It looks like we may be losing a couple more franchised restaurants in Central New York.

Yahoo and other news outlets have reported that the Chuck E. Cheese restaurant chain is on the verge of bankruptcy. After months of remaining on the bench during the COVID-19 health crisis, the popular kid's restaurant and birthday party destination may never get back in the game. The brand that owns Chuck E. Cheese, CEC Entertainment, is about $1 billion in debt, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Texas-based restaurant currently operates 610 locations, including one on Commercial Drive in New Hartford and one on Erie Boulevard in Syracuse.

Aside from the challenges it faced during the pandemic, the eatery also concocted a money-making scheme that fell a bit flat. In an attempt to bring in some non-traditional revenue during COVID-19, the store masqueraded as Pasqually's Pizza and Wings on delivery apps. While some found it creative, others did not appreciate the deception.

If the bankruptcy comes to fruition and Chuck E. Cheese goes out of business, that may create an opportunity for others occupying the same "space" in the Utica-Rome area. As we told you last month, Family Fun Factory, which closed its doors inside Sangertown in 2018, is planning to re-open in the Hartford Shopping Center. And Billy Beez (in Sangertown) is pointing toward the last phase of re-openings in the Empire State.

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