The Water Cooler – What Chain Restaurant Will Close Next?

October 22, 2018 12:00 pm · 85 comments

The “Water Cooler” is a feature on where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it.

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday in the noon hour.

Early today we posted a story about the closure of Quiznos in Walnut Creek.

QUESTION: In your opinion, what chain restaurant in Claycord do you think will close next?

Talk about it….

Luke October 22, 2018 at 12:07 PM

On a related note, Johnny Rocket’s in Sunvalley just closed down. I don’t know how much longer that food court has either. I predict that Cold Stone Creamery in Pleasant Hill or Noodles and Company will close down next.

Goober Dan October 22, 2018 at 12:08 PM

Elephant Bar. That place is terrible.

whatever October 22, 2018 at 1:15 PM

Elephant Barf in Claycord has already been shut down for many years.

whatever October 22, 2018 at 12:14 PM

finally. The appropriate answer is Olive Garden.

Bob October 23, 2018 at 1:11 AM

Been waiting a long time for that opportunity?

S October 22, 2018 at 12:36 PM

Lucille’s. It just isn’t that good.

Foonman October 22, 2018 at 2:40 PM

I have to agree. We tried it and found it to be so-so. Just like Dickeys, it tasted old or reheated. Too bad, for a good idea…

It's Me October 22, 2018 at 4:58 PM

We have gone there 4 times and always had horrible service and the food was never consistent either.

Captain Bebops October 22, 2018 at 12:58 PM

Quiznos closing or just becoming another Mr. Pickles?

Regina October 22, 2018 at 1:02 PM

LOTS of chains on the decline in this area, especially the smaller chains with major cutback like Maria Maria and Tomatina. In no particular order, a prophecy for the next 2-5 years:

BJ’s (bad location)
The Cheesecake Factory (inconsistent food)
Maria Maria (questionable smell)
Tomatina (bug infested, unhygienic)

I miss Chevy’s and Marie Callender’s in Concord.

It's Me October 22, 2018 at 5:02 PM

I so agree about Chevy’s and miss El Torito as well.
And yes Cheesecake Factory can make a mean cheesecake but that is about it.

WC Resident October 22, 2018 at 11:03 PM

I tried cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory and was not impressed. I like the cheesecake from Costco.

Concordejet October 22, 2018 at 1:19 PM

Agave on the corner of willow pass and galinda should close food are just garbage there

mike favar October 22, 2018 at 1:20 PM

The original pancake house on contra Costa Blvd in Pleasant Hill is also closed. Ironically both of them were recently shut down by the health department. That killed those restaurants.

Bishop Estates October 22, 2018 at 3:01 PM

I ate at that place one time and that was enough, the worst omelet I have ever had. I had indigestion for two days…never went back

Foodie1 October 23, 2018 at 6:24 AM

Really, I at there in late July-didn’t realized it closed. I just had the standard bacon and eggs, but maybe that’s why my nephew got sick after we at there. The one in Claremont-San Diego is fabulous.

Anon October 22, 2018 at 1:21 PM


Kirkwood October 22, 2018 at 2:56 PM

I eat at Chili’s a couple times a year and it’s always been crowded. Don’t see it closing anytime soon.

RSD October 22, 2018 at 1:23 PM

It’s sad. That place was really good years ago.

Mmmmm October 22, 2018 at 1:25 PM

If DUNKIN DOUGHNUTS doesn’t get the kinks out and make the COFFEE CONSISTENTLY delicious, customers will stop going. I don’t want them to close. But the last two times I went through the drive thru, and ordered an Americano and frozen coffee, one was too bitter the other too sweet. Unlike the first experience, when the coffee was delicious.
Just looking for consistency !!

Smith October 22, 2018 at 1:56 PM

Dozen donuts I bought were stale … tasted like day old. Hot chocolate tasted like Swiss Miss stirred up in hot water. Totall unimpressive.

YAHOOboi October 22, 2018 at 3:33 PM

I cant stand Dunkin Donuts, the donuts taste gross, too much sugar. Go with the local shop still.

