If you grew up on the East Coast of the U.S., you've likely dined at a Friendly's restaurant in your lifetime, and very possibly more than once. It was the depressing, suburban chain restaurant that was a little less depressing than the others, mainly because the promise of an ice cream sundae — the "Happy Ending," as their menu dubbed it, sweetly oblivious to any vulgar connotations such a term might imply — awaited you after every overcooked hamburger and soggy tuna melt.
But times change — in that they get worse — and casual dining spots are the first splurges to go. And this chain in particular seemed disinterested with keeping up with the times. So Friendly's is facing extinction, friends. The company, which employs 10,000, is swimming in $225 million in debt, and on the cusp of filing Chapter 11, the WSJ reports. Ironically, it all started as an ice cream shop opened by two brothers during the Great Depression in Springfield, Mass; it took a Great Recession to wipe it out.