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This Beloved Midwestern Restaurant Chain Just Closed Its Very Last Location

The home of the Emberger was a favorite among locals in Fridley, Minn.
FACT CHECKED BY Faye Brennan

A beloved family dining chain Embers has reportedly closed its last location in Fridley, Minn., after 65 years in business. Ricky's Embers shut its doors permanently on Sunday, as the restaurant was sold to a developer that plans on tearing the building down.

Once a majorly popular dining and all-day breakfast destination in the Upper Midwest, Embers was famous for its Emberger Royal burger, pancakes, and coffee cake. According to Restaurant Business, during its heyday, the dine-in chain reached a peak of 60 locations through franchising. The restaurants were spread across Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and the Dakotas.

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The last-standing location in Fridley had been around since 1998 and had been the only remaining location of the chain for the last eight years. Owner Joe Rickenbach said that while competition like Applebee's and Chipotle moved in on Ricky's Embers' territory over the years, the business didn't really suffer from it because of its legions of loyal customers who had come to appreciate the brand's legacy and a menu unchanged since the '90s.

"We had our regulars, Embers regulars. That's always been huge," Rickenbach told Restaurant Business. "We had the Embers fandom, and slowly got more and more people because of it. And then young people moved into the community. They just knew us as Ricky's."

Since the restaurant announced its permanent closure a few weeks ago, those same fans came to say goodbye to the establishment, some waiting over an hour to get to order the iconic Emberger one final time. However, Rickenbach hinted there may still be a glimmer of hope for the once-beloved brand.

"I got my son Sam in there and he's toyed around with opening another one, another location. So, that's possible… We're just going to take it day by day," he told Kare11.

For more on major restaurant closures, check out The Saddest Restaurant Closures in Your State, and don't forget to sign up for our newsletter to get the latest restaurant news delivered straight to your inbox.

Mura Dominko
Mura Dominko is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!. Read more