This roast beef chain went from over 500 locations in the early 80s to nearly defunct in a matter of years and it’s largely blamed on a clumsy advertising campaign.
This is one of those topics that we fell into during the morning show on WROK. Riley had come across some bumper stickers in his garage from a long time ago and was amused by the Rax coupons that he found on the back.
Rax was great. I’m just barely old enough to remember going there, but the one that used to be on N. 2nd towards the south end of Loves Park was right by my grandma’s house and we would often walk up there for lunch when I was visiting.
Now, I can’t tell you if it was actually good or not. I was 5 years old eating lunch with my grandma, of course I liked it, but I have very fond memories of the salad bar at Rax.
And it turns out that the salad bar might have been part of the reason for Rax’s demise.
Rax fell from grace quickly and many think it was because of their focus on becoming the “adult” destination for fast food. They would also torpedo their fortune with a weird ad campaign that looks like an Adult Swim bit from today. There’s a whole YouTube video about it.
There are less than 10 Rax restaurants still around in the USA, 7 of them in its home state of Ohio. Illinois residents are still in luck. There’s still one in the Land on Lincoln in Joliet, Il.
You can see a review of the restaurant here.
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