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I had a better week than Red Robin and Claim Jumper.

Jeez, Fresno. I go on vacation for a week, and Red Robin and Claim Jumper decide to close their Fresno restaurants.

Given this town’s love of chains, the closures are surprising, even though we knew both had issues. Donald talked about his sweltering experience at Red Robin earlier this year.

And before I left for Hawaii, I called Fresno’s Claim Jumper to gauge the possibility of an upcoming closure. Every time I asked if the restaurant was going to stay open, the person on the other end never gave me a “yes” or “no” answer. Instead, he simply repeated “We’re fine.”

Based on that response, I figured it wouldn’t be long before they shut up shop.

Mike Oz and Bethany Clough had the news covered. (And Richard Lucido was kind enough to tip us off on Twitter.)

So, what was I doing while Red Robin and Claim Jumper were plotting their closures? Eating this:

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And this:
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That was the spread at an inaugural event for Hawaii’s new governor, Neil Abercrombie. The folks at the Pahala Plantation House put together a locavore meal with products sourced from the Big Island.

Here’s a closer look at some of the dishes. Let’s start with hearts of palm topped with guacamole:

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In addition to the devlied eggs, there are taro chips (on the right) and rambutan (the red spiky fruit):
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And a tray of sweet breads from the Punalu’u Bake Shop:
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To work off that meal (and many others during the week), we picked coffee on my family’s farm and walked up the mountain to get a view of our fields:
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Like I said, I had a better week than Red Robin and Claim Jumper.

Responses to "I had a better week than Red Robin and Claim Jumper."

I just received more info from Claim Jumper’s chief operating officer about why the restaurant closed — and why it was selling gift cards the day before. See here.

DJimiO says:

Considering some of Red Robin’s business practices, I’m not surprised they’re shuttering locations. A relative recently severed his professional ties with them after he was repeatedly told by a superior to fire handicapped employees. “They don’t need to be working at Red Robin,” was the only reason given.

And Claim Jumper? Good food, but not surprised by their demise either. Most of their customers probably exploded while trying to clean their plates. CJ portion sizes were insane.