Restaurants We Lost in 2020

It’s time to say good-bye to some legendary American food establishments. After filing for bankruptcy and shutting down their operations, the following restaurants are on their way out. However, rumors abound that a few of these restaurants are still out there, lurking in the shadows, kind of like that lone Blockbuster that’s whispered to be either in Alaska or Oregon. But for now we’ll have to reminisce about these precious gems and what they’ve meant to us.  

  1. Everyone’s favorite pizza place, Chuck E Cheese’s offered world-renowned service. I used to take my nephew every Thursday evening. While he played Pac Man and ate cardboard pizza, I’d spike my 7-UP with gin and scour the want ads. Never found a job, but I did start dating the assistant manager, Dale.
  2. Southern California’s favorite health food all-you-can-eat buffet, Soup Plantation, has shut down not only due to COVID-19, but also because of failing their last seventeen health inspections. Gone but not forgotten.
  3. Luby’s Cafeteria served the best chicken-fried-steak ever, paired with canned green beans and all-you-can-drink sweet iced tea. It wasn’t as healthy as Soup Plantation, but a much better value at $3.99/person.
  4. Not sure what type of food they served at Fuddrucker’s, but the name should have been enough to keep them open.
  5. Many fond memories of my mom and me spending Saturday evenings at Sizzler’s in Bakersfield. Me with the Malibu chicken and her the ribs. Both of us would then sneak over to the desert bar and enjoy a swirl of chocolate and vanilla. Such good times.
  6. Some joint on the east coast called Friendly’s. Never heard of it.
  7. And my personal favorite which kills my heart to see close is Ruby Tuesday’s. One of my most precious memories is from dining there after a day of sightseeing in Prague. We were thrilled to find one inside a local shopping center with an identical menu from the USA. And just like here at home, everything tasted like the tuna melt. Never a disappointing meal. 

    Jeff Harvey lives in San Diego CA and is working on his first novel. His short stories have appeared in Stone of Madness Press, Salmon Creek Journal, Literary Yard, and Flash Fiction Magazine. Find him on Twitter @JeffHarveySD.

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