8 Once-Thriving Restaurant Chains That Are Slowly Disappearing

Courtesy of Jerry’s Restaurant

From Eat This, Not That: It’s a safe bet that 10, 20, 30, or even 100 years from now you’ll be able to find McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Subway, and Burger King. These chains, though varied in cuisine type and price point, all have one thing in common: demonstrated staying power. Then again, these restaurant chains once seemed like immutable fixtures of the American dining scene too, but they are slowly disappearing.

They have gone from widespread success in the past to hanging on by a thread in the present. Some failed to keep up with the times, some were the victims of mismanagement, and others took a blow during the pandemic and never really recovered.

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California’s Century 21 Theatre to undergo adaptive reuse transformation


California’s Century 21’s theatre in San Jose, the only domed cinema in the Bay Area, and a landmark which is considered a historical resource, will be rehabilitated and turned into a realty office. Renderings courtesy TEF Design

From The Construction Specifier: California’s Century 21 Theatre in San Jose, the only domed cinema in the Bay Area, and a landmark which is considered a historical resource, will be rehabilitated, and turned into a realty office.

Since the building is listed on the California Register of Historical Resources, a major emphasis of the rehabilitation will be to preserve its contributing historic characteristics and align it with The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. Another aspect of the rehabilitation will focus on bringing daylight, from the ground level and above it, into the massive interior volume of the structure. The transformation into the client, Federal Realty’s office will equip the building with spaces, including a fitness center, cafe, daycare, and conference facility, with the aim to create a unique experience for the occupants.

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Boot & Saddle neon sign in South Philly receives historic protection


Boot & Saddle Bar, 1131 S. Broad St., in Philadelphia in 2020. ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer

From The Philadelphia Inquirer: The neon sign at South Philadelphia’s Boot & Saddle imbues its stretch of Broad Street with character and illumination. It’s done so for more than 60 years — with lengthy interludes for economic distress and viral outbreak.

On Friday, the Philadelphia Historical Commission voted to designate the two-story sign as historically significant in a bid to ensure that it will continue glowing for decades to come.

“It’s not hyperbole to say this is one of the very best examples of a commercial neon sign in the city that is still active and illuminated,” said Patrick Grossi, director of advocacy for the Preservation Alliance. “It’s undeniably an established and familiar feature on the South Broad Street corridor.”

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Diamond Grille sign lights up again downtown after getting some TLC


Workers from Adams Signs hoist the refurbished iconic sign of the Diamond Grille on Friday as they prepare to secure it in place. PHIL MASTURZO, AKRON BEACON JOURNAL

From the Akron Beacon Journal: After four months, one of Akron’s most iconic signs — the vintage Diamond Grille sign — is back up and casting its neon glow on West Market Street.

The sign, believed to be from the 1940s, came down in mid-October for a face-lift when repairs were done to the front of the building; the beige brick facade was starting to crumble due to water damage. The project marked the first time the sign has come down since it was originally installed, said co-owner Katie Stack.

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Barker Hangar’s historic role in the heritage of Santa Monica Airport


From the Santa Monica Daily Press: In the second of a series of features on the future of Santa Monica Airport, we look at one of the most iconic local business enterprises currently based there, the historic Barker Hangar.

This unassuming semicircular structure is located just over half way along Airport Avenue, on the left hand side as you head towards Bundy Drive. In fact, you’ve probably driven past it half a dozen times on the way to either the amazing airport museum or to The Cloverfield restaurant and bar.

The origins of the 35,000 sq ft space go all the way back to 1954, during the halcyon heyday of Santa Monica Airport when the Douglas Aircraft Company was still based at the site developing commercial and experimental aircraft before it had to move to Long Beach in 1958. The enormous arch-type steel truss hanger was built by Bill Lear, an American inventor and entrepreneur best known for founding Learjet, one of the most familiar brands associated with the private jet industry. He also developed the 8-track tape and the car radio, which was called the Motorola, ultimately establishing the foundations of the telecommunications company.

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The best retro hotels and motels in the USA for vintage vibes


Photograph: Courtesy Hotel Valley Ho

From TimeOut: A retro hotel is a beautiful thing—it lets you travel back in time as well as geographically. Interest in the midcentury modern aesthetic will always be with us, and shows like Mad Men and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (not to mention the movie Don’t Worry, Darling) have us itching to nurse a Manhattan while we lounge on aqua and tangerine pool tiles. The minimalist vibe with clean lines and bright colors makes us relax into our vacation, with nostalgia for an era we may not have even lived in but still admire. Some of these hotels have been around for the duration, while others are newly opening with a created vintage look—and it may surprise no one that certain sunny locales like Florida and California have multiple hotels in this genre. Here’s a look at some stellar examples of retro hotels in the U.S.!

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