Dining

Old-School Favorites Friendly's and Benihana Are Growing

Dinner, entertainment and sundaes are here to stay
Friendly's Restaurant
Photo: Mike Mozart via Flickr

Lately, there’s been chatter about a restaurant recession.

Chipotle continues to struggle to move past its numerous food-borne illness scares, and as of this week, only one location of the once-ubiquitous Howard Johnson’s remains standing.

But perhaps there’s salvation ahead. Two old-school restaurant chains, Friendly’s and Benihana, are having a small comeback moment, Forbes reports. Friendly’s, which went through bankruptcy five years ago, is opening its first new restaurants in a decade this year and has plans to add four locations each in 2017 and 2018, MassLive reports.

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Meanwhile, Benihana, the teppanyaki spot where a meal is part dinner, part theater, is taking over a 9,000-square-foot lease in Chicago’s John Hancock Tower. The move comes nine years after the restaurant closed up shop in the Windy City (though suburban locations have remained). A rep tells Crain’s, “We've been absent for nine years. That's way too long.”

Let the grilling begin.

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