Mimi (original) October 22, 2018 at 4:35 PM

I bought a dozen and a half donuts to take to work and found the donuts to be an odd texture. Kinda of just “cakey” or “dense” unlike my favorite donuts that are a little crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. And they’re pricy, probably won’t go back.

anon October 22, 2018 at 5:56 PM

I’ve been there twice to get an apple fritter and both times they didn’t have any.

KAD October 22, 2018 at 7:41 PM

anon – I understand that there is very little apple in the apple fritters.

Frank October 22, 2018 at 8:26 PM

Great apple fritters @ “Best Little Donout Shop…” Concord B at East St

Foodie1 October 23, 2018 at 6:27 AM

The donuts are not made onsite and shipped in nightly, thus stale and not so fresh. just an fyi –

polarbearmarket October 23, 2018 at 2:01 PM

I have yet to find a donut I like at Dunkin. I would much rather stick with the local stores – King’s Chicks, etc.

Michelle October 22, 2018 at 1:27 PM

@goober dan

The Elephant Bar has been closed for a couple years now.

Goober Dan October 22, 2018 at 2:05 PM

>—–The Joke—–>

Your Head

seriously? October 22, 2018 at 3:44 PM

That was a joke?

Not Sure October 22, 2018 at 1:36 PM

Olive Garden, their food has gone downhill for years, cannot even eat those rock hard breadsticks anymore. No longer a special occasion restaurant, just a garbage restaurant.

Stove October 22, 2018 at 1:39 PM

Very foolish to openly root for any store to close down in your town but having said that I hope AppleBees and Chilis closes their franchise entirely because it’s garbage food and it’s well documented.

LL October 22, 2018 at 2:20 PM

Chili’s restaurant does not have franchises in California.

Susan I. October 22, 2018 at 2:38 PM

LL It’s right next to the on ramp of 242 going eastbound.

Cheesesteak Shoppe as much as it pains me to say so. Nothing but bread now… not at all authentic anymore.

YAHOOboi October 22, 2018 at 3:36 PM

I stopped going to cheesteak shops a year ago, they raised the price so much its no longer affordable for lunch. Also dont call them cheesesteaks, they are more like cheese-less steaks now, last few times i ordered even with extra cheese it felt like there was no cheese inside, just bread.

Elwood October 22, 2018 at 3:45 PM

Appleby’s is the world’s greatest restaurant!

They can microwave anything that comes off the Sysco truck.

Atticus Thraxx October 22, 2018 at 5:04 PM

“They can microwave anything that comes off the Sysco truck.”
That made me laugh. 🙂

S October 22, 2018 at 1:48 PM

i kinda miss the old Carlos Murphy’s chain….

DD October 22, 2018 at 2:04 PM

It’s funny, you look at joints like “Barney’s” and “The Sugar Plum,” that have been going for 50+ years, and wonder why these chains are dropping like flies.

Susan I. October 22, 2018 at 2:40 PM

I miss the Squirrel in Lafayette

Gititogether October 22, 2018 at 4:26 PM

Ditto (🐿)

Kppaynter October 22, 2018 at 8:23 PM

Squirrels was so good!

martinezmike October 22, 2018 at 2:32 PM

Bring back the Velvet Turtle.

Elwood October 22, 2018 at 3:47 PM

No thank you!

anon October 22, 2018 at 2:40 PM

Dickey’s BBQ- not tasty and yet they are always out of ribs by early evening.

Dr. Jellyfinger October 22, 2018 at 11:37 PM

Out of ribs?
There were a couple of dead wild hogs on Kirker Pass yesterday…
Couldn’t taste any worse than what I had at Dickey’s.
Gave them a couple of chances & they don’t get another…. just blah food.

Kirkwood October 23, 2018 at 11:58 AM

I saw then last Fri. Hogs, is that what they were? Too big and too dark to be coyotes.

Lovelace October 22, 2018 at 2:42 PM

You could try the smoking pig in San Jose.i enjoyed the food.
I have not tried the Fremont location
Everette and Jones in Hayward is/was pretty good too. I have not been there in years

Lo October 22, 2018 at 3:04 PM

Oh how I wish we had Everett and Jones on this side of the tunnel!!

