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Gawker tests TGIF's unlimited appetizers

Someone at Gawker spent 14 hours in TGIF's consuming all you can eat mozzarella sticks. Not exactly the height of food writing, but pretty humorous.


"I blame the TGI Friday's test kitchen executive chef (a prepaid cellphone that Guy Fieri texts recipes to while high on whippets) for making the prototype of these sticks accidentally one full moon—for by accident is the only way such an item could ever have been deemed suitable for human consumption—and then never copping to the mistake."

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  1. I hope she gets her days off... she'll need them, lol.

    1. That was funny. If it were me, I would have gone with the chicken or potato skins.

      1 Reply
      1. re: tcamp

        I'd have gone with the green beans, but I don't think even *that* would have won me a bet.

      2. I feel a bit nauseous just having read that.

        1. I really enjoyed reading that. Hysterical. "Life is a like a box of of mozzarella sticks. You never know what you're gonna get, but you can predict with 100 percent accuracy that it will be a mozzarella stick."

          1 Reply
          1. re: Njchicaa

            Caity Weaver is great. If you enjoyed this, you should read the 'The Best Restaurant in New York' series that she writes with her friend, Rich. They eat at restaurants in tourist attractions and write reviews, including The Bronx Zoo and The American Girl Café.

          2. I felt bad for the two waitresses who lost a table in their section for more than 12 hours.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Firegoat

              Though the second waitress got tipped "over 1000%" -- i.e. over $100 (not great for a table for the entire evening, but not nothing at least). Don't know about the first one.

              1. re: drongo

                I'll bet she got tipped only for the diet soda, so $25, something like that.

                1. re: drongo

                  I think you overestimate the caliber of the tippers who would patronize a TGIFridays, as well as the amount they are tipping on. Friends who are or recently have been servers in big chain places tell me that to make $100 off one table for a night is not too bad, depending on tip-out policies and location of the restaurant. There are still a lot of tables with two diners who order nothing but two entrees and water, and tip 15% (or less) on it, so $5 tips are alive and well at a place like this.

              2. A fun read. But less than 40 mozzerella sticks in 12+ hours? Wimp.

                12 Replies
                1. re: genoO

                  Predictably another magazine (the Daily Beast) has already sent a competitive eater to TGIF:
                  He did twelve plates in toto, but didn't do mozzarella sticks.
                  When I look at the records page for Major League Eating, there doesn't seem to be a record holder for mozzarella sticks.

                  1. re: genoO

                    It doesn't sound like a lot, but 32 mozzarella sticks is still almost 6,000 calories of fried cheese.

                    It would have been better if she picked a food that she didn't think tasted disgusting. Maybe next week.

                    1. re: calumin

                      And from the photo in the article they do look like doublewide motz sticks....
                      I just can't believe she didn't get physically ill at some point!

                      1. re: Ttrockwood

                        I've seen them. They appear double wide, but maybe half thickness. They're kind of flat. At least, they were the last time I saw them, which was maybe 3 years ago. Not saying they couldn't have changed in the interim.

                        And who tests unlimited apps with fried cheese? Talk about filling!

                          1. re: tcamp

                            I would think before embarking on such an experience it would be good to go ahead of time and sample potential appetizers. I, for one, love Mozz cheese sticks, but couldn't imagine eating more than one order. And if they were nasty ones, not even that. I'm going to agree with people that suggested other items that might have, say, a little more fiber to them. Or not so one-dimensional tasting.

                          2. re: DuffyH

                            Totally. I just looked at the menu and I would have gone for the potstickers or bruschetta, for sure. Even the boneless wings would have been a better choice (although all that greasy breading would have gotten heavy in a hurry).

                            1. re: biondanonima

                              I hear you. After looking at the menu, I was torn between the bruschetta and green beans. One is a shitload of bread, the other is a shitload of grease. But at least they've got substantial amounts of good (light) veggies as an offset.

                              Still, either one (or the wings or potstickers) has it all over the fried cheese, which combines a shitload of bread AND a shitload of grease, with big ol' side of cheese.

