Here are the major U.S. restaurant chains that have disappeared

A closed sign hangs on the door of a Bennigan's Grill & Tavern restaurant July 29, 2008 in downtown Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Restaurant brands face many challenges, whether it's sales growth or customer retention. But when these eateries struggle to keep up with competitors in their industry, it occasionally results in these brands closing their doors nationwide. 

With news that Red Lobster was considering a bankruptcy filing, many diners are wondering if the iconic eatery could be next.

Here are some of the famous American restaurant chains that have closed most, if not all, of their locations through the years. 

Steak & Ale

Steak & Ale opened in 1966 and had 280 locations, serving steakhouse fillets at cheap prices but shut down in 2008.

Chi Chi's

Chi Chi's became a go-to restaurant for casual family dining for tacos, burritos, and salsa. The Mexican restaurant had more than 200 locations but filed for bankruptcy in 2003. 

ShowBiz Pizza Place

ShowBiz pizza

Denver Post columnist Barry Morrison warns that the atmosphere at the new ShowBiz pizza restaurant is quite addictive to youngsters and even their parents, January 31, 1981. (Denver Post via Getty Images)

ShowBiz Pizza was a popular place for pizza and kids' birthday parties in the 1980s. The chain struggled in the early 1990s and slowly merged with its former rival, Chuck E. Cheese.

Planet Hollywood

Planet Hollywood restaurants filed for bankruptcy in 1999 and only has a few restaurant locations in the world as the company converted the brand into a luxury resort chain years later. 


ESPN Zone featured sports arcade games and food and lots of big-screen TVs. The restaurant only lasted 20 years and by 2010, there were only two remaining locations with the last restaurant in California closing in 2018.  

Casa Bonita

Casa Bonita was known for its live shows featuring circus performers. The restaurant chain struggled financially before COVID-19 came along, which closed all locations at the time. The brand was purchased by "South Park" creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and reopened the last Casa Bonita location in Lakewood, Colorado, in 2023. 

RELATED: ‘South Park’ creators reopen famed Colorado restaurant — and they’re banning tips

Kenny Rogers Roasters

Kenny Rogers Roasters was known for wood-fired rotisserie chicken but multiple ownership changes led to the closing of the last U.S. location in 2011. It lives on in ‘Seinfeld’ lore.

All Star Café

All Star Café was a Planet Hollywood-owned restaurant with 10 locations, but the tavern closed its doors at the Walt Disney World location in 2007. 


The first Bennigans opened in 1976 but is now down to just 10 locations after a 2008 bankruptcy.

Howard Johnson's restaurants 

Howard Johnson roadside restaurant

1940s: Howard Johnson roadside restaurant, Fort Lee, NJ. (Photo by Charles Phelps Cushing/ClassicStock/Getty Images)

Howard Johnson's restaurants had 400 restaurants across the US. By the 1970s, there were more than 1,000 of them, many sporting the chain's iconic orange roof. The final restaurant closed its doors in 2022. 

Blimpie Subs & Salads

Blimpie seemed like it was everywhere and it nearly was – the chain closed 1,114 stores.

Country Kitchen

Country Kitchen closed 197 restaurants.

Damon's Grill & Sports Bar

Damon's Grill & Sports Bar, known for ribs, wings, and big-screen TVs, closed 107 restaurants.

Ground Round Grill & Bar

Ground Round Grill & Bar, where you could once dump your peanut shells on the floor, closed 106 restaurants.


It may have been "The Country's Best Yogurt," but TCBY closed 405 stores.

Don Pablo's

Tex-Mex restaurant Don Pablo's, once the second largest full-service Mexican restaurant chain within the United States, closed 93 restaurants.

Big Boy

Bob's Big Boy

Bob's Big Boy Statue outside of a restaurant in circa 1972. (Photo by Albert Moote/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Big Boy closed 265 restaurants.

Ponderosa and Bonanza Steakhouses

Ponderosa/Bonanza, known for steak and buffets, closed 305 restaurants.

This story was reported from Washington, D.C.