I don’t remember much about Zayre (or is it Zayre’s?) But, what is burned into my mind is the bright glow of the huge neon accented letters mounted over the store. At night, they cast their siren call to shop upon anyone in range.
Z - A - Y - R - E was spelled out, flashed, and repeated. I found no video record of it online, so I’ve created my own simulation from the photo above. The timing is based on my best guess. Zarye’s reigned in Chattanooga from its grand opening in 1964 until it’s closing in 1989.
I could go for a Shoney's hot fudge cake about now...
I fondly remember many good meals with my family at Shoney's. The chef salad, generously doused with Shoney's Seasoning Salt, was one of my childhood favorites. At its peak in 1998, the restaurant chain operated or franchised over 1,300 restaurants in 34 states. You may remember other Shoney's-owned restaurants like Fifth Quarter, and The Sailmaker. But it seems all good things end, or change significantly. After bankruptcy in 2000 and reacquisition - under 300 remain. One could write a book on the twists, turns, lawsuits, and downfall of this popular chain.
No trip to the Golden Gateway would be complete without a look back Channel 9's anchormen from 1976. No girls allowed - these were macho times.