I Would Love A Cheeseburger From A Local Diner – Fifty Plus Going On Fifteen

Come In We're OpenWho doesn’t love a cheeseburger from a local diner with melted cheese, a toasted bun, and fresh, crisp onions.

There was a time when you had a choice of many local diners, cafes, and restaurants where you could get cheeseburgers named the bull wacker, the lumberjack, the conductor and each one of them had its own little twist.

Menu selections appeared endless and each location had its own twist. One thing for certain was that you could get a great cup of coffee and a piece of pie with ice cream.

The city I currently live in with 15,000 people, has less than ten (10) local places to eat that are not owned by regional or national chains. This is crazy in my opinion.

Occasionally, I travel back to my home town of Jamestown North Dakota. You can count local establishments on a hands and the population is 15,000 people. When I was a kid, there were more than 25 family owned locations. Some places that no longer exist include:

  • Big Jims Steakhouse
  • Ebertz Cafe
  • Wagon Masters Restaurant
  • Northwest Y
  • Lakeway Drive Inn
  • Blue Jay Inn
  • Randy’s
  • Pizza Palace
  • Continental Inn
  • Chuck Wagon

I travel the nation for work and it has become increasingly difficult to find local eateries and this is a real shame. When I travel into a new area, I look for new and interesting places to each and it can be tough to find.

At one time, you could estimate the quality of the diner, cafe, or restaurant by the number of calendars near the cash register.

  • If there was one calendar, you probably would not like the food.
  • Three (3) or more calendars identified great food.

The new local eatery trend has been food trucks. Although food trucks have existed since the invention of the automobile, the quality and variety has changed.

  • In the past, food trucks were known as few roach coaches and food quality was poor and variety was limited.
  • Today, food trucks are becoming the new place to eat that are clean and have excellent food with variety.

It is great that food trucks are meeting the needs of consumers that do not want to eat at chain restaurants.

Although there are locally owned diners, cafes and restaurants that you can enjoy, the majority of places you can eat are part of local, regional or national chains.

Branding is critical to chains, you will find limited variety and personality when a visit different locations but quality can vary.

When traveling for work, the primary place they would choose to meet was Applebees. Overall not a bad chain restaurant but you can only eat at Applebees so many times.

  • Recent news reports indicate that the company that owns Applebees also owns IHOP and they are closing 100 plus locations in 2017. This is sad for the employees.
Another chain restaurant that technicians enjoy eating at is Ruby Tuesdays. Great salad bar and decent food but again, you can only eat at Ruby Tuesdays so many times.


  • Ruby Tuesdays has also been struggling recently and has closed locations nationwide. They were sold to an investment group in 2017 so we shall see what happens.

It seems like chain restaurants are similar to food and both have a shelf life since so many local, regional and national chains have closed down. A short list includes:

  • Happy Joes
  • Howard Johnsons
  • Country Kitchen
  • Chi-Chi’s
  • Steak & Ale

I have discussed full-service chain restaurants but have not touched on fast food restaurants because there have been a few that are always there and many that come and go.

This takes me back to I want a greasy cheeseburger from a local non-chain establishment and it is not going to happen unless I drive ten (10) miles into Springfield Missouri and that is not right.

  • Do you prefer chain restaurants or local restaurants?


  • What is your favorite chain restaurant that went out of business?

Wishing you health, safety, and success. It’s great being fifty plus going of fifteen (50 plus going on 15)

Thanks for visiting and please comment. 

Jay Patterson


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