goodbye, ruby tuesday.


... and hello, Ruby Tuesday! Against a backdrop of failing chain restaurants, Ruby

Tuesday is struggling to stay afloat. A keystone of their plan to stay competitive includes redesigning their restaurants, and now they're blowing up the last battered-trumpet-and old-steering-wheel-covered-wall, dusty-Tiffany-lamp-filled restaurant. Literally.

They will broadcast live the explosive destruction of the last "old Ruby Tuesday" 3 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 5, on their website. (The actual location is a secret; sorry.) They're calling it an "elegant, understated gesture"; I don't know about that. Can you see Jackie Kennedy detonating the dinner table?

In the meantime, Bennigan's and Steak & Ale have declared bankruptcy (all Central Florida Steak & Ale locations have closed; eight of the 150 closed Bennigan's are local), Donato's Pizzeria has closed all seven Orlando stores, the Roadhouse Grill chain (five Central Florida restaurants) is being liquidated, and everybody knows about the 600 Starbucks stores closing (of those 600, 60 Florida locations will be shuttered, a baker's dozen in the Orlando area â?? I've posted a list after the jump).

Local bigwigs Darden Restaurants, owners of the national Olive Garden and Red Lobster chains, have spent almost half a million dollars already this year (more than double what they spent all of last year) on Washington lobbyists, attempting to get out of minimum-wage standards, a trans-fat ban, required calorie disclosure, and other proposed bills in front of Congress, which would cost them money they don't have in this economic climate.

All in all, a grim atmosphere for restaurants as penny-pinching people â?? which we all are now â?? seem to be staying home and cooking.

(local Starbucks closings:) <@jump>

Closing Starbucks:

1. Altamonte Mall, 451 E. Altamonte Drive, Altamonte Springs

2. Altamonte Mall kiosk, 451 E. Altamonte Drive, Altamonte Springs

3. Orlando Fashion Square Mall, 3351 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando

4. Oviedo Marketplace, 1515 Oviedo Marketplace Blvd., Oviedo

5. Seminole Mall downstairs, 155 Towne Center Circle, Sanford

6. Seminole Mall upstairs, 155 Towne Center Circle, Sanford

7. County Road 545 & Stonybrook West Parkway, 15502 Stonybrook West Parkway, Winter Garden

8. Winter Park Village, 480 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park

9. Paddock Mall, 3100 SW College Road Ocala

10. State Road 200 and SW 114th, 9548 SW Highway 200, Ocala

11. Lakeland Square Mall, 3800 N. US Highway 98, Lakeland

12. West Oaks Mall, 9401 W. Colonial Drive, Ocoee

13. Buffalo Ridge, 4046 Wedgewood Lane, The Villages

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