WASHINGTON – Despite a lackluster economy, the US restaurant industry added nearly 2,600 eating- and drinking-place locations in 2009, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics the National Restaurant Association relays. Although well below the average annual gain of 11,000 locations between 2002 and 2008, the continued growth was impressive in these challenging times.

Trends on the state level were mixed. Twenty-six states (including the District of Columbia) added eating- and drinking-place locations in 2009, while 25 states lost such establishments. New York added more than 1,000 eating-and drinking-place establishments in 2009, the most in the nation. Texas followed with 928.

Percentage-wise, Illinois led with a 3.1% increase in eating- and drinking-place establishments in 2009. New York, Texas, Louisiana and Hawaii had 2.6% more eating- and drinking-place locations last year than they did the previous year.

On the losing end, Arizona lost 428 eating- and drinking-place locations, down 4.8% from 2008. Minnesota and Kentucky registered losses above 2% in 2009, while Michigan and Colorado posted a 1.7% decline in the number of establishments.