The 15 Biggest Failed Restaurant Chains


The 15 Biggest Failed Restaurant Chains

Beefsteak Charlies.
Photo from Pinterest.

Beefsteak Charlie’s

Though this particular chain opened up in 1910, we’re sure there are New Yorkers out there that still remember it, since the last location closed in 2004. Its flagship location on 50th Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue, which served its specialty steak sandwich to literally generations of people, was the biggest hit of them all.

Larry Ellman renamed the chain Beefsteak Charlie’s in 1976. Up until then, since he did not realize the name hadn’t been trademarked, the joint was known as Steak & Brew- pretty basic, if you ask us!

By 1984, more than 60 locations opened up all along the East Coast. Restaurant goers often raved about their unlimited beer, wine, and sangria. The all-you-could-eat salad bar was, also, a huge staple.

The chain was acquired by Bombay Palace Restaurants in 1987 and started filing for bankruptcy in 1989 when they only had 35 locations open. Sadly, it wouldn’t be long until we’d have to say farewell to Beefsteak Charlie’s, and the rest is history.


With more than 50 locations in the western United States, VIP’s hit its peak in the early 1980s. It was, by far, the largest Oregon-based restaurant chain with locations open near freeways. Much like the ever-so-popular Denny’s, VIP’s were open 24 hours and took a “coffee shop” approach.

Speaking of Denny’s, they began buying off VIP’s locations left to right and center starting in 1984. The shift lasted until 1989 when the last VIP’s location was sold off.

How many of our readers remember this restaurant chain? Let us know what kind of memories you made at one of their locations.

The next restaurant could easily be forgiven for getting drunk on their success, but the hangover soon followed…..

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