                        1. re: calumin

                          She ate 7 orders of mozzarella sticks, and according to TGIF's nutrition page each is 1,100 calories -- so 7,700 calories total (and 16,450 mg sodium; 525 g = approx. 1 lb 3 oz of fat). Heh.

                          1. re: drongo

                            She placed 7 orders, but I believe only ate 32.

                            1. re: cresyd

                              Ah, ok... I stand corrected. So it was about 6,000 calories. (Unless she took the other 10 home for a snack later, lol.)

                              1. re: drongo

                                Once you hit that many calories - what's an extra 1000?

                      2. Reading this left me so bloated and depressed it's as if I experienced it myself.

                        edit: also: ribs with tartar sauce is a thing.

                        1. the last time my stomach felt like this is when I actually ate rather than just vicariously ate... I was six and was at The Salt Lick BBQ in Texas with my Poppa and Dad(he had just married my mom) and they seemed to think it was cute that I kept eating the all you could eat ribs... the final count was a rack and and half after they started counting.... it was fine until ten that night when my stomach was swollen like a blood filled tick and the meat sweats started..... JUST THINKING about 14 hours of crappy mozzarella sticks makes my stomach flash back....

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: girloftheworld

                            I'd be willing to bet $100 she never eats another mozzarella stick. Anywhere. Under any circumstances.

                              1. re: mcsheridan

                                And an important reminder: when undertaking this sort of challenge, pick a food that is not your favorite.

                            1. It probably took most of that week for her digestive system to process such a huge wad of cheese and god knows what else from those....
                              Funny article. Mostly because it didn't happen to me!

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Ttrockwood

                                Ever read the one about the poor college girl who ate her boyfriends MRES while he was in Afghanistan as a show of support after three weeks... she found out why they were called Meals Refusing to Exit..

                                1. re: girloftheworld

                                  Hadn't heard that one before, but I remember them being called Meals Rejected by Ethiopians

                              2. Notes:

                                1. I 'recommended' the post that concluded eating only 33(was it?) mozz sticks in over 12 hours is kinda wimpy.

                                2. I've had the TGIF mozz sticks (though I was much younger then) and think calling them "garbage" is rude.

                                3. The OCD part if me thinks there's something wrong with the math. 6 sticks per order times 7 orders = 42 sticks total. Not eating ANY of the last order is unfair to TGIF. there also appear to be 3 sticks unaccounted for.

                                4. I can't believe I actually read the whole article, but ....... it was free!

                                1. So she sat in a restaurant for 14 hours and only ate 7 plates of Mozzerella sticks? On top of that only tipped out less than $100?

                                  Sounds like the restaurant got screwed on revenues and the waitresses got screwed out of tips.

                                  On the upside, the Gawker writer got paid days off.

                                  They could have tested this offer with a group of people in under two hours, but there's no hook and no paid vacation for the writer who seems to have the "what's in it for me and screw the rest of you" attitude.

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: dave_c

                                    how could someone test an open to close business hours challenge in a couple hours? Show me the math and explain the science.
                                    And, just in case the reading was unclear, the restaurant offered all you can eat, they made the challenge and therefore were not screwed.

                                    1. re: dave_c

                                      You could argue that the publicity received from the article in Gawker compensated TGIF from a corporate/management perspective. And simply by living up to the spirit of the offer (all you can eat appetizers for $10), they succeeded in not getting bad press by calling them out negatively.

                                      Also she informed both of her servers (who discussed it with management) about her intentions. As for the servers, I can hardly imagine that the first server got screwed out of anything because how often is lunch at TGIF's truly full to capacity let alone the late afternoon hours (as well as full tables during the later hours during a weeknight).

                                      Gawker has done this before with All You Can Eat Shrimp at Red Lobster. It's not a new type of article for them to run and their readers find it funny. Ergo incentive to encourage a writer to pick a new "all you can eat challenge".

                                      1. re: cresyd

                                        Maybe the publicity would be worth it if she didn't go on and on about how disgusting the food was.

                                        1. re: Firegoat

                                          Lol- true... nothing says "gota grab more" does it?

