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Burns & Gambo

Older Valley restaurants fading, new ones taking over

Bill Johnson's Big Apple has closed one location in the Valley but kept four others open. (KTAR Photo/@Bob McClay)

PHOENIX -- Diners may not be able to get into their favorite restaurants anymore because some of them have closed.

For example, five valley Applebee's were closed as part of a franchise sale. There is a fence around the Bill Johnson's Big Apple on west Indian School Road. The local chain's four other locations are still open. The Islands has closed near Paradise Valley Mall.

Arizona Restaurant Association President Steve Chucri said people may have tired of some of the restaurants.

"The life cycle of your average restaurant is 20 to 25 years," he said. "Some restaurants have had a very long run in the state, but demographics change in certain neighborhoods. Consumer demand changes. The overall likeability of a certain brand or concept changes over time."

Chucri said TGI Friday's is a great example of a restaurant becoming a "tired brand." While there used to be dozens of locations in Phoenix and Tucson, only two are still open. One of them is the Friday's Front Row at Chase field, the other is at Interstate 17 and Happy Valley Road.

Still, Chucri insisted that more Arizonans are going out to eat, and restaurants are doing well.

"We were $100 million more in growth over the growth of last year, meaning 2012," he said.

Chucri added that as some restaurants have closed, others have opened in the Valley.

"Sam Fox has opened some new restaurants," he said. "Bootleggers is expanding into Scottsdale. Kevin Binkley has expanded two new restaurants in the year. We are seeing the growth pattern happen more than we are restaurants being closed."

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