There is something strange and somewhat beautiful about seeing a place that was once full of life and energy completely abandoned. For some, stepping inside a building that has been empty for years can spark a range of emotions including fear, pity, and even sadness.
The emotions these once vibrant places generate may be why so many people have started seeking out long forgotten structures to photograph or simply explore. Pictures of abandoned buildings have even become popular quite in the art scene. In fact, one can hardly attend an art show these days without encountering at least one person who specializes in photographing long forgotten establishments.
As the buildings themselves go, empty restaurants, in particular, are popular sites for artists and explorers alike. Moreover, there are no shortages of old restaurants out there that have been closed for years – forgotten by all but longtime locals and those with an interest in seeking out decaying structures.
With that in mind, we are going to showcase 20 amazing photographs that feature a variety of abandoned eating establishments. These buildings are located in many parts of the world and range from well-known chains to local mom and pop eateries.
Several of the images on our list showcase buildings that have been destroyed entirely, after the photos were taken. Best of all, folks won’t need to travel great distances or enter potentially unsafe structures, to see what remains of these once popular establishments.
It’s now time to take a look at these haunting images of restaurants that most of the world has completely forgotten about.
20 The Lonestar Steakhouse (New Jersey)
Lone Star Steakhouse & Salon is a Texas-themed casual dining chain. At its peak, in the late-90s, there was roughly 265 locations throughout the United States. However, the restaurant's popularity began to decline in the 2000s, and most of them ended up going under. As of 2018, only 4 restaurants remain.
This photo features an abandoned Lone Star in southern New Jersey. The mural in the background still looks fairly sharp. However, it doesn’t look like anyone has sat in those chairs in quite some time. This creepy image shows a once vibrant restaurant looking very much like a relic from the past.
19 Vacant Diner
The old style diner was extremely popular in the early half of the 20th century. In fact, there are many restaurants today that pay homage and serve the type of foods one could expect to find at these establishments – Steak ‘n Shake is a classic example.
While diner food well probably always have its place in the world, many of the buildings that housed the initial craze are fast becoming extinct. Here we have an old roadside restaurant that looks as if it’s been abandoned for years. The fact that there is a sign that says “available” on the roof means this retro-looking building may be able to avoid the wrecking ball.
18 Steak and Ale
Steak and Ale was a popular franchise known for their signature prime rib and salad bar. The Dallas-based company peaked in 1992 – with around 157 locations at the time. Over the years, Steak and Ale began to fall out of favor with diners in the US and by 2008 the parent company had gone under.
In recent years, there have been rumblings about the once popular chain making a comeback – though it has yet to materialize. For now, all that’s left of this once proud franchise is a handful of empty buildings waiting to be sold... or completely demolished.
17 McDonald's (The McBarge)
The McBarge is arguably the world’s most famous abandoned restaurant. The barge, officially known as the Friendship 500, was once a floating McDonalds,back in the day. It was created for the 1986 World Exposition on Transportation and Communication (aka Expo 86). An impressive structure in its prime, the McBarge has since been abandoned.
The derelict craft sat idle in Canada’s Burrard Inland, British Colombia for about 30 years (which is where it was when this photo was taken). Moviegoers may also recognize the Friendship 500 from Blade: Trinity, as it was used as the Nightstalkers lair in the popular superhero film.
16 Burger King (Governors Isle)
Burger King is one of the most recognized restaurant brands on the planet. The home of the flame-broiled Whopper usually attracts plenty of diners. However, even successful franchises have a few locations that don’t last – for whatever reason.
Here we see an old BK, located on Governors, Island New York. This particular store even made an appearance in the 615th issue of the Spider-Man comic book. The building shown is vacant, yet well preserved. Unlike many of the other structures on our list, this former restaurant isn’t in a state of disrepair – which makes it eerie in its own unique way.
15 50s Diner
Here we have what remains of an old 50s-style diner, sitting on top of a mountain. This building looks likes it has been abandoned for quite some time now. That being said, it sure does make for a pretty amazing photo op.
