4

News That's Hard to Swallow: Bye-Bye, Bennigan's. Put a Fork in Steak & Ale.

^
Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

Sounds like Plano-based Metromedia Restaurant Group got tired of trying to fix Bennigan's and went ahead and just shut 'em all down -- in the middle of the night, no less. Also gone, though with far less fanfare this morning: MRG's Steak & Ale. At least, when I just called the Steak & Ale location on LBJ Freeway, I was greeted with the message: "This location is now closed for business. We thank you for your continued patronage." It then offered a phone number: 1-800-727-8355. Which, turns out, is a generic MRG recording.

Actually, from the sound of it, all Metromedia-owned restaurants, including Bonanza and Ponderosa andthe Southlake Tavern and the Plano Tavern, are closed -- so said the kind and very bummed-out gentleman who answered the phone at Fort Worth's 29 Degree Tavern, which opened in February 2007 and was also closed this morning. He told Unfair Park that all Metromedia properties are being shuttered; franchises may still be open, for the moment. The woman who answered the phone at Southlake Tavern passed us on to another woman, who, when asked if the restaurant was still open, said only, "We have no comment, sir," then hung up. Attempts to reach Metromedia spokesperson Leah Templeton have been unsuccessful this morning. Update: The company has issued a statement, and we've seen the legal documents.

It reads:

"S & A Restaurant Corp. and certain affiliates have filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code. The companies that filed bankruptcy cases are popularly known as Steak & Ale, Bennigan's and Tavern restaurants. However, not all stores using these trade names have filed bankruptcy. For example, stores operated by franchisees are not named as debtors in these filings. The filing does not include Ponderosa and Bonanza which operate under Metromedia Steakhouses Company, L.P.

It is our understanding the Michelle Chow will be appointed as Chapter 7 trustee for the entities that have filed. These are filed as liquidation cases. Future decisions regarding the affairs of the debtor companies will be determined and administered by the trustee.

If you wish to file a claim, the form Proof of Claim can be found online."

Mike Sutherland, the Dallas attorney representing those certain affiliates, among them Bennigan's Gift Card, Inc. and Bennigan's of Maryland, was out of the office this morning and unavailable for comment.

Back in November, MRG announced the new stripped-down Bennigan's called the Bennigan's Quick Grill; that didn't do it. Then, in April, it went to the five-dollar lunch menu, another apparent failure to lure in the quick, casual fare-seeker. So, what, that's 150 restaurants gone just like that? Probably should have seen this coming.--Robert Wilonsky

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.