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.