The first such place I remember was in Tulsa in 1977. Located on South Boston Avenue, it was then known as The Boston Avenue Market, and became one of that city’s leading singles’ bars. Apparently the pencil-pushers came along and offered them $$$ for their name and concept, and the plagued places began springing up everywhere, sans the "Avenue" appelation of the original.
I only tried one thing from there: a frozen entree on a dollar-off coupon, doubled by Kroger that week only: they nearly paid me to take it. Don’t remember what I chose, but it was so dadblamed salty that neither my mother nor I could finish it. "That’s wretched!" Mama expounded, making a horrid face and pouring a scotch-and-water to deaden the taste. I eased the pain with a Blind Man India Brown Ale.
Can’t say I miss the place(s): Huddle House is as chain-ey as I go (unless I’m plumb desperate and stranded) anyway.
Shedding No Tears (Even Crocodilian Ones), Ort. Carlton in Athens, Georgia.