5 Chain Restaurants Bucking The Tide And Still Hanging On

5 Chain Restaurants Bucking The Tide And Still Hanging On

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Okay, so they’re not your go-to place for celebrations, late-night munchies, or ready-made comfort food. These restaurant chains have made a name for themselves over the years, although that name is probably less well-recognized than McDonalds or Subway. Check out the chains that are still out there (even if they’re hard to find) and still facing down the restaurant goliaths. Read on for these restaurant relics serving reliably good food at a price that won’t take a big bite out of your budget…

Photo: Flickr.com/jwalsh


After the first Quiznos opened in Denver in 1981, the chain’s tasty, toasty subs could be found in the U.S. and around the world. In recent years, Quiznos shops have been closing at a rapid pace; the chain took a beating during the 2008 recession and filed for bankruptcy in 2014. As of January 2019, fewer than 400 U.S. shops were left, a staggering decline from the 5,000 Quiznos locations in 2007, according to a Restaurant Business report.

Photo: Flickr.com/rickpilot_2000

Planet Hollywood

The stars aren’t shining quite as brightly for Planet Hollywood these days. Opening in October 1991, the New York eatery was backed by Hollywood celebs Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, Sylvester Stallone, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Each new location boasted nearly $15 million in first-year sales. During its heyday, Planet Hollywood had 87 locations that spanned the globe. Today, only six restaurants remain in operation.

Photo: Flickr.com/Theme Park Tourist

The Brown Derby

During Hollywood’s golden era, the Brown Derby restaurant symbolized movie-star glamour. It was a place where lucrative deals were initiated, and new careers ignited. Four Brown Derby restaurants once operated in the Los Angeles area, including the iconic location on Wilshire Boulevard; however, all four original locations closed by the mid 80s. One new “Hollywood Brown Derby” has recently taken up residence in Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios park in Florida.

Photo: Flickr.com/Mike Kalasnik

York Steak House

In the 1970s and 1980s, it was rare to enter a U.S shopping mall in the Eastern U.S. and not find a York Steak House. Owned by General Mills, the restaurant offered steaks and sides in a cafeteria-style setting. When the company sold off York, most of the chain’s restaurants shut down by 1989. For those still in search of a decent steak and spud, one location remains on the west side of Columbus, Ohio.

Photo: Flickr.com/Tony Alter (CC BY 2.0)

Big Boy

Making a huge splash in 1936 when it first opened, Big Boy boasted more than 1,000 restaurants by 1979. Customers across the U.S. flocked to the cheery eateries, which were easily recognized by their towering statues of the chain’s chubby mascot. About 200 Big Boys and Frisch’s Big Boys are still in business today, primarily in the Midwest.