That Mall is sick and that Store is dead!

August 1, 2008

Bennigans & Steak and Ale, dead July 2008, Hampton, VA

Filed under: "coliseum mall",dead chains,dead stores — Anita @ 3:14 pm

Today I’m in Hampton waiting for family, so I decided to take a drive around Hampton and take some pics and buy some eyeshadow at JC Penney.

In my previous entry, I c&p’d the article about Bennigans and Steak & Ale closing all their (non franchise) stores. These were pretty much right next door to one another, and the last remnants (other than Macys) of the original Coliseum Mall area. While I was out I took two quick iPhone photos of them:

Bennigans, hampton va

When I was growing up in the 80’s and early 90’s, the big Bennigans sign on the side of the building used to be white against a dark green background, and that old man who used to be the logo (Who WAS he anyway? He looked sorta like the Lipton tea man) was painted on it too. He used to scare the beejesus out of me, especially when we’d pass by there at nighttime after a quick Coliseum Mall trip after dance class.

This was the best picture I could take of the Steak & Ale with my iPhone:

Steak and ale, hampton va

I remember one of my friends told me once that there used to be little “rooms’ you could eat in there, and one reminded him of a jail cell or something.

Both of these places are from the late 1970’s or early 1980’s. I think my half sister worked at Bennigans before I was born, I’m not too sure.



  1. Poor Butters. He will be very upset to know that Bennigan’s is closing.

    Comment by Travis — August 1, 2008 @ 4:00 pm | Reply

  2. Best comment ever.

    Comment by Anita — August 1, 2008 @ 4:10 pm | Reply

  3. You don’t know who the old man was? That was Bennigan, of course!

    I read once (probably in the National Lampoon) that naming these places things like “Bennigan’s” and creating a fictional “owner” with a big walrus mustache (usually wearing an apron and polishing a beer glass) was better marketing than actually naming the places after the real owners or franchisees. Who wants to eat in a place named “Four or Five Proctologists Looking for a Tax Shelter”?

    Butters will just have to go to O’Charley’s, Applebees, TGI Friday’s or any of the others, I suppose. They’re all about the same.

    Steak & Ale used to be pretty decent, but I haven’t been there in years. You got quite an upscale feeling for your money with the little rooms and dim lighting.

    Comment by Dave — August 9, 2008 @ 3:31 pm | Reply

  4. Actually, I was going to be sarcastic, and call him “Captain Bennigan” but turns out I was almost right.

    >>Butters will just have to go to O’Charley’s, Applebees, TGI Friday’s or any of the others, I suppose. They’re all about the same.<<

    I think I read somewhere that this was the main reason why Bennigans closed down. Too many of those places are all the same now.

    Comment by Anita — August 9, 2008 @ 4:26 pm | Reply

  5. I have never seen a Bennigan’s like that before. It almost looks look cartoonish, or just very early 80’s. Looks like it could have been built in 1981. All 8 Bennigan’s locations are still open in Louisiana, that includes 2 locations in Baton Rouge. These are all franchised locations that is why. However, the Steak And Ale in Metairie did close, because it was a company owned store.

    Comment by Jamie B — August 16, 2008 @ 10:34 am | Reply

  6. All the Bennigans in NJ have closed up as well. The one by my house is being used by a car dealership for storing the over flow of their new cars. I always hated that resturant and I am not sad to see it go. TGIF rules!

    Comment by phil — September 24, 2008 @ 7:31 am | Reply

  7. I think the jail cell rooms were at Daryl’s which used to be across the street. I loved that place

    Comment by Chris — October 24, 2008 @ 10:17 pm | Reply

  8. I think you’re right.

    Did Darryl’s get torn down or something? Was it a chain?

    Comment by Anita — October 24, 2008 @ 10:47 pm | Reply

  9. I was googling images of Hampton on my lunch hour, and I found your photos.. I must say, they brought back so many memories! I lived in Hampton from 1990 – 1994 (my family moved there when my father got a job at the shipyard) when I was aged 5 – 8. I’ve visited a few times since then, but didn’t really get to see any of the places that we used to go to. Thanks for the images!

    Comment by Miranda — December 18, 2008 @ 12:11 pm | Reply

  10. My brother used to work at Steak and Ale in Hampton. He was an assistant manager there in the mid-eighties before he moved out of state. My family and I used to go dine there quite often. In fact, for my college graduation party (CNU), we ate there for dinner which was great. It is a great shame the company went under. That Steak and Ale was one of my favorite restaurants in Virginia. It’s crazy to think that a parking lot now occupies that spot!

    Comment by Joshua — May 13, 2011 @ 12:22 am | Reply

  11. For a few years, my wife and I ate at the Steak & Ale most Fridays as part of a group that had been doing the same thing for years before that. Bruce Hornsby had played there while working his way up, and the group (not yet including us) probably wished he’d play quieter, just like we did with every group and DJ who played there in our time. For a while, it had to be known as “The Jolly Ox,” because Virginia’s blue laws forbade a place to be named for an alcoholic beverage.

    Eventually, the place became unsatisfactory for meetings. The DJs became vengefully loud (“complain about ME, will they?”) and brought in smoke machines, so we started looking for other places for the Vulgarians to meet without any notable success.

    Comment by Kip W — May 20, 2011 @ 10:54 pm | Reply

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