While many of the images on our list can probably best be described as haunting, this one almost looks like a work of art – especially with the white clouds and mountain tops looming in the background. It may look like something out of a painting, but it’s still very clear that this unmaintained structure has been forgotten by someone.
14 ShowBiz Pizza
ShowBiz Pizza was a restaurant that featured coin-operated rides, shows with animatronic animals, and plenty of arcade games. The franchise opened in 1980 when their parent company split from Chuck E. Cheese’s, who would become their biggest competitor. As the popularity of arcade games started to diminish, ShowBiz began to struggle. By 1992, all of their remaining stores were bought out by Chuck E. Cheese's.
Those who grew up in the 80s might remember Billy Bod. Billy Bob was ShowBiz Pizza’s mascot – an animatronic banjo playing bear who wore overalls. As we can see, the years haven’t been kind to the once loveable bear, who now resembles an evil robot from a warped future.
13 Pontiac Silverdome Restaurant (Pontiac, Michigan)
The Silverdome first opened in 1975 and was probably best known as the home of the NFL’s Detroit Lions from 1975 to 2001. The NBA’s Detroit Pistons also played there from 1978 to 1988, as well. Wrestling fans will remember the stadium as the site of WrestleMania III – the event that saw Hulk Hogan body slam Andre The Giant.
Sadly, the stadium struggled to attract events in it’s later years, once the Lions relocated. Moreover, a roof collapse, which occurred in 2013, helped to seal the venues fate. In 2015, it was announced that the building would be demolished. The Silverdome’s final free-standing section was destroyed last March.
12 1920s Gas Station Restaurant (Westwood, CA)
This brick chimney is all that remains of a once lively gas station and restaurant, located near Westwood, California. As the photo suggests, the restaurant, which was a popular destination in the 1920s, is no longer in business. That being said, the chimney has become something of a popular tourist attraction.
Apparently, this lonely-looking chimney still works. According to the plaque, which is located next to the brick structure, a group starts a fire their every Christmas. While it’s kind of hard to tell from the angle of the photo, the powerlines above aren’t actually resting on the chimney – so no safety concerns there.
11 Rail Car Restaurant (Location Unknown)
Now that planes have become all the rage, there aren’t as many folks traveling onboard trains these day – at least not the ones that might require dining services. However, those who do still travel via locomotive know that having a decent place to eat on board can make one’s trip much more enjoyable. That being said, the rail car restaurant here doesn’t appear to be making anything enjoyable these days.
It doesn’t appear that anyone’s eaten at this abandoned railcar restaurant in years – except for maybe the occasional cockroach. This place looks like a location one would see on an episode of Ghost Hunters.
10 Roof Top Restaurant (Mumbai, India)
Believe it or not, this space in Mumbai, India was once a vibrant rooftop restaurant. Now, all that remains is the roof itself and some tree leaves. At one point, this spot offered diners some amazing views and noteworthy dishes.
The structure here looks rusted out and hardly resembles the upscale eatery it once was. The shadow cast on the ground also serves to make the sport look even more desolate. While it may not be covered in debris, with damaged furniture lying about, this area is certainly chilling in its own right. This is easily among the most unique photos on our list.
9 Howard Johnson
At the height of its popularity, Howard Johnson’s had more than 1,000 restaurants in various locations throughout the United States. However, the roadside restaurant, which featured favorites like hot dogs, chicken, and ice cream, relied heavily on travelers to keep them afloat. When airline prices became more affordable, it signaled the end for the once popular chain. The last Howard Johnson’s, which was located in Lake George, New York, closed its doors in 2017.
Today, a few abandoned locations, like the one shown here, are all that remains of the restaurant chain that so many baby boomers loved to frequent as children.
8 Cindy’s (Hartsville, SC)
Cindy’s was once a popular family restaurant in Hartsville, South Carolina that featured standard US cuisine. The casual eatery was said to be quite popular in the 1990s. However, as is evident from the photo, Cindy’s no longer serves the good people of Hartsville.
