Two Bennigan's restaurants and a Steak & Ale restaurant in the Twin Cities closed Tuesday as their parent company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection and shut down corporate-owned locations across the country.

The franchise-owned Bennigan's in Coon Rapids remains open.

Managers at the Steak & Ale in Bloomington and at the Bennigan's in Bloomington and St. Louis Park got the word early Tuesday morning.

"It was unexpected to us," Brandon Pauly said. The Bloomington restaurant employed about 50 people, Pauly said. The Steak & Ale employed about 70, its manager said.

The chains are owned by privately held Metromedia Restaurant Group of Plano, Texas, which filed for bankruptcy protection Tuesday. In a Chapter 7 filing, a company seeks to liquidate its assets and shut down.

Many restaurants have been struggling as consumers cut back on discretionary spending to better deal with high gas prices, the weak housing market and inflation.

Bennigan's locations owned by franchisees were not part of the bankruptcy filing and will not be shut down, said Larry Briski, president of the Bennigan's Franchise Operator Association.

Briski said there are about 150 company-owned Bennigan's restaurants, compared with 138 franchise locations.