            2 Replies
            1. re: ttoommyy
              michele cindy RE: ttoommyy Aug 18, 2013 08:41 AM

              I was a hostess at the ground round in West Orange NJ for most of my college years. Lots of fun memories, worked with a great crew of people. I was in charge of making the popcorn, which I have to say was really good when I made it.

              1. re: michele cindy
                ttoommyy RE: michele cindy Aug 18, 2013 01:36 PM

                We had a great crew but the food was so bad that all I did was bring stuff back and deal with unhappy customers.

            2. c
              crewsweeper RE: Phaedrus Aug 5, 2013 04:16 AM

              Steak and Ale was once the "Outback" for the middle class. The place you went to to celebrate those important occassions. Big eaters flocked to their Prime Rib.

              2 Replies
              1. re: crewsweeper
                Tripeler RE: crewsweeper Aug 5, 2013 07:23 AM

                I recall Steak & Ale when I was in high school. Already, it had earned the nickname Ache & Stale among the smartasses I knew.

                1. re: Tripeler
                  michele cindy RE: Tripeler Aug 18, 2013 08:41 AM

                  I worked there for one week, now that was one of the worst jobs I ever had, really bad managers.

              2. Kholvaitar RE: Phaedrus Aug 14, 2013 06:08 AM

                Love's BBQ--

                Gone with my youth.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Kholvaitar
                  chris2269 RE: Kholvaitar Aug 15, 2013 06:32 PM

                  Ahhh Farrells. Used to go to the Escondido location as a kid with my family. Loved the Tin Roof Sunday and anytime someone had a birthday.

                  1. re: Kholvaitar
                    Jase RE: Kholvaitar Aug 15, 2013 08:33 PM

                    Farrell's is attempting to make a comeback. A new ownership group bought them a few years ago and are slowly opening up a few stores in California. See history section on their site


                    1. re: Kholvaitar
                      mucho gordo RE: Kholvaitar Aug 18, 2013 02:08 PM

                      I wish they would bring Love's back. I can still taste their ribs and beans. Superb!

                    2. jrvedivici RE: Phaedrus Aug 14, 2013 06:19 AM

                      "Welcome to Chi-Chi's here are our complimentary chips, with your choice of hot or mild salsa". Oh yea......who has two thumbs and use to be a "sa" (servers assistant) at Chi-Chi's in Woodbridge NJ???? This guy!!!

                      It was a good job till the Woodbridge Police raided the place one night because one of the cooks was selling "pot" out of the back kitchen door. I thought it was odd we were receiving so many parsley and oregano deliveries all night.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: jrvedivici
                        Jerzeegirl RE: jrvedivici Aug 14, 2013 07:06 AM

                        We used to go to that ChiChi's every once in a while. Usually when the line at Jose Tejas was too long & we didn't want to wait. It's now Cheesburger In Paradise/Bonefish Grill.

                        1. re: Jerzeegirl
                          jrvedivici RE: Jerzeegirl Aug 14, 2013 07:11 AM

                          Yes ma'am that's the one! I worked there from 1985-86. Only one year, I broke my leg in football and was in a cast for about 12 weeks, I never returned to work after that.

                          I actually got a job as a cook at the Ponderossa at the Ocean County Mall for a year or two after that.

                          1. re: jrvedivici
                            pine time RE: jrvedivici Aug 14, 2013 07:59 AM

                            I have a bizarre "gift" I received with the Ponderosa logo on it: a Christmas ornament. Guess it was a promo for some dish they served. Funny, but it's never been hung on a Christmas tree, but I still never threw it out.

                            1. re: jrvedivici
                              Jerzeegirl RE: jrvedivici Aug 14, 2013 08:01 AM

                              There was a Ponderosa near my old apartment in Old Bridge. We used to ask if Hop Sing was the cook. They were not amused. Didn't last long, became a night club & that didn't last long either.

                        2. melpy RE: Phaedrus Aug 14, 2013 06:50 AM

                          Our Bennigans became Victoria Gastroppub. Good change if you ask me.

                          1. f
                            flavrmeistr RE: Phaedrus Aug 14, 2013 07:00 AM

                            There is a Ground Round in an otherwise dead shopping mall in Frederick, MD and a Chi-chi's only a few hundred yards away. A Bennigan's opened in Clarksburg, MD about 6 months ago. They all appear to be toddling along. Frederick also has 6 Roy Rogers in operation. Center MD is the home of the undead chains.

                            1. Firegoat RE: Phaedrus Aug 14, 2013 09:15 AM

                              I remember when Steak and Ale closed in Tulsa. It simply didn't update itself to compete when Outback, Longhorn and the like came to town.(Not to mention the excellent locally-owned steak houses) It had the very old fashioned, dark red booths, mens-club atmosphere. I only visited it once. Was sad to see it go, just because it had been around so long, but it wasn't a place i was eager to go visit to actually eat.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Firegoat
                                Veggo RE: Firegoat Aug 14, 2013 09:34 AM

                                Now you have me really missing J.J. Cale.

                                1. re: Veggo
                                  Firegoat RE: Veggo Aug 14, 2013 10:23 AM

                                  Now I'm depressed. I didn't realize he had passed. :(

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