- Tom G. Jul 13, 1999 01:09 PM
You're not going to believe this, but somebody has
actually come out with a book that lists where chain
restaurants are located all across the country for
travellers who are stupid enough to want to stick with
what they are familiar with rather than branching out
and trying to local cuisines, hotspots, etc...
The website for the book -- http://www.restloc.com --
says that the inspiration came when the authors tried
to find a TGI Friday's (or something) in Santa Fe and
were horrified when they couldn't find one!!!!! I
don't mean to judge -- but i have to...how can one be
in Santa Fe and want to go to Friday's rather than go
to a little taqueria or a southwestern restaurant
with marvelous REAL margaritas or ANYTHING OTHER THAN
I figure that my fellow chowhounders will be as
disgusted as i am that there is enough of a market in
this country for such a book that they even have their
JUST HAD TO VENT...
re: Jim Dixon
I agree about restaurants that advertise on "regular"
television. But, with the expansion of cable and
local channels, a lot of restaurants in my area have
started advertising on cable, some of which I'd
patronized before ever seeing an ad. They find it a
more cost effective approach than mass mailing or
newspaper ads. One restaurant even has a short recipe
section with the chef (like a mini food show). I also
find it "neat" to see an ad with someone I know.
There's a wonderful Italian place we love, where we
usually talk to the owner when we go, and in the
commercial he's inviting you to to the restaurant (ala
Tom Carvel), quite cute!
You've got it all wrong, man. You got to get optimism
and religion in your life.
THANK GOD for chain restaurants. Otherwise, all those
ignoramuses would be at the good restaurants with us.
THANK GOD those authors and their readers will now
always be able to find a Friday's, Bennigan's or Chi-
Chi's so we'll never ever have to deal with them.
I'll THANK GOD if just one chef is spared the agony of
having just one of these morons send back the steak
tartare because it's raw and has no tartar sauce.
Do you see the light now? The lord works in mysterious
Tain't true. Before there were chain restaurants,
there were still good restaurants and bad ones,
high-class ones and low-class ones, expensive ones and
cheap ones. The chains co-opted much of the low-end
market and made it more homogeneous, more reliable,
cheaper, but considerably less interesting. And some
of them, like Ruth's Chris, are attempting the same
feat in the high end.
re: Josh Mittleman
Yeah, good point, Josh. Although it's a bit harder to
see in big cities like New York, there was a much wider
spectrum of colorful inexpensive eats out there before
the chains moved in and squeezed out most of the
diners, the coffeeshops, the grandma kitchens.
There'll always be Daniel, but it's cursedly difficult
to find good corned beef hash....and this is why.
re: Jim Leff
Well, guys, your posts certainly gave me a moment's
pause. But I'm not sure there are any statistics to
back that theory up. My understanding, based very
loosely on what I learned in a couple of restaurant-
oriented business classes, is that the chains have
expanded primarily because people are dining out in
historically unprecedented numbers and not necessarily
because they're rejecting the mom-and-pop businesses.
I remember seeing something to the effect that there
are more restaurants of every type now than ever
before, even mom-and-pop places. Certainly, there are
more ethnic restaurants than ever before, especially
outside New York (and other big cities), in the parts
of the country where there used to be none and now
there are plenty. But I'd welcome hard data from
anybody who has any (or, unlike me, isn't too lazy to
look some up on the net).
This sure isn't hard data, but I'd say in Middle
America (such as my hometown Columbus Ohio) the mid-
low priced restaurants increasingly and overwhelmingly
either chains or ethnic, mostly pizza and Chinese. No
one could claim that the quality of these last are
high - how could they be, without a discerning
The chaining trend has to impact the availability of
traditional, "home-cooked" style food, since no real
"cooking" takes place in most chain outlets. Where are
people, who increasingly don't cook at home either,
going to learn about the pleasures of carefully
prepared simple food? And what will happen to our
regional cuisines, when its just easier to pick Arthur
Treacher's, ChiChis or McDs than to try the local
seafood, mexican or breakfast places?
Industrial food uniformity will ultimately harm the
development of taste itself - a capacity that is
available to every person, not just an elite. A piece
of pie, a bowl of soup or a burger in a coffee shop
could be wonderful or terrible, or anywhere in
between, and the preparation and ingredients may vary
widely. If I buy the same thing in a fast food place,
it will be the same every single time; it may not be
terrible, but it will never be wonderful or
interesting. Without those distinctions and
variations of quality and flavor, there just isn't a
basis for taste to develop, and I have to see this as
a major loss.