Food | Vintage | Retro

10 Restaurants We Wish Were Still Around

Some restaurants, like McDonald's, have stood the test of time when it comes to sales. There was almost always people eating at the golden arches, which is how they've become internationally famous.

However, there are some restaurants from the 70s, 80s, and 90s that unfortunately didn't stand the test of time, no matter how much we wish they had.

1. Lum's

Lum's started as a hot dog stand in 1956, and eventually opened into a family-style restaurant. In 1983, the last of all Lum's closed down, but there's still some Ollie's Trolley locations where you can get the classic Ollieburger and spicy fries!

2. Mountain Jack's Steakhouse

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Think of it as the original Outback Steakhouse. Mountain Jack's had individual salad bars which came to your table, and a prime rib which still makes our mouths water at the thought of it! The parent company of Mountain Jack's filed for bankruptcy in 2002, and in 2008 the majority of all restaurants had been shut down.

3. Red Barn

According to franchise owner Bill Lapitsky, Red Barn was the first fast-food restaurant to offer a salad bar in 1961. The chain was famous for the fried chicken, as well as barn-themed foods, like "Big Barney" and "Barnbuster." There were over 400 locations across Canada and the United States.

4. Shakey's Pizza

Good news! There are actually some Shakey's left. Bad news: they're only in California. The original pizza joint featured this, crispy, made-from-scratch pizza, draft beer, and soft drinks. You want something else? You'll have to eat somewhere else. Every location featured live jazz and ragtime music. The chain was bought out in 1984, and by 1989 most locations had closed down.

5. Burger Chef

Imagine a world where the biggest food chain was Burger Chef, not McDonald's. That's what it looked like was going to happen in 1971, as Burger Chef's 1200 locations were poised to surpass the golden arches. The company arguably invented the Happy Meal, except it was a Fun Meal, which included a burger, fries, drink, dessert, and toy. In 1979, Burger Chef sued McDonald's when they introduced their Happy Meal. In 1982, Burger Chef's parent company was bought out, and most of the restaurants were turned in Hardee's.

6. Chi-Chi's

Chi-Chi's Mexican food was "as ethnically authentic as Chef Boyardee’s canned pasta", but damn did it taste good. In 2003, however, Chi-Chi's infected over 600 Pittsburgh residents with hepatitis A, thanks to some scallions imported from Mexico. They paid out over $40 million in lawsuit setllements, and eventually closed down.

7. Bill Knapp's

Bill Knapp's was basically every dad's favorite restaurant. Their "made from scratch" menu items felt really fancy, and on your birthday they gave you an entire chocolate cake. Not only that, but on your birthday you would get a discount that corresponded with your age. So if you were turning 75, you'd get a 75% discount on your bill. No wonder so many senior citizens chose Bill Knapp's as their birthday dinner location!

8. Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor

Farrell's was a throwback to early 1900s ice cream parlors, with elaborate ice cream concoctions. For example, they had something called "The Zoo," which was carried out on a stretcher while someone played a bass drum and sirens blared. You could also get burgers and sanwiches, but you really went for the ice cream. By 1990, almost all the locations had shut down.

9. Howard Johnson's

If you loved clams, and your kids loved butter, then you were happy at Howard Johnson's. They became famous for their fried clams, which were served as strips as opposed to the entire clam, which up until then had been the norm. For kids, the hot dogs were the best. They were fried in butter, on top of a bun toasted in butter. Then, for dessert, you could all enjoy the ice cream, which contained twice the butterfat of traditional brands and came in 28 flavors.

10. Gino's Hamburgers

In 1957, several members of the then-NFL team Baltimore Colts founded a restaurant, including defensive end Gino Marchetti. Gino's became famous for their burgers, which they touted as a "banquet on a bun." There were over 350 locations at the peak of Gino's success, and most doubled as a KFC, since they owned the Mid-Atlantic KFC franchise. In 1982, Marriott purchased the brand and converted all the Gino's restaurants into Roy Rogers restaurants.

Which restaurant do you miss the most?