While Thanksgiving Day diners at the Carlsbad Marie Callender's, just off Palomar Airport Rd., enjoyed mashed potatoes, gravy, and pie, little did they know that their opportunity to enjoy the popular family-style, comfort food, would soon come to an end. The restaurant closed its doors the following Monday, November 29.
Next door at the McDonalds, employees said the Marie Callender's signs were removed right away on that morning. The restaurant obviously did not tell its regular customers. Two hand-written notes were posted on the front door December 8 advising groups that normally meet at the restaurant to go to other nearby establishments for their meetings.
Other chains like Carl's Jr., Claim Jumper, Costco, Holiday Inn, In N Out, 7-11, and TGIFridays, consider the area of I-5 at Palomar Airport Road a prime location near Legoland and the beach.
Mrs. Callender founded her first bakery in 1948 in Long Beach. Her son Don began opening restaurants in 1964 in Orange County,
eventually selling the 115-unit chain to Ramada Hotels. Perkins Family Restaurants, a popular midwest chain, purchased the corporation in 2006.
The Encinitas Marie Callender's closed in 2008, and the Clairemont location closed in 2009. One food industry insider says Marie Callender's may be going through the "A&W phase" referring to what happened to A&W Root Beer; once their product began to be sold in supermarkets, the restaurants become less important. Marie Callender's began selling its frozen food line about five years ago.