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Archive for the ‘steaks’ tag

Ryan's Grill, Buffet & Bakery, 8671 Highway 17 Bypass: 6 March 2016   1 comment

Posted at 11:45 pm in closing














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.

Ryan's Grill, Buffet & Bakery, 5579 Sunset Boulevard: February 2016   1 comment

Posted at 12:09 am in closing







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)

Written by ted on March 11th, 2016

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Ryan's Grill, Buffet & Bakery, 10052 Two Notch Road: 4 February 2016   4 comments

Posted at 11:18 pm in closing









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:

The statement announced that 74 restaurants that it declared "underperforming" would close immediately.

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)

Written by ted on February 16th, 2016

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Steak Mart, 2773 Rosewood Drive: 24 December 2014   1 comment

Posted at 2:01 am in closing











I generally like my steak in ground-beef form, but I have certainly noticed Steak Mart on the corner of Rosewood and Maple since it has been there for my entire life. As commenter Robert S pointed out though, they have closed up shop as of Christmas Eve after a 54 year run.

(Hat tip to commenter Robert S.)

Written by ted on January 14th, 2015

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Arizona's, 150 Forum Drive: Jule 2014   6 comments

Posted at 11:06 pm in Uncategorized




I did not know that Arizona's was a chain, but they had at least two restaurants in South Carolina, one here at Sandhill and the other in Greenville. Both were bought out in late July by a North Carolina outfit and rebranded as JP's 4 Corners.

When Arizona's opened, I looked over the menu, and could not see a reason to go, and so never did.

Apparently the general concept has not changed a lot:

JP’s has maintained 90 percent of the original Arizona’s menu, but, under the direction of executive chef Tony Aponte, has some new additions.

The new menu ups the steak concept by adding three new signature steaks to the original one, each with a unique rub. Each is a reference to the four states that make up the “4 corners,” from which the restaurant takes its name — Arizona (original), New Mexico (cayenne and chili), Colorado (black peppercorn with blue cheese butter) and Utah (cinnamon spice crusted).

But JP’s is about more than just steak, Lawrence says. One of the restaurant’s new features is a house-made veggie burger that combines black beans and sweet potato and is topped with an agave sweetened chipotle-lime cream.

Looking at the menu, I get the same feeling I had looking at Arizona's menu: How is this Southwestern?

Western, I certainly see, but I thought Southwestern was supposed to have a dash of Mexican. That's got to be more than just invoking chipolte in a sauce. The Free Times in fact lists JP's under Mexican, but don't see it.

(Hat tip to commenter Jason)

Written by ted on October 1st, 2014

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

Posted at 1:40 am in closing

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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Western Sizzlin Steak House / A Touch of Class / Family Auto Centers, 4250 Beltline Boulevard: 1980s/2010   4 comments

Posted at 12:21 am in Uncategorized

I've written before of my first experiences with a "Steak House" at Ponderosa in Trenholm Plaza, and how after that we became regulars at Quincy's on Two Notch.

After I moved out on my own, I mentally divided steak-houses into tiers. In the top tier were Quincy's and Ryan's. In the middle tier were Western Sizzlin and Golden Corral, while in the bottom tier were Western Steer and various one-offs. These weren't hard and fast, and over time Ryan's went way down in my estimation, while Golden Corral came up while Western Sizzlin stayed solidly middle tier the whole time.

The ad from the 1974 phonebook says there were Sizzlin locations in Charleston, Savannah and Brunswick. By the time I moved to Fayetteville in 1985, there was certainly one there, on Raeford Road within walking distance from my apartment, and I believe there was one nearby on I-95 as well (though it could have been a Steer), which the owner's wife took as a special decorating project producing the most jam-packed-with-decor steak house in existence.

The one in Faytetteville was gone the last time I checked (July 2009), as are both here in Columbia (the one on Knox Abbott was a number of restaurants including Crazy Buffet and Hot China Buffet and is now vacant again). I'm pretty sure the one in Charleston is gone, or at least I've never run into it. I have no idea about the one in Brunswick either, but the one in Savannah ("Pooler", actually) is still going strong. That has been our way-point on trips to Florida for many years, and we take a picture in front of one of their signs on each trip. They seem to keep staff forever, and one of the waitresses always used to recognize my us by remembering my father though she saw him no more than twice a year. Over the years, the buffett has gained in importance in comparison to the "steak" aspect, but it's still solidly middle-tier and comfortable.

After the Sizzlin closed, the place became another restaurant A Touch of Class, which I can't recall at all. Obviously at some point between then and now, the original Sizzlin building was torn down and the Family Auto Centers trailer-office etc was put on the lot, which sold used cars, with the inevitable (though always welcome) fuzzy streamers.

Postscript: Just noticed that in the yellow pages ad, while the main graphic does say Western Sizzlin if you look closely at the pictured building (click through to the higher res shot), the building's sign and the building itself clearly says Western Sizzler!

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Written by ted on July 21st, 2010

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Ryan's Grill, Buffet & Bakery, 7550 Garners Ferry Road, 9 February 2009   14 comments

Posted at 12:05 am in closing

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!

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Written by ted on June 19th, 2009

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Steak Out Char-Broiled Delivery, 2421 Bush River Road / 780 Saint Andrews Road: 4 May 2009   12 comments

Posted at 12:09 am in Uncategorized

I had seen this place on Saint Andrews, and think I saw some of it's flyers, but since I'm not a really big steak fan, I hadn't ever really looked into it. I see that the concept is take out or delivery for steaks instead of pizza, burgers or subs, and that strikes me as pretty odd. First, I have never gotten the appeal of "take out". I'd say that's because I work at home, but even when I spent most of my life at the office, I still didn't want to eat at the house. At a restaurant they have people to bring stuff right to your table and you don't have to wash the dishes or take out the trash. Second, steak seems like an odd take-out item. People are very finicky about it and considering how often burger or pizza topping orders go awry, it's a big leap of faith to expect the right cut and the right degree of doneness when you can't send it back.

I have to say the business strategy being explicated by the door sign seems a bit dubious as well. I want Columbia businesses to succeed and certainly hope they will be back, but it's hard to see how several months without any money coming in will help to make that happen. (And if they remain part of the Steak Out chain, how can they revamp the menu?) It worked for Stevie B's, but more often than not any sign using the word remodeling is followed by a sign that says For Sale.

(Hat tip to commenter Kc!)

Update 24 Jan 2010: Well it seems to me that I can move this one from the "temporary" category to the "not coming back" category. The note from 4 May 2009 promising a "Fall 2009" reopening is still posted on the door, but now an un-picked-up phonebook is on the doorstep and un-picked-up mail is on the floor inside, also as far as I can tell no work at all has been done inside -- everything appears to be in an identical state as to when I posted the original closing.

UPDATE 7 May 2010 -- This is pretty conclusive, I'm afraid:

UPDATE 27 May 2010 -- Now it's up for lease:

UPDATE 19 July 2010 -- Finally got around to taking a picture of the original Steak Out location at 2421 Bush River Road (now Real Mexico):

UPDATE 13 Oct 2010 -- Tony O's Pizza is now open in this building:

Written by ted on May 27th, 2009

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Ryan's Grill, Buffet & Bakery, 534 Saint Andrews Road: 2000s   5 comments

Posted at 12:49 am in closing

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.

Written by ted on February 8th, 2009

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