With so many restaurant choices in East Texas it can be hard for some dining establishments to stay in business. Whether it's competition, reputation, menu selection or something else, some really great restaurants used to line the streets of Tyler and Longview, but for some reason or another they are no longer. The buildings that once housed these restaurants may still be around, but the name on the front and facade has changed a bit.

I ran across this article on definition.org listing some defunct restaurant chains from across America and recognized quite a few of them. I grew up in the Metroplex, but I have called East Texas home for the last twenty years and looking at some of the buildings around town you can say, yes, that once was the location of Steak And Ale, Taco Bell or Kentucky Fried Chicken! While others that have gone out of business have changed completely, like the old Bennigan's on Troup Hwy in Tyler.

From the list of twenty chains that are now defunct that definition.org listed, I recognized only three of them that once called East Texas home! Maybe you've seen others in the last half a decade?

Steak And Ale

Steak And Ale logo transparent

Steak And Ale was one of the first casual dining steak houses in the nation which had a location in Tyler on Troup Hwy. and Golden Road. The company went bankrupt and abruptly closed all their locations in July of 2008, however the Tyler location had closed many years prior to the bankruptcy. The building though still stands and has a few distinctions of being a former Steak And Ale despite it turning into a Chinese bistro most recently!


bennigans sign

Bennigan's was a restaurant that had an old Irish pub theme to it. It was a casual dining restaurant also located in Tyler on Troup Hwy. next door to the defunct Steak And Ale. This once popular restaurant and hang out spot, especially around St. Patrick's Day, closed their doors for business in 2008 as well. You can no longer tell that it once was a Bennigan's because the current tenants totally remodeled the restaurant and is now home to two eateries, a sandwich shop and casual diner.

Bonanza Steakhouse (aka Ponderosa Steakhouse)


Bonanza was a steakhouse that offered up a pretty tasty buffet! Of course there were steaks, but this one of a kind restaurant featured a salad bar, hot food bar, soup bar and an awesome dessert bar! Once occupying retail space on S. Broadway, this former restaurant building is gone and is now home to a lot full of pre-owned cars!

There are many others that have come and gone and that trend will continue to happen, but one thing is for sure, there will not be a shortage of restaurants for us to choose from! Let's hope your current favorite can withstand the test of time and survive for more years to come.

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