Elwood October 22, 2018 at 3:48 PM

Amen, Lo!

Mimi (original) October 22, 2018 at 4:40 PM

On the subject of the Original Cheesesteak Shop, they’ve “modernized” it and lost their charm. They changed the sizes of the sandwiches and raised the prices – neither is good for business, and, when the line is hitting the door and the foyer and they have 1 person on register and 2 people cooking and wrapping food they simply cannot move fast enough! And now they’ve added a new “customer appreciation” club – I LIKED my stamped yellow cards! Let’s face it, change and modernization isn’t always for the best!

Susan I. October 22, 2018 at 10:10 PM

Totally agree. You can get Tastykakes at Dollor General and last time I was there no Herr’s. And I have to agree, if Dunkin’ doesn’t get it together will stop going there too. They own the franchise in WC so it isn’t about ironing out the bugs.

Silva October 23, 2018 at 5:30 AM

Aw, that’s sad. I’ve managed to stay away for several years since I’ve been eating grain-free, but I used to visit several of the Cheesesteak Shops around the Bay Area for decades, and always found the sandwiches consistently satisfying and delicious. I just found a yellow card in my wallet with all but one stamp filled too!

George October 22, 2018 at 4:46 PM

It seems Black Angus in Pleasant Hill could be next. Many people would rather go to Texas Back Forty or the OutBack.

JazzMan October 22, 2018 at 9:36 PM

Been to Back Forty BBQ 3x (2x were giftcard visits). Can’t even call it BBQ. Diappointed every time.

Elwood October 22, 2018 at 11:08 PM

“Can’t even call it BBQ.”

Ain’t that the truth!

Dr. Jellyfinger October 22, 2018 at 11:43 PM

Well….. I’ve ribbed around all over this county and I think Back Forty has the best ribs,,, thick, meaty & falling off the bone tender rib meat with a smokey sweet bbq sauce… and the best coleslaw ever.

Tell me who does it better (in CC County that is).

WC Resident October 22, 2018 at 11:57 PM

I liked Back Forty they were on the south side of Oak Park Blvd. at the corner with Douglas Lane. They moved across the street for a few years and then moved down the street to their current location. The food and service seemed to go down with each move while the prices increased.

anon October 23, 2018 at 8:20 AM

I love Back Forty’s pork ribs- I haven’t found any better yet at least in this area. The service has always been good when I’ve been there.

The Fractionator October 24, 2018 at 4:49 AM

Last time I was at Back Forty the service was lousy. Took over 1/2 to get the meal with no explanation from our waiter. Had to ask another waiter to get our waiter 2x’s. Ordered medium rare steak and got a well done cold steak. Manager/Owner made it right by taking half off. Any recommendations for a good BBQ place on this side of the tunnel? Dicky’s, Barney’s, Lucille’s sure don’t make it.

Amy October 22, 2018 at 4:58 PM

Red Robin.

anon October 22, 2018 at 6:03 PM

I went to Popeyes Chicken 2 different times. Once when it first opened and the food was bad. I tried it again yesterday, nothing changed and I will never go back. The food is the worst fast food in Claycord.

Dr. Jellyfinger October 23, 2018 at 12:05 AM

Try again… get the spicy chicken and have red beans & rice for your side. The mashed potatoes are only so-so…. but the gravy really rocks! Chicken tenders? OK with “Sweet Heat” bbq sauce.

Justifiable Languor October 23, 2018 at 10:11 AM

Lol. I’ve been meaning to try Popeye’s, just for culinary breadth. Gotta keep up on the local flavors dontchaknow.

Sandy G October 22, 2018 at 6:49 PM

Claim Jumper

Bob October 23, 2018 at 1:21 AM

I remember the stir they caused when they opened.

THE place to be in the late 90’s.

