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Ryan's Grill Buffet & Bakery, 1707 Charleston Highway: 26 January 2012   7 comments

Posted at 1:40 am in restaurants

When I lived in Fayetteville, there was a time when I ate lunch at Ryan's almost every day. I thought they had a very good salad bar with a number of unusual items, like peanuts (which are actually better on a salad than sunflower seeds in my opinion). They also had a cheese wheel of real cheddar, which when slipped into the excellent hot yeast rolls made a nice impromptu grilled cheese sandwich. The only minus factor was that the lettuce was shredded, sub style, rather than chopped into larger pieces as is usual.

At some point our lunch preferences shifted for one reason or another, and it was years until I tried Ryan's again. This time it was the one in Georgetown, on the section of 707 near the Wal-Mart, and I was not impressed. I don't remember if this was the case in Fayetteville, but by this point I definitely preferred booth seating, and there was none. The chairs were rather uncomfortable as well. The cheese wheel was gone, the peanuts were gone, and the yeast rolls didn't seem as good. I figured some of it might be that particular store, so several years after that, when I was on Two Notch near my lunch time, I dropped in at the store there, and found it to be about the same.

In later reading, I learned that while the chain was originally started by an Upstate company, it was eventually sold to a national chain running several different buffet operations, and I suspect this is when the place's character changed.

That firm, Buffets Restaurants Holdings Inc. filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy (for the second time..) on 18 January 2012. As part of that, they closed or planned to close 81 or their 494 stores (which include Old Country Buffet, HomeTown Buffet, Fire Mountain, and Tahoe Joe's Famous Steakhouse in addition to Ryan's).

The Georgetown store is one of the ones that shut as well, but it appears that the Two Notch location will stay open as the firm works on recovery.

Props to the manager for writing a personal note.

What's next for this site? Experience would suggest an Asian buffet or a Mexican restaurant (and more power to them if that happens..)

(Hat tip to commenter Mr. Bill)

Written by ted on January 30th, 2012

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7 Responses to 'Ryan's Grill Buffet & Bakery, 1707 Charleston Highway: 26 January 2012'

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  1. In addition to the Gerogetown location mentioned in the main post, locations in Anderson, Greenville, North Charleston and Seneca are closing (per The State's Business notebook )

    Ryan's parent company hopes to emerge from bankruptcy in app. 6 months...

    If they're smart, they'll take this opportunity to improve the quality of their food as well (last few times I've been, it seemed as their food had no taste to it)...

    Andrew

    30 Jan 12 at 1:09 pm

  2. Up here north-of-the-border, the parent company is closing NC-based restaurants in Concord (Concord Mills), Gastonia, Wilkesboro and Fayetteville. And ditto what Andrew commented on....their quality of food has been lacking in the last two years. Hope they turn it around.

    J.P.

    1 Feb 12 at 11:56 am

  3. I live nearby, I loved their breakfast but the lunch and dinner always left much to be desired. The service was hit or miss too. Farrah was an awesome server, I hope she has found a better job.

    Mr Bill

    2 Mar 12 at 2:52 pm

  4. Sunday's just aren't the same without watching the Ryan's after church dash from my front porch. I have seen a total of 12 disappointed hopefuls get out of their cars to read the "Location Permanently Closed" sign on the front door. There's something incredibly sad (and somewhat amusing) to watch someone realize their dreams of dining at an all-you-can-eat buffet have been thwarted.

    Kytt

    2 Mar 12 at 3:05 pm

  5. I went to the Harbison location recently. I saw the manager and spoke with him for a moment. He DID NOT offer me a cup of coffee. I didn't bother to ask him for it. It seems like no one is ever in the Harbison location. The Charleston highway one was always packed.

    Mr Bill

    4 Apr 12 at 9:43 am

  6. When I was growing up, we must have eaten at our closest Ryan's at least once a week. (My dad, who loves steak, had a sixth sense for finding the nearest Ryan's or Quincy's no matter where we traveled, so the fact a Ryan's opened near our hometown made him very happy indeed.)

    Back in the early '80s, when ours opened, Ryan's was your traditional chain steakhouse; they had the menu up on these stained wooden boards with a "golden seal" motif, and each item had its own number. You'd go through the line, get your drink and your dessert and other items, then order your meal by number when you got to the register at the end of the line. They'd cook your steak to order and the server would bring it out to you, and you'd pay your bill at a cashier by the door before you left (later changed to paying a cashier at the end of the ordering line).

    The salad bar back then was small, but over time they started introducing more items and by (IIRC) the early '90s the buffet had grown so large it could have applied for statehood. Last time I was in a Ryan's must have been about 15 or so years ago; I didn't recognize the place, and that evolution was another reminder of my childhood gone with the times.

    Alaska Jill

    4 Apr 12 at 3:42 pm

  7. Quincy's is a restaurant that isn't as strong as it used to be. I sensed Ryan's heading down that path and now it has. It's been 3 years since I last set foot in a Ryan's but the last few times I did make it, it seemed like the food had become on the borderline of becoming insipid.

    Andrew

    4 Apr 12 at 4:18 pm

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