Two chain restaurants in the New Castle and Christiana areas have closed their doors.
On Saturday, Lone Star closed its long-time location on DuPont Highway, New Castle after a couple of decades of operation.
The chain is keeping its restaurant off Route 202 in north Wilmington. The company’s restaurant in Dover closed earlier. A sign on the door of the closed restaurant advised customers to use gift cards at the northern location.
The Lone Star in New Castle was a popular destination for many years, with waits for tables commonplace on the weekends.
However, competition intensified in the area with the opening of Texas Road House and Longhorn along Route 40 in nearby Bear. The chain responded nationwide with a more upscale appearance that tried to set it apart from the more rustic Texas Road House.
Rumors about the future of the restaurant began to appear when construction got under way on a nearby Wawa that took up a parking lot area that had been used by restaurant patrons and even truckers. The Wawa has since opened.
A short drive away and near Christiana Hospital, the popular Firebirds opened one of its first restaurants.
Founders were Dennis Thompson, co- founder of Lone Star and Doug Glendenning, former president of Lone Star. Firebirds restaurants come with Colorado mountain lodge theme and a more upscale atmosphere. The privately held chain has 38 restaurants and avoided trying to grow rapidly.
Lone Star now has about 100 restaurants, down from about 180 at its peak.
Earlier, Chili’s closed its restaurant near Delaware Park and south of the Delaware Technical Community Technical College Stanton Campus.
Chili’s now has about 1,300 restaurants, down from about 1,600, according to industry sources.
The mid-priced chain has a vaguely Tex Mex menu that also features burgers and ribs. The restaurant is well known for its televsions advertising.
Local Competition also grew for Chili’s with nearby Border Café offering Tex Mex fare for many years.