The “steakhouse from the land down under” has gone under in Elmhurst.
Visitors to the Outback Steakhouse at the Queens Place mall at 5 p.m. on Monday afternoon, Aug. 27, found the doors locked and a sign posted in the window stating, “This location is now closed.” The popular Australian-themed restaurant chain, known for its discount steaks and blooming onions, had been a fixture at the shopping center since 2001.
The restaurant is also no longer listed on Outback’s website.
When contacted by QNS on Tuesday morning, a restaurant representative confirmed that the Elmhurst location was closed for good. The rep claimed that Queens Place’s managing company, Cushman & Wakefield, had “other ideas for the space” that necessitated the eatery’s closure.
However, a spokesperson for Bloomin’ Brands, the Florida-based company that owns the Outback chain, stated on Wednesday that “the decision to close” the Elmhurst location “was based solely on business circumstances.” The spokesperson further indicated that the Elmhurst restaurant representative’s claim about the shutdown was inaccurate.
The Outback Steakhouse is located on the second floor of the circular, four-story building, which originally opened in 1965 as a Macy’s department store. After Macy’s moved to the Queens Center mall in 1994, it was replaced by Stern’s department store, which ultimately dissolved a few years later.
Forest City, Queens Place’s former managing company, then converted the facility into a four-story mall, with an anchor tenant, Target, occupying the top two levels.
Electronics chain Best Buy and a Mattress Firm store are located adjacent to the now-closed Outback. Those stores remain open.
A Cushman & Wakefield spokesperson acknowledged the Outback’s demise in a statement to QNS on Tuesday afternoon.
“Queens Place is an extremely well-trafficked property in a very busy area of Queens and is 94 percent leased,” the spokesperson said. “We are currently looking at a variety of options for the space to create the best tenant mix for the center.”
Outback Steakhouse has one other Queens location, at the Bay Terrace Shopping Center on Bell Boulevard in Bayside. There are also Outback restaurants in the Gateway Shopping Center in Brooklyn, on West 23rd Street in Manhattan and at Island Park, Merrick and Westbury in neighboring Nassau County.
Although the chain remains popular, a look at the Elmhurst Outback’s most recent reviews on Yelp were far from flattering. A number of customers complained of slow service even when the restaurant wasn’t packed, or feeling completely ignored by the staff.
“I had just gotten back from a long trip and was starving along with my friends,” reviewer Nal S. wrote on Aug. 22. “The waiter took our order and the food came an hour and a half later and there was no more than 6 tables occupied at that time in the restaurant. When the food arrived, I didn’t feel like eating anymore.”
“Everytime [sic] you come here the place is DEAD, and they’ll be like 10-15 minute wait,” according to reviewer Kim F. in a July 14 post. “They have people waiting in a completely empty restaurant. Even if you put your name on the app it does not help because they do not mix your name with the regular wait list so they forget your [sic] sitting here.”
Editor’s note: A previous version included a statement from Cushman & Wakefield which the spokesperson revised after the article was updated.
This story was updated on Aug. 29 at 10:40 a.m.