Bryson Nelson can’t remember the last time he ate a Twinkie, but he felt disheartened to learn Friday that the snack cakes’ maker was going out of business.

“That’s horrible,” said Nelson, who lives downtown. “I feel like a piece of my childhood just died. I always thought they would survive the nuclear apocalypse — those and cockroaches and (Rolling Stones member) Keith Richards.”

Iconic brands, such as Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos, are made by Hostess, and the Texas-based company filed a motion Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court to shut down its operations. The company said striking workers, who had rejected a contract offer that slashed their wages, made it impossible to continue production.

The company hopes to find buyers for its roughly 30 brands. Still, news of the company’s demise saddened many around the Lowcountry who said they grew up eating Hostess products.

Twinkies are so popular that at least one North Charleston restaurant, Big Billy’s Burger Joint, created a “Caramel Twinkie” milkshake for its menu that’s made of vanilla ice cream, Twinkies and caramel syrup. It has half a Twinkie as garnish.

General manager Stephanie O’Rourke said it’s a popular choice among customers.

“It’s a childhood favorite,” she said. “It’s like comfort food — something that takes you back. Who doesn’t like a Twinkie?”

On Twitter, “Hostess” was one of the most popular terms appearing in posts across the country.

For some, the loss of the company’s products was overshadowed by the job loss, which was estimated to be about 18,500.

“I don’t like anybody to go out of business,” said Ladelphia Walker, who lives in North Charleston. “People need to support their families.”

Phillip Marshall, who works downtown, said he liked a Twinkie as much as the next guy, but he liked people to have jobs, too.

“I think it’s terrible that a company that has been in business as long as they have is going to have to close because of the actions of a union,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Reach Diette Courrégé Casey at 937-5546.