Defunct restraurunt chains and other franchises

I was thinking about places that really can’t be marked on the atlas because they simply no longer exist so I’m starting a thread for fond memories of popular has-been franchises, old regional favorites with many locations. Might not be a restaurant but some similar line that would be recognizable, for example I think there’s still one Blockbuster store open somewhere. Maybe one or two re-purposed buildings can still be found that still show the design of that brand or photos and memorabilia can be shared too.

I’ll kick off with Burger Chef, which once had 1200 locations and was surpassed by McDonalds in 1972. They even sued McDonalds for copying their “fun meal” which had included restaurant theme characters and toys. Eventually Burger Chef was pretty much absorbed into Hardee’s and the last one closed in the 1990’s.

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“There’s more to like at Burger Chef.”
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This is a great topic! Honestly, I miss Suncoast Video. I used to spend hours in there browsing the tapes. Sigh.

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This blog is a must-read on the subject:

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Oh man, Rax and so much more. LOL

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In highschool we went to the mall every Saturday, when it closed at 9 we would walk over to this beauty and listen to music until they closed. Ah…life was so simple once upon a time in Virginia.

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Mine are mostly bookstores.

Borders
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Waldenbooks

Olsson’s Books & Records

Trover Shop (I have a long story related to this book and office supplies store)
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B. Dalton
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Oh Borders… I worked at a number of Borders for years! I also distinctly remember buying all my first comics at Waldenbooks. I bought Infinity Gauntlet #1 off of a rack there. Also, hi @AnyaPH!

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Wow Waldenbooks…classic

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I went a-googling Bullwinkle’s Pizza recently and was AMAZED to find out that some still exist.
Bullwinkle’s was like Chuck E. Cheese, but with Jay Ward characters. An animatronic show, a fountain show, arcade, cheap pizza…but with Cold War humor.
There are apparently three that still exist in the Pacific Northwest as Family Fun Centers (with Bullwinkle’s Restaurant) and two that are simple pizza restaurants in Alaska (?). Here’s a picture of the one I went to as a kid.

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Videogamer Kid Me cries for Global Video (where we rented VHS tapes but, most importantly, SNES and PlayStation games) and Electronics Boutique, where my brother and I bought videogames galore.

The latter ceased to be as a franchise, bought out by Game if I remember rightly. As for Global Video, it’s now an Asda supermarket carpark. Like so many childhoods, pulled down and buried beneath tarmac but, hey, I still have my happy memories of Diddy Kong Quest…

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Oh my, the Tralfamadore needs to track down one of these collectors Meet the dude who perfectly recreated an ‘80s ‘ShowBiz Pizza’ in rural Mississippi | Dangerous Minds
Place isn’t open as a business or even private tours as far as I can tell so just like this discussion thread - can’t really put it on the AO map but I guess if someone does then I should get credit :wink:

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Update: he DOES have a website and takes appointment. So article is being drafted now :slight_smile:

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Oh wow. I had no idea, but this is great!

There’s a whole ShowBiz Pizza subculture out there that astounds me. People collect the hell out of this stuff. This guy has outdone them all, though.
I’ve got a kid these days and have been to more Chuck E. Cheeses than I care to count. They’re a shadow of what they once were. Most of them don’t have robots anymore. They just show videos and have a costumed Chuck E. come out on occasion.

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I’m dying to know just one thing, does Bulwinkle’s have a Boris and Natasha? Seeing them would make my day.

Look at the faux totem carving at the top of the center stage in my first post. They’re animated and they talk.

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Ah, they kind of blend in there so I didn’t catch that. :slight_smile:

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Border’s Bookstores
Tower Records
Blockbuster Video
Bob’s Big Boy restaurants
Coco’s restaurants (my mother’s favorite)
A&W Rootbeer stands (yes, there are a few still around, but none near me).
Sambo’s
Clifton’s Cafeteria (So. Cal)
Love’s Barbecue
Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor

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So does anyone (who’s not in Cali since the last one just closed there this year!) remember Farrell’s Old Time Ice-cream Parlors?? It was the ONLY place you could get the biggest jawbreaker EVER!! We had tons cause they were too big to put in your mouth, lol! We’d keep them in the icebox until they’d mysteriously disappear (?!?). That would’ve been my Mom but we always set traps for the “jawbreaker taker” as our supply dwindled, lol oh man had I known there was still 1 open in Cali my cuz would’ve kept me in jawbreaker heaven!! Best thing there in reality was the ZOO, it just wasn’t a birthday unless you had 5lbs of every flavored ice cream in a ginormous silver bowl brought out to you via 2servers on the specially built “Zoo Caravan” with all the bells and whistles (ok kazoos) while everyone cheered, clapped and laughed their desserts off! Man, those were great times & yet I was saddened to hear that the very last one JUST closed (I’m talking 2019 just!), I bet it would’ve made a great comeback with all the themed parties that people have today. Old Time player piano, handlebar mustaches, & all the penny candy you could think of to choose from… (as long as you didn’t forget the jawbreaker) we’re talking childhood heaven folks, now it’s officially just a great memory…sad. I guess you can always throw a party w/the theme, it wouldn’t be the same , not to mention a bit costly just from trying to get all those varieties of ice cream alone!! LOL great topic!! :v:t3:

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Bobs Big Boys still active, limited theme business alas BUT active, NOT lost.
On way to Vegas on 215 Frwy & in Burbank CA area

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