Disney to shut down most ESPN Zone restaurants

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Facing stale economic returns, Disney is pulling the plug on most of its family-friendly ESPN Zone restaurants in seven cities, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Wall-to-wall sports on TV and burgers, beer and wings apparently lost some of their appeal during the recent economic downtown as restaurant-goers elected to stay at home or eat more cheaply.

Says the Tribune:

The only outlets to remain open are those tied to a Disney property, such as the Downtown Disney shopping district in Anaheim, south of Los Angeles, said a source close to the situation Tuesday.

The Walt Disney Co. opened a restaurant at 11th and E St. NW in Washington, D.C. in 2000, a location that will get the axe, according to a confirmation by the Wall Street Journal reported on the DCist.

The timetable for closure was not disclosed.

“Since their inception, the Zones have served sports fans very well,” said Rob Tobias, an ESPN spokesman, to the Tribune. “But from a pure business perspective, the economics have been challenging.”