This building looks like something straight out of a post-apocalyptic video game or horror film. The front of the structure is covered in overgrowth, and the windows appear to have been either removed or destroyed. Judging by the look of things, Cindy’s had been out of business for some time when this particular image was captured.
7 Bay Leaf India Restaurant (Tarleton, Lancashire)
Located in Tarleton, Lancashire, England; Bay Leaf was a restaurant that specialized in food commonly associated with India. Prior to becoming an eatery, the location was a 17th-century farmhouse. While the aging building has managed to withstand the test of time, it was clearly in pretty rough shape when this photo was taken.
Since the Bay Leaf shut its doors, many local residences considered the building that once housed it to be something of an eyesore. Fortunately, for those folks at least, there were plans in place for the structure. In 2016, it was announced that the old barn would be renovated and become an office for a local tech company.
6 Burger King (New Jersey)
Originally founded back in 1953, there are over 15,000 Burger Kings in existence these days. While they are best known as the home of the Whopper, BK serves a variety of popular foods including onion rings and the Orginal Chicken Sandwich.
Here he have a Burger King location that has definitely seen better days. The windows have been destroyed (then boarded) and many of the tiles have either fallen or been removed from the roof. A place where folks once sat down to enjoy a quick meal, now looks like it’s been hit by a tornado. Fortunately, there are still plenty of other locations that are up and running, for folks who are craving some Chicken Fries.
5 Domino's Pizza (Peru, Illinois)
Domino’s is a pizza chain that has been around since 1960. At press time, there are around 13,800 locations, pumping out pizzas daily. Known or their “30-minute guarantee” and iconic advertising mascot, the Noid, Domino’s is one the most recognized chains on the planet.
In 2009, after finishing last in a consumer taste preference survey for pizza chains, Domino's decided to reinvest in its core product. While the new and improved pies helped sales, apparently, they weren’t released in time to save this location in Peru, Illinois. Believe it or not, this tattered looking building was once home to a Domino’s restaurant.
4 Pizza Hut (Fredericksburg, VA)
Pizza Hut is an international restaurant chain that was founded back in 1958. As of early-2018, the company has approximately 16,796 restaurants worldwide. Pizza Hut is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. – the company that also owns Taco Bell and Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Here we have abandoned store located in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The street lights, along with ominous clouds in the sky, make this photograph look particularly eerie. Though the picture was taken after the store went under, there still appears to be a car in the parking lot – adding to the photos mystique.
3 Old Hotel Restaurant
Hotel restaurants can be something of a controversial topic for many travelers. One the one hand, they are usually quick and convenient. However, depending on the quality of the hotel, they don’t always serve the best food in the world. Of course, it’s nice to have the option to eat at one’s hotel – unless the restaurant looks like the one shown here.
This particular restaurant looks like it’s located inside a war zone. The walls are decaying, and the floor is covered in debris. On the plus side, the tables and chairs appear to be in relatively good shape. That being said, this creepy restaurant won't’s be serving anyone anytime soon.
2 White Coffee Pot (Baltimore, Maryland)
The White Coffe Pot was a restaurant chain located in Maryland. They first opened all the way back in 1932 and reached the peak of their popularity in the 1960s and 70s. The final location, which was located in Brooklyn Park, Maryland, closed its doors for good in 1993.
While the business hasn’t been open in decades, this Baltimore location was still intact, as of 2009. The abandoned building even attracted a street artist who took the time to create a fairly detailed bald eagle head. The White Coffe Pot lasted for over 60 years, but this photo stands as a reminder that all thing must eventually come to an end.
1 Restaurant In Chernobyl (Pripyat, Ukraine)
The word “pectopa” means restaurant – so this establishment didn’t have the most original name when it was up and running. This abandoned eatery is located in (or around) the ghost town known as Pripyat, Ukraine. For those unfamiliar, Pripyat was adversely affected by the infamous Chernobyl disaster – an accident involving a nuclear power plant.
Like many structures, this building managed to survive the Chernobyl incident. That being said, it’s anyone’s guess as to how safe it is to be in or around this now abandoned restaurant. Apparently, at least one photographer decided to get close enough to capture this haunting image.