Montana's lone Red Lobster remains open. 

One of the biggest stories on the internet today is about Red Lobster closing at least 87 of its restaurants across the US. The chain has 650 locations around the globe, including one in Montana. The Billings King Avenue location has been open for decades. It’s not on the chopping block.

Reports indicate some closed locations are already slated to have fixtures, kitchen equipment, biscuit baskets, and lobster tanks sold at auctions. The Red Lobsters nearest Montana that are closing include Grand Forks, ND, Lewistown, ID, and four in the Denver area.

Red Lobster Sold To Golden Gate Capital For 2.1 Billion
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Red Lobster was one of the OG’s of casual dining franchises.

Places like Applebee’s, Chili’s, Sizzler, Bonanza, and similar-styled restaurants once ruled the roost for semi-affordable, sit-down dining. Red Lobster was one of those places you would go for prom dinner, after church, or for your birthday. If you came to Billings for shopping or sports, Red Lobster was the place to go.

The establishment never pretended to be fine dining, but customers - including me - enjoyed the ambiance, the fruity specialty drinks, and the never-ending cheddar bay biscuits.

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The company has been floundering for years.

The chain’s financial struggles and marketing blunders are well known. The company lost $3.3 million the first week it launched its all-you-can-eat crab legs promotion in 2003.

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Twenty years later, they forgot what happened, because in 2023 they permanently added all-you-can-eat shrimp for just $20 on the menu. Somehow, they underestimated gluttonous appetites again. Newsweek notes the company's largest shareholder has lost $11 million.

Opinion: I’ve never had a bad experience at Red Lobster.

That said, I haven't been there in at least three or four years. The most recent visit was when my brother suggested it when he came to town. I feel like there are so many great restaurants in Billings now that I'd rather enjoy. Are they all-you-can-eat? No. But quality over quantity is often what I prefer. Local chefs are making fantastic food in the Magic City, including fish and seafood.

Recent Google Reviews of the Billings Red Lobster are generally positive. The parking lot always looks busy. The employee we spoke with today noted that the Billings Red Lobster serves such a large geographical area, that it's not at risk of closing anytime soon.

These 7 Red Lobster Locations in Idaho, Washington and California Just Closed

The contents of these locations and 43 others are being auctioned off through TageX Brands.

Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart

Take a Look at These Super Rare, Crazy-Colored Lobsters Found in Maine, New England