12 restaurant chains you loved that don't exist anymore

One thing we learn in life is that businesses come and go. Even the places once thought to be large enough to last forever. Here's 12 popular North American restaurant chains that did not stand the test of time.

10. Roadhouse Grill

(A locally-owned location now called Buffalo Roadhouse Grill near Buffalo, New York. Courtesy of Buffalo Roadhouse Grill.)

A 1992 creation of John Y. Brown, Jr., Roadhouse Grill was a popular casual dining steakhouse chain that could be found along major suburban arterials and interstate interchanges throughout the eastern United States. Headquartered in West Palm Beach, Florida, Roadhouse filed for bankruptcy in late 2007. In May 2008, the company was forced into liquidation, leading to the abrupt closure of its last 20 locations.

11. Steak N Ale

(An abandoned Steak and Ale restaurant at Westminster Mall in Colorado in 2011. Courtesy of Xnatedawgx at Wikipedia.org.)

Known for its dimly lit dining rooms, Steak and Ale was a popular chain that claimed to offer an upscale experience for a lower price. Established in Dallas, Texas in 1966 by Norman Brinker, it can be argued that it was the model for the casual-dining steakhouse chain. During the 1980s, at its height, the company operated 280 locations. The emergence of newer casual-dining competitors and its acquisition by S&A Restaurant Group eventually led to the chain’s death. In July 2008, S&A filed for bankruptcy resulting in the closure of all Steak N Ale and Bennigan’s locations.

12. Wag’s

(Courtesy of Wikipedia.org)

Similar to restaurants like Perkins, Denny’s and Shoney’s, Wag’s was a casual family dining restaurant chain that was owned and operated by Walgreens in the 1970s and 1980s. Open 24 hours a day, Wag’s served inexpensive breakfasts and hamburgers. In 1988, the Marriott Corporation acquired the chain’s 91 freestanding locations. After attempting to sell off the assets and not finding a buyer, Wag’s was completely gone by 1991.

Article by Ennis Davis, AICP. Davis is a certified senior planner and graduate of Florida A&M University. He is the author of the award winning books “Reclaiming Jacksonville,” “Cohen Brothers: The Big Store” and “Images of Modern America: Jacksonville.” Davis has served with various organizations committed to improving urban communities, including the American Planning Association and the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation. A 2013 Next City Vanguard, Davis is the co-founder of Metro Jacksonville.com and ModernCities.com — two websites dedicated to promoting fiscally sustainable communities — and Transform Jax, a tactical urbanist group. Contact Ennis at edavis@moderncities.com