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For the British food company, see J. Lyons and Co..
Lyon's Restaurant
Industry Restaurants
Founded 1952? in San Francisco, USA
Defunct 2012
Headquarters Sacramento, California

Lyon's Restaurant was a chain of diner-style restaurants, similar to Denny's. Many Lyon's were in Northern California, with their corporate headquarters in Sacramento.


Lyon's was founded in San Francisco in about 1952.[citation needed] In 1966, it was bought by Consolidated Foods Corporation which later became Sara Lee; the company sold the chain in a management buyout (MBO) in 1989.[1] At the time of the MBO, Lyon's had 65 restaurants across California, Oregon and Nevada and a turnover of $100m.[1]

Not all of their restaurants were in Northern California -circa 1968 there was at least one in Southern California at La Habra Fashion Square (now Denny's) corner of Beach & Imperial Highway - The building is almost unchanged, from the exterior other than paint, it became a Denny's possibly in the 1980s. Another Lyon's was photographed in Eugene, Oregon, in 1985.[2] This site became a Chinese buffet restaurant catering to faculty and students at the University of Oregon.

After bankruptcy in February 1998[3] Lyon's was acquired by ICH, an Arby's franchisee. In January 2001 ICH sold Lyon's to Amber's Pacific Restaurants Inc.,[4] a company of San Diego restaurant owner Amber Lao. APRI filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 2001,[3] blaming the economic turndown at that time.

In 2002, Lyon's reorganized its 72 remaining restaurants. It sold 35 to franchisees, closed 32, and kept five in Northern California.[5]

The last Lyon's closed in Sacramento in March, 2012.[6]


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