End of an era as iconic Buddies USA chain in Northamptonshire closes

Buddies USA has been a fixture around Northamptonshire since the first restaurant opened in 1981, and has established itself as a popular brand around the county over the past 39 years

Monday, 5th October 2020, 4:36 pm
Buddies in Dychurch Lane was kitted out with American memorabilia and now stands in darkness. Pictures by Kirsty Edmonds.

Northamptonshire’s favourite American-style diner has ceased trading.

Buddies USA - which had five restaurants across Northamptonshire as of November 2019 - has not reopened for business since the country went into national lockdown on March 23.

The restaurant was well known and loved to diners in Northamptonshire for its huge menu, which featured more than 50 burgers named after pop culture icons including Shrek, Chewbacca and Spider Man.

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Buddies, at Walter Tull Way, has closed its doors to the public.

Northampton-based Simpson Catering bought nine Buddies USA restaurants in November 2018, seven within the county and two outside of Northamptonshire.

But a 'catalogue of problems' surfaced shortly after the takeover, which gave the new owners no alternative but to close four of those restaurants, including the ones in Daventry and Acre Lane, Northampton.

Buddies USA’s five remaining restaurants were in Northampton town centre (Dychurch Lane), Grange Park, Sixfields, Rushden and Old Stratford.

Bosses at the branch have put their decision to close the restaurants down to coronavirus and a disagreement with two landlords.

Buddies original restaurant has been a staple food destination in Northampton's Dychuch Lane for 39 years. Pictures by Kirsty Edmonds.

A spokesman from PBC Business Recovery told the Chronicle & Echo the business traded profitably but COVID-19 brought trading to a halt.

He said: "The owners also felt the stance being adopted by two of the landlords was unreasonable - even if COVID had not impacted on trade - so they took the view the business was no longer viable going forward.

"Due to the profitable trading they have been able to ensure all suppliers are paid, although there is no intention of re-opening."

The restaurants' launch of a 'build-a-burger' menu in December 2018 - in place of the longstanding 50-choice Hamburger Heaven menu selection - proved somewhat controversial to Buddies diehards.

Northampton folk took to social media in their droves to lament the loss of the nostalgic selection. After public outcry a 'version two' of the menu was introduced at all Buddies USA branches by February 3, 2019.