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Monday, July 30, 2018

Houlihan's to Take Over Charlie Brown's in Millburn


MILLBURN, N.J.: There were once Charlie Brown's restaurants throughout Essex County, with outposts in Fairfield, Millburn, Upper Montclair, and West Orange. Today, the only local location left of the chain known for its steak and salad bars sits in Millburn's downtown, but not for much longer. 

William Liedtke of CB Restaurants, which owns Charlie Brown's, confirmed to Essex County Place that Houlihan's Restaurant and Bar is acquiring the location at 35 Main Street. The latter company is based in the suburbs of Kansas City and although many of its locations are franchised, the corporation itself has already applied to purchase the liquor license of the Millburn restaurant through its JGIL Millburn, LLC affiliate. 

Now known as "Charlie Brown's Fresh Grill," the longtime Northeastern chain was previously referred to as "Charlie Brown's Steakhouse" before filing for bankruptcy, closing dozens of locations throughout the region, and ending up under new ownership. Although two of its remaining restaurants are in New York while the rest are in the Garden State, Charlie Brown's is now based halfway across the country in Oklahoma. The company's New Jersey operations office is currently situated directly above the Millburn restaurant, though it is not yet clear where or if it will relocate.

Currently, Essex County's only Houlihan's restaurant sits along Route 46 in Fairfield. There was previously a location at the Livingston Circle, but it later became a Margaritas restaurant before being torn down to make way for a strip mall.

Houlihan's referred questions about their acquisition of the Millburn Charlie Brown's to Liedtke, who stated that this is the only location that is being sold to Houlihan's.

"We're still marching on," he explained, adding that "we just opened a location in Lacey recently and have two sites that we're looking at in the New Jersey area and expect to open one later this year."