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Apr 16, 2009 12:46 PM

Malko's: The (Fictional) Life Cycle Of A Chowhound Restaurant

Below is the account of a restaurant's rise, and fall, in Chowhound fame. The nationality and restaurant represented here does not actually exist, and the fact that the food names read like Ikea furniture is simply a product of my modest linguistic skills. Dig in, and please add your own embellishments to the story.


1) A small shack bearing the name “Malko’s” opens up on a downtown street behind a Quiznos. It serves Kirgilnix, the apparent signature dish of an almost-unknown third world country.

2) Several months later, the desperate owners are mired in debt as they discover Kirgilnix hasn’t caught on amongst the locals in Topeka. In a last-ditch effort, Malko sells his ceremonial Froddmik hat to pay for a small printing of handbills.

3) A flyer, caught on the breeze, lazily floats by the discerning eye of a local Chowhound. A meal is sampled. A post is made.

4) A small, but steady throng of ‘hounds begin keeping Malko’s alive. Posts and reviews on Chowhound praise the exquisite flavors of Kirgilnix: the dried prunes, the boiled goat, the yak cheese. Soon, expatriates of Malko’s country discover the place and flock to Topeka from three states away.

5) Malko’s has expanded to two tastefully-decorated rooms, always with a small line outside. His sister Borikka and aunt Milkkie have come to America to help with the business, which now has a full menu including Tergit, Gek and Fongil tea.

6) A year later, Malko opens up a new location across town in the suburbs. Local ‘hounds jump for joy at not having to go downtown for a “Kirgilnix fix.” Joyous posts appear. A few, though, warn that the downtown location is really better.

7) Malko’s is mentioned in a local tourist guidebook. Franchises are opened in Kansas City, Cleveland, St Louis, and Chicago. Chowhound reviews are mixed, especially concerning the outflung locations. Meanwhile, Malko and his family, who have emigrated to the U.S. largely in hope of never eating Kirgilnix again, have discovered the joys of the Wendy’s Double.

8) Malko’s is discovered by Rachael Ray, who pronounces it “Totally Yum-O.” Chowhounds begin to scoff. Reviewers claims that Kirgilnix is not really a representative dish of Malko's country, and his version is inauthentic anyway as it doesn’t contain the local melon wine, which for complicated reasons is unfortunately not legal for import as a food substance. Meanwhile, an obsessed Malko attempts to make a square Kirgilnix—like the Wendy’s patty—which is a complete disaster.

9) There is now a Malko’s in 27 airports, 16 malls, and three theme parks nationwide. Combination Malko’s/Wendy’s franchises sprout on turnpikes. Kirgilnix appears in school lunches. To even mention Malko’s on Chowhound would result in eternal banishment from the boards, although the original location in Topeka, now sporting a traditional Tornik temple and t-shirt shoppe, is considered an amusing tourist stop when in the area.

10) Wedged between a Taco Bell and a SuperMalko, a small shack called the Dracula Cafe opens selling Transylvanian food.

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    1. re: Gin n Tonic

      In sunnyside, Queens, there actually is a Dracula Cafe (or something like that.?) that serves Transylvanian food.

    2. Oh very good!

      Am I allowed to start naming names . . .

      1. Right about now, person X should post a query about what to order at Malko's, and person Y should gripe that person X oughta just do a search, for God's sake.

        your friend,
        person Y

        1. Hats off in tribute to an ultimate Chowhound post.

          1. this really is a primer to how all restaurant specific posts go. Kudos sir!

            the only aspect you forgot is where the orignal owners go and try to start an off-shoot of Malko's, only to be rebuffed by foodies as a pale comparison to the originator!!

            4 Replies
            1. re: nkeane

              Not to mention the lengthy and heated diatribes as to whether or not Malko's Kirgilnix is really 'authentic'.

              1. re: Lizard

                The key is that those lengthy and heated diatribes have to be engaged in by people who have never set foot in said third-world country.

                1. re: Gin n Tonic

                  Or, some have been there (or near by) and proceed to write about how Americans only do touristy things tat only involve eating the hotel's version of Kirgilnix which has been 'dumbed down' for tourists.

                2. re: Lizard

                  "Is it authentic?" having replaced "is it good?" as the key question.....