Food + Drink

Do You Remember These Iconic Restaurants?

By  | 


Research shows that over 55% of households in the US love eating out at least 2-3 times per week. Around 10% of people in the country dine out 4-6 times each week, and about 6% eat out every day. Recent reports show that people with an income between $50,000 and $60,000 prefer eating out at restaurants, at an average of under five times per week. 

There is a strong link between happiness and food and between joy and dining out. Besides, getting to socialize with your family members and others, experience new things, and eat mouthwatering food, it can also have a substantial impact on your health and mood. 

Although there are thousands of restaurants where you can enjoy delicious food, some of them have closed their doors, meaning they no longer exist. In today’s article, we will talk about the top 10 iconic restaurants that have been defunct or closed. Read on! 

Horn & Hardart 

Popularly known as “Automates,” Horn & Hardart offered delicious fast to its customers back in days. People could buy already prepared food from behind a glass window. The purchase process was fast, efficient, and practical, which gave customers a unique experience. 

That’s why they would keep coming back to buy more food. Although Horn & Hardart had become one of the most iconic fast food joints where people would avoid lining up behind the counter, the restaurant closed its door in 1991. 


VIP’s was an Oregon-based fast-food chain that started in 1968 and quickly became famous among consumers who would love to dine out with their families and friends. VIP’s was both a diner and a coffee shop and had over 53 branches in the US. Although the restaurant expanded fast, its popularity deteriorated in the early 1980s. Denny’s bought 35 of the VIP’s locations in the 80s. 


Isaly’s is one of the best restaurants and diners in the US. It is famous for its delightful chipped chopped ham. People of all ages, backgrounds, and ethnicities visit the restaurant and enjoy spending time in the hygienic environment. 

Established in the 19th century and named after the founder, Isaly’s also became popular when it invented the Klondike Bar. Although Isaly’s made a name for itself in America’s history as the most iconic restaurant, it had seen many ups and downs. Because the company sold the restaurant several times over the years, it quickly lost its charm and popularity.

Howard Johnson’s 

Popular known as “Hojo’s,” Howard Johnson’s was a popular restaurant that dominated the 60s and 70s. Not only was Howard Johnson famous for its classic building designs, weather vanes, and orange roofs, but it was also considered an iconic restaurant due to its delicious food and prestigious staff. The company had over 1,000 locations in the US. However, after quickly gaining a reputation across the US, the company faced financial problems due to intense competition from KFC. 

Beefsteak Charlie’s

Beefsteak Charlie’s was established in 1910 in Manhattan, New York. The restaurant slowly gained popularity among New Yorkers for its customer service and delicious food, including salad and shrimp. People cherished the alcoholic accompaniments of Beefsteak Charlie’s, including wine, beer, and sangria. After remaining operational for about 100 years, unfortunately, Beefsteak Charlie closed its doors in 2010. 

Burger Chef

General Electric founded Burger Chef in Indianapolis and had more than 12,000 locations across the country. Burger Chef quickly gained a lot of reputation among food lovers. Because the restaurant was trendy, you may wonder why General Electric shut it down. 

Well, McDonald’s gave Burger Chef an intense competition, which led to a substantial financial loss. The restaurant was sold off a few times, and after making significant changes, it was brought back to life with a new name, “Hardee’s.” 


Lum’s was initially established as a small hot dog stand, but the quality and customer service quickly transformed it into a big restaurant. In 1961, the company had four locations, which got a good reputation for their beef-steamed hot dogs. 

You will be surprised to know that the company owned over 400 franchise restaurants in 1969, meaning they turned from a regular hot dog stand into a large chain of restaurants. Lum’s even had locations in Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Europe. 

The fast expansion overloaded the company and couldn’t keep up with financial resources, eventually causing them to file for bankruptcy. 

White Tower

White Tower adopted its name from White Castle, a restaurant established in 1921. White Tower, however, was founded in 1926. White Tower imitated everything from White Castle. After employing state-of-the-art advertising methods and added style to their restaurant, it became a famous place where people ate and enjoyed. 

By the 1950s, the company had over 230 locations in the US. However, the company shut down many of its sites because others had filed legal cases against them. White Tower shut down its last location in 2004. 

Red Barn

Red Barn was a traditionally themed restaurant that offered delightful cuisine to its customers for many years. The company painted the exterior walls with red color to perfectly imitate a barn. Red Barn quickly became popular because customers would never mistake the restaurant for any other food place. 

Besides, it had over 400 locations nationwide and in other countries during its prime. Today, you will find only one Red Barn Restaurant in Wisconsin, and its name is now “The Farm.” Although Red Barn was a lovely place for people to dine out with their family and friends, the restaurant lost its charm due to financial problems, which led to its quick deterioration. 

Gino’s Hamburgers

Gino Macrhcetti is the founder of the world-famous Gino’s Hamburgers. Many people know the famous Hall-of-fame footballer, if not all. The 60s was a prime time for the restaurant because everyone would go to Gino’s and enjoy delightful food. 

After having success in the initial years and expansion to over 300 locations, the company underwent substantial financial issues. Consequently, Marriott purchased all its places and renamed them Roy Rogers Restaurants. 

Final Words 

Dining out with your family and friends is an exciting and matchless experience for everyone. The enjoyment and luxury doubles when you eat at the most famous and your favorite restaurants. 

There were hundreds of restaurants in the US that had gained immense popularity among customers. However, everything was short-lived for them. The restaurants mentioned above were some of the most iconic ones, and people still remember these restaurants for their warm and welcoming ambiance, delicious food, and prestigious staff. 


12 of 12