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Local Restaurant Closes as a Result of Buyout

Cheeseburger in Paradise is no more - at least not in Iselin.

It was like any other Tuesday night at Cheeseburger in Paradise. Lights were twinkling, the flat screen TVs were on, people were enjoying margaritas over a chat, and dinner was being served.

It was also the last dinner for the chain restaurant's Iselin branch. As of Wednesday, the Iselin Cheeseburger in Paradise was to be permanently closed.

There was no big announcement, but on Wednesday, the deal to sell the Cheeseburger franchises was finalized. The buyer was to be Luby's, a Midwestern concern that specializes in cafeterias and other franchises such as Fuddruckers.

The Iselin manager wouldn't confirm that the location was being shuttered. "Who knows what will happen?" Manuel, the manager, said Tuesday. But on Wednesday, an employee confirmed the Iselin branch was definitely closed, and it wasn't temporary.

The Cheeseburger in Paradise branch in Iselin is located in the same building as Bonefish Grill. There was no indication what, if any, restaurant might be reopening in the space.

The Wayne location in New Jersey was being closed, but the Iselin concern wasn't part of the deal, Cheeseburger in Paradise's corporate headquarters said in a statement. 

“Cheeseburger in Paradise has closed its Wayne, NJ restaurant, effective October 4. We are appreciative for the wonderful patrons and loyal fans over the years.  As it relates to Cheeseburger in Paradise Gift Cards, guests can redeem them at any other Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant location," said Casey Barile, Paradise Restaurant Group Director of Marketing in a statement.

The only Cheeseburger in Paradise location left in New Jersey is in Secaucus.

The chain was inspired by the famous Jimmy Buffett song of the same name. The singer's holding company licensed the name in 2002 to a themed restaurant firm that also franchised the Outback Steakhouse chain.

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Tom Maras December 06, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Back in the 90’s, there was a little hamburger shack on the island of St.Croix, which was named Cheeseburgers in Paradise. The shack that house the bar sat close to the lagoon and provided a wonderful view. The burgers were all cooked on charcoal grills, usually outside if the shack. The burgers, with or without cheese, tasted GREAT, and when combined with the shack’s location, friendly staff and forever partying clientele, man ya know ya be in paradise. Unfortunately, the Cheeseburgers in Paradise never had such ambience. Nor, as many have said, neither did they have service or food that anything to rave about. (Doubtful Jimmy Buffett ever ate there) Still the establishment managed to stay in operation for a few years. Perhaps, in part, because the adjoining building, which houses Bonefish Grill, is such a fine eatery. Let’s hope the replacement restaurant has a good bill of fare and good service.
M Doherty December 06, 2012 at 03:41 PM
So sorry to see that this Cheeseburger in Paradise is closing!! My husband and I would go there many a Friday evening for maragitas, beers and the Jerk Chicken wrap or the Kickin' Chicken Nachos!! Friendly bartenders, Holly and James who always made us feel like we were coming to a place with friends (kinda like Cheers)... The last time we were there was the Friday after Thanksgiving. We were there with our best friends and had a great time singing and dancing to karoke. We will miss our Friday night 'hangout'. Good luck to all the workers, especially Holly and James.
teresa m kaltenbach December 06, 2012 at 07:51 PM
Sorry, Fuddruckers was disgusting. That's why they shut their doors. Cheeseburger in Paradise was a fun place to go to for food and fun. Their Rum-Runners kicked BUTT! Sad to hear that they were bought out.
Shirley 096 December 07, 2012 at 12:43 AM
This really stinks! I hate Bonefish, terrible service and food when I went. Never went back either. I enjoyed Cheeseburger in Paradise. I wish all the employees well, this was the type of place where you made your good time. The employees were always courteous and informative. We always had a blast whenever we went, whether for a quick beer or their delicious fish and sticks. I will miss it.
Not my real name December 07, 2012 at 10:35 AM
Out of the pan into the fire though. Cheesburger in P was anything but: The burgers were fair at best, the place itself just not very nice, and rather weirdly designed, the staff was generally OK - sometimes good and sometimes terrible (like regular people)..but clearly not really well trianed and if/when it got busy they just got frazzeled. But Fuddruckers is not much of a Burger Joint even (at least compared to the newer crowd of burger places), and even a bit pricey. I agree, not bad overall for what it is....and as I write, actually maybe something the area doesn't have. I mean how many chains with the same menu as each other, changed only by the supposed tilt of the demeanor they want to "specialize" in need? That Ruby's once again, not a very good place...well known for having the real senior crowd. Cheap, plain food, and you can sneak a doggie bag and don't have to tip - even if they do come to help you because you'll tie up the line and have your hands full moving your walker. But again, nothing else (except for Chinese - and that gives this type of customer gas, and gets stuck under the false teeth. Lets all go back to supporting BUDS HUT...they deserve it, and may be able to get back to having really good food, really great and fresh fish....and a bit more modern - if some just go back to using it. HEY - it's a classic...it has soul. It needs us.
john December 12, 2012 at 05:49 AM
Back in the day, Fuddruckers on Route 1 North in New Brunswick was fun, you could build your own burger toppings to your heart's desire. Then the original concept was changed and they didn't keep up maintenance and the dingy bathroom became the 1st sign that they gave up on the thought of pleasing customers.
john December 12, 2012 at 05:54 AM
Outrageous! I just learned of this and had purchased a gift card as a present and heard you can't get a refund and the only option is to drive to Secaucus -- should anyone hear differently, please advise. This is so nervy of them that they should be sued for a false sale that they won't deliver on unless I drive 30 miles out of my way and pay a toll to boot. Are you F'ing kidding me or what?
john December 12, 2012 at 07:49 AM
What/where is Bud's Hut?
mareceymorgan@ymail.com April 29, 2013 at 01:25 AM
Sad to see it close. Had many great times there with family and friends. :(


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