                                          1. re: Firegoat

                                            First - you have the whole "any publicity is good". And while the cheese sticks didn't get any raves, the article did indeed confirm you can eat as many as you want and the service was written about well.

                                            Second - for people who have any affection for TGIFs, it probably doesn't matter how Gawker describes the cheese sticks. TGIFs for me has a nostalgia from high school. So if anything would motivate me to go back (combined with 'there are no options, we're starving, where can we also get drinks') - it would be nostalgia. Liek if the choice was Chili's or TGIFs, I wouldn't bother going to Yelp to see which one ranked higher - I'd choose TGIF's for nostalgia.

                                            An article like this might give someone like me a chuckle and just make me think of TGIF's (which I rarely do). Or more so, I imagine to motivate young adults to go for the irony, the cheapness, and the chuckle.

                                            1. re: cresyd

                                              You do have a point..I did kind of "forget" about TGIFs.. there it is in my head.( the time I went I was told it was what Chotchkie's was in Office Space)

                                              1. re: girloftheworld

                                                I think there's a lot of capital related to keeping/putting something in people's heads - even if the reasoning isn't great.

                                                Guy Fieri's Times Square restaurant could not have gotten a worse review in the NYT. But that review went viral, brought a ton of attention to the restaurant. And while I know nothing about their current success, I heard that at the time the place was packed. Due to the review or not.

                                          2. re: cresyd

                                            I believe she actually mentions in the article that the place was only close to capacity around dinner, and even then there remained an empty table. She got ignored for a while after the shift change too. Her tip may or may not have "covered" her table, but I don't get the impression she was a hassle. I just don't see a morality problem here. And I suspect TGIF's will survive.

                                          3. re: dave_c

                                            Furthermore - if the majority of diners at TGIF's are calculating their tip for a total that would include every plate of appetizers and not just the price on the bill - color me shocked.

                                          4. Thanks, I have a new favourite author to back read!

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: julesrules

                                              The review of the American Girl Café is pretty wonderful.

                                              1. re: cresyd

                                                Hey I looove AMerican DOll Cafe Chicago..Dallas is a bit meh

                                                1. re: girloftheworld

                                                  Compared to their review of the UN Cafeteria - they actually really liked the American Girl Café.


                                            2. Yikes! She could not have felt well for quite a while. If I had a gun to my head to do this, I'd have gone for pot stickers :)

                                              1. I thought the article was pretty funny. My husband and I agreed, we would have gone for the chicken or potato skins.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: cleobeach

                                                  I am thinking next time I have a reallllly big test to study for..... my friends and could order a couple plates.... camp out a table...

                                                  1. re: girloftheworld

                                                    I was thinking as I read this that back in the day my friends in university and I would have definitely gotten our money's worth.

                                                2. As my previous comment on this wound up under lock and key, I'll repeat it here;

                                                  OMG. The horror...

                                                  It begins badly enough: "In preparation for the depravity to come, I fast the night before, eating a only light meal of a bacon cheeseburger, four chicken McNuggets, and a small fries at midnight."

                                                  And ends head-first over the porcelain throne. Written so I can feel her pain (and nearly smell the offending food.) Half-way through the article, I wondered if I could do it, IF instead of those sticks, I had the Green Beans instead. A little while later, realization sets in: there are so many flaws in mid-range restaurant food that would be magnified with each passing plate, not even the beans would get me through such an ordeal.

                                                  Last thoughts: did she eat *at all* the next day? Or was she just mainlining water to flush her system of sodium? Will she *ever* eat another mozzarella stick in her life? Would love to see a "week-after" piece, but doubt it is forthcoming.

                                                  Interesting sidebar piece: http://gawker.com/endless-appetizers-...

                                                  1. There's no way I could have gotten through one plate of Mozz sticks…I don't hate them, but I don't love them either. In fact, a friend insisted I try the frozen ones from TJ's. I was at TJ's, saw them, I was starving, they looked good…they've been in my freezer for over six months now. I don't know what it is, I just never feel like eating them….

                                                    However. I'm pretty sure I could eat boneless buffalo wings for 14 straight hours. In fact, I'm positive I can.