Archive for the ‘buffet’ tag
I believe this is the last Midland's Ryan's I didn't have a post for. Like the others, it closed as part of the chain's current troubles, regardless of whether this particular store was doing OK or not. In point of fact, I think this store did out last the others by a few weeks.
Commenter Heath posted some photos from 7 May and I finally got around there last weekend to get some of my own (though the light was mostly wrong). It's a shame to say that this store, unlike the others I've seen, has already been fairly extensively tagged just in the short time it's been closed.
UPDATE 22 May 2016: Added Fire Mountain to the post title based on the comments.
Another day, another .
This location of the floundering chain apparently closed on 6 March, along with the Conway store, leaving the North Myrtle Beach location as the only one in Horry County (I have not checked on the one Georgetown location).
This particular parcel is behind Walmart at the southeast corner of the intersection of US-17 Bypass and SC-544. The area is still growing, with an active Kohl's/Home Depot strip across from Walmart and a Target anchored strip on the northwest corner. This resturant itself apparently did a very good business, but the problems of the parent chain nonetheless dragged it down.
There's not much to say about the closing of the Lexington Ryan's that hasn't been said elsewhere. I will note that I am a little surprised that this store, and the Two Notch Store both still have all the branding and signage up. Usually when a company that is still active closes a store, they like to get that down quickly to avoid associating the chain with failure. In my mind that means things are perhaps even worse than they seem, if that's possible.
(Hat tip to commenter ED)
There was a time, when I was living in Fayetteville, that I went to Ryans's serveral times a week for lunch. They had a good salad bar with the unusual topping option of roasted peanuts instead of sunflower seeds. They also had hoops of cheddar on the salad bar, and with those and the hot yeast rolls, you could make a decent impromptu semi-melted cheese sandwich to go with the salad.
As it happened, my work colleagues and I eventually discovered that the nearby pool-hall (go figure..) actually had a better lunch buffet and we kind of fell out of going to Ryan's, but I had generally good memories of the place until I had the occasion to drop by the Georgetown location a few years ago and be generally unimpressed, a condition which continued through my one visit to this Two Notch Road location in the Wal-Mart outparcel. I get the feeling from the company's recent travails that perhaps I was not alone in my unimpressed state, and the chain recently announced the closure of 74 restaurants of which this was apparently one:
Those included Old Country Buffet, Hometown Buffet, Ryan’s, Fire Mountain and Country Buffet restaurants, according to the release.
"Ovation Brands was acquired by Food Management Partners in August 2015," it stated. "Since that time, we have continued to execute former management’s operating plan to stabilize and enhance the performance of the company. However, based on ongoing assessments of individual restaurants, it is necessary to shutter locations for the continued viability of the brands and our employees."
(Hat tips to commenters James R & Sidney)
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)
Well, you can't say they didn't make an effort at this Wal-Mart outparcel on Garners Ferry road. This building originally opened as a Fire Mountain Grill, which was explained to me once by a friend with contacts in the food industry as the brand Ryan's corporate used to move back into markets where they felt the Ryan's brand had been tarnished by the local franchisees.
I always felt that Fire Mountain was a bad name since it invoked images both of volcanic tropical islands like Hawaii and of heat and spiciness, none of which had anything to do with the food served. At any rate, they ran it as that for a few years, then transitioned it back into a Ryan's, which didn't last long at all.
The building looks quite impressive, especially when viewed end-on and from below, as when you walk in from Garners Ferry. Currently it's for sale. The sign doesn't mention that you get all the fixtures, but that seems to be the case -- they are still in there at any rate.
As an aside, and appropos to nothing, I parked in the lot at Aldi across the street from Ryan's while taking these pictures. I decided as long as I was parked there, I would go in -- What a weird and unpleasant place!
When they initially started out, I liked Ryan's a good bit. When I was living & working in Fayetteville, there were a couple of years where I ate lunch at Ryan's several times a week. I particularly enjoyed the salad bar, which I believe they had dubbed The Mega-Bar because it had peanuts instead of sunflower seeds and wheels of cheddar slices of which went well with the large, hot yeast rolls. About the only drawback was that the lettuce was shredded rather than torn.
After I left Fayetteville, it was a number of years before I ate at a Ryan's again. As it happened, I was in Georgetown one afternoon and stopped in at the US-707 location. I'm afraid I found it much less appealing that I had remembered. I found the chairs clunky and uncomfortable and the salad bar was much diminished, with no cheese, rolls or peanuts. I later talked to a friend of mine who at the time was writing cash-register and point-of-sale software for the restaurant industry, and he said he had heard that the owners of the Ryan's brand were unhappy and felt that a number of their franchises had trashed the brand's reputation. (Their solution was to open a new chain called Fire Mountain to go into areas where the Ryan's name was bad).
Anyway, I don't know exactly what happened to this Ryan's on Saint Andrews. It may have been an exemplary store which simply suffered from the location and the chain's falling fortunes, but whatever reason, the building is now not even a restaurant at all, but has been converted to offices.