CM October 22, 2018 at 8:33 PM

Dickey’s BBQ off of Alhambra just closed

EvilOreo October 23, 2018 at 8:46 AM

Dickey’s has been closed for a long while. Long enough that it is now a pretty good breakfast/lunch only restaurant.

Mike October 22, 2018 at 9:20 PM

Whole Foods?

Mmmmm October 22, 2018 at 9:36 PM

Your best bet is to dine at home. Fresh, healthy, no questionable ingredients. Chain restaurants are letting their customers down. I hope they read all the comments, cause their future looks bleak.

The Truth October 22, 2018 at 10:21 PM

I hope they close The Cheese Steak Shop as ever since they got new ownership it’s completely gone downhill. Made the sandwich smaller size, less meat, and raised the price.

Kirkwood October 23, 2018 at 12:28 PM

I’ve always liked the Cheese Steak shop, true, it isn’t the same as it used to be, but what is, now? Have you checked the price of ingredients lately.

Sb October 22, 2018 at 11:40 PM

Taco Bell in Encina.
On a related note… Nob Hill on Oak Grove, or Luckys on Clayton Rd. (Vineyard). Who’s shopping there?

AnonZ October 23, 2018 at 5:16 AM

I shop at Lucky’s (Clayton/Alberta) all the time.

Silva October 23, 2018 at 2:33 PM

I get takeout Fried chicken from Lucky on Clayton Rd.

Dr. Jellyfinger October 23, 2018 at 12:01 AM

I loved the old Mountain Jack’s in Lafayette…. HMS Endeavour in Walnut Creek too… fun bar scenes at both …. way back in the 80’s…. and those were two of the three that comprised the Herpes Triangle (if I recall correctly… and I think the Sheraton in Concord was the third destination that completed the triangle…. or was it Abernathy’s?).

AnonZ October 23, 2018 at 5:20 AM

Ah, good times! LOVED Mountain Jack’s, Snooker Pete’s in Pittsburg, Charley Brown’s, Carlos Murphy’s.

Yes, Abernathy’s was the party spot back in the day.

Kinsey Leakey October 23, 2018 at 9:00 AM

@ DrJelly
Yes I loved those days of the BayArea AOL chatrooms and local BBS’s in person get togethers for then on to bountiful sex parties at all those places mentioned back then. I went to Abernathy’s to listen to the buzz Ines or Ken Cooper band alot. actually I think it might of been The Refectory in WC for those bands.
The Sheraton was the place as the rooms were there right out of the bar.
Never got the H tho even with all that sex.

Justifiable Languor October 23, 2018 at 11:17 AM

AnonZ: I loved Carlos Murphy Baby Back Ribs. And now Tahoe Joes is gone. Their Hamburger was mighty good…until the last year or so…changed my mind. I am glad TahoeJ is gone. How can you just indiscriminately ruin a fabulous Hamburger. It is a crime!

Dr. Jellyfinger October 23, 2018 at 9:53 PM

Kinsey… I believe they were “The BuzzTones”

Abernathy’s became The Refectory after some years… I went there alot in the 80’s… used to listen to Cleave Jones now and then with his little band of groupies.

rocco biale October 23, 2018 at 10:15 AM

Restaurant(s) plural. Full service dining is in trouble in this State. Applebees closed 88 units and Outback closed 61, just in the last 18 months. Cheesecake Factory is in trouble. Paying tipped food servers $17.04 an hour starting in 2025 is unsustainable. The California legislature won’t budge on this. Hard times ahead for the industry.

Mountainside Jay October 23, 2018 at 12:36 PM

First off Rocco, love the pizza, man.
Secondly, I feel that with a good minimum wage for service staff like we have in California, we should be tipping only a minimum amount or more for exceptional service. People live and die on the 20% in Pennsylvania but the pressure seems much less in California, and more people will dine out if they don’t have to tip so much.

Bill Pickle October 23, 2018 at 10:47 AM

Hopefully all of them. Then the country can possibly go back to mom and pop real food restaurants, instead of the mega industrial corporate garbage that is served in most of the chain places.

WCLocal October 24, 2018 at 2:30 PM

How is PF Changs still around?

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