Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Since I mentioned the national chain restaurants in my last post, I figured I'd take this opportunity to outline my continued dislike for them. Apologies go out to all family members and friends, who enjoy restaurants like these, who might be reading this.

Why I never want to set foot in a T.G.I. Apple Chili-bee's:

* They're too "safe." Unless avocado and pepper jack on a burger is your definition of Mexican, there's minimal chance you can get anything resembling "ethnic" at one of these places. This also means you'll never have a chance to expand your culinary horizons or try something truly new.

* They're *too-freggin'-big*. You could fit 3 or 4 normal and diverse restaurants in the space sucked up by one T.G.I. Apple Chili's.

* They're too corporate for me. Unless she is about to break into a Madonna performance, I do not need, or want, my hostess to wear a headset like she is hooked into the Borg command center. I also do not want them to wear uniforms, suspenders, buttons or other pieces of "flare." Going to a local restaurant (i.e. not a big box national chain) not only helps support entrepreneurs, but directly helps your community. The Tremont neighborhood, in Cleveland, was practically made by the individual restaurants within it. These restaurants are actively involved in the community. I doubt the same could be said if they'd just popped a T.G.I Friday's in there.

* They are faceless, homogenized and simply bland. Maybe some people find comfort in being able to go anywhere in the country and get the same food, but if I'm going to travel, I don't want the place I go to be just like the place I left, with the same stores and the same restaurants If you're not going to at least try experiencing new things, which, to me, food is a major part of, why even bother leaving the comfort of your own house?

* Simply, the food is crap. It's heavy, flavored mainly by salt and cheese and leaves me feeling greasy and weighed down. I've never eaten there and walked about feeling good about the meal I just ate.

* I hate their false "atmosphere." I've stated it before, but if I want to eat at a place where the walls are covered in crap from years ago, I'll go to my grandma's basement. At least there, the memorabilia on the walls is real.

* They expand like a virus. Where one day you'll see just one, the next week, there's 3 or 4 surrounding it, all owned by the same company. All taking up valuable land and giving nothing back to either the community they're within or offering anything new culturally. Well, nothing good at least.

Really, the whole experience, from parking in their 100 car lot, to their laminated dessert menus hanging next to the fru-fru drink pictures, takes me deeper into the homogenized corporate world than I wish to go during a meal.