no I said I want it WITHOUT pickles goddamit

11/30/05

Since this is Omnitopia Week on the blog, how about a report card for some of our “ubiquitous, ever-present environments”? Today let’s tackle one of my favorites: fast food.

1. Wendy’s – Pardon me, but what the fuck happened to Wendy’s? It used to be the standard bearer for quality back in the late ’80s and ’90s, but now each time I go to Wendy’s, they feel small and the bathrooms are disgusting. I suppose they jumped the shark when they stopped the buffet bar (home of the “Hold ‘Em Heels Deal” whenever we won a football game), but this is one establishment in desperate need of some focus-group testing and re-branding.

By the way, did you know Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s, was one of the National Guards that killed those kids at Kent State? I always thought that was one of the best urban legends in history.

2. McDonald’s – Truly the Michael Jordan/Madonna/Nike of fast food, McD’s successfully reinvents itself every four years while still serving the same crap you know and love. Bathrooms are almost always a safe bet on a road trip, and the fries rock. I almost never go there, because it is damned impossible to find anything on the menu that won’t remain in your large intestine for seventeen years. The entire restaurant is always covered in a microscopic layer of oil, which is both disgusting and fascinating.

3. Starbucks – Man, they did this place right. Kent thinks the coffee tastes like “monkey ass,” but he doesn’t do it the right way. Stick with me: a soy latté with four squirts of almond syrup drowns any and all soupçons of ass, primate or otherwise.

Plus, you have to admit your average Starbucks barista tends to be an interesting sort – they all seem to be indie rocker English majors with no discernable career drive. I mean, we were all indie rocker English majors too, but back then, we were indignant, disdainful and constantly talking shit about the patrons at Kinko’s while planning world domination.

4. Burger King and Hardee’s – I’m lumping these together because they’re both disgusting, Hardee’s more so. The reconstituted potato meal that makes up your average BK french fry is just above sawdust on the periodic table, and the restrooms at Hardee’s would be illegal in Afghanistan. We used to meet at the Burger King on Franklin Street next to Linda’s (affectionately known as the BK Lounge) but never since. And if you’re stopping at Hardee’s on a road trip, you better have a flat tire or a thrown rod.

Oh yeah, Hardee’s was the place that used to have signs that said “Our Biscuits Are Made From Scratch™!” You’d think the actual phrase was trademarked, but no: Scratch™ was a product of their own making, a trademarked mix of hydrogenated palm oil, Polysorbate 80, piano wire, bathroom caulk, and hamsters.

5. Taco Bell – Back in the early days of the internet, Sean and I used to troll UNC’s “gopher” program for the lamest Usenet newsgroups we could find. When we got to “alt.food.taco-bell” we knew we’d found a home. Every few days we’d post something like this:

***

From: Ian Williams (ecstasy@gibbs.oit.unc.edu)

Subject: Taco Light

Date: Wed, 30 Nov 1993 21:48:36 -0500

X-ELNK-AV: 0

Hey everybody. Whatever happened to the Taco Light?

I thought it was real tasty. I liked the flour shell.

I’m very, very lonely.

***

…and just sit around and wait for the sad sacks to roll in.

This probably gives you an idea of my and Sean’s dedication to all things Taco Bell, which was truly my salvation in high school (and the cause of my collapse from malnutrition – true story – my senior year).

“Think Outside the Bun” is a great tagline, but truly ironic given that Taco Bell basically makes eighteen meals with every mathematical permutation of the same five ingredients, but I don’t care. I allow myself their Mexican Pizza once a year (much like the Chicken Egg and Cheese at Time Out) so that I don’t, you know, die.

6. Subway – God bless Subway and their trying to not make America fat, but how on earth can they make pastrami and turkey taste exactly the same? They have five new breads now and they all taste the same too. I have to put seven quarts of horseradish sauce on my sandwiches just so I can distinguish their taste from the bag they came in.

And is it me, or does Jared on the commercials still look like he secretly wants to be obese again? It’s like he still has the fat-guy pants and the muu-muu just in case he decides he wants off this crazy merry-go-round.

Tomorrow: Malls!

0 thoughts on “no I said I want it WITHOUT pickles goddamit

  1. Laurie from Manly Dorm

    I agree with everything you have said. . . even the bathroom ratings. . . thus confirming that the fast food experience in your region of the US mirrors the fast food experience in my Mid-Atlantic region. Fascinating!
    Helen and I like Chik-Fil-A. They are always clean, and the ones in MD have great playrooms. Plus, I am tickled when, at the end of the monetary transaction, the Chik-Fil-A “associate” responds, “My Pleasure” to my “Thank You.” Is this a rule at Chik-Fil-A?
    Here are some places to add to your list. They are new on the scene:
    Cold Stone Creamery: Helen likes it because the associates sing while they create your ice cream selection, and she loves to sing right along. I hate that place because it is such a huge rip-off. After all the mix-ins, special edible bowls, etc., you end up spending $7 for a small scoop of ice cream. Plus, the sizes (Like It, Love It, etc.) are corny. And, the big sign on the wall states that the “Kid’s Creation”, which is the least expensive of the choices, apparently has an age limit (13 and under). What the hell??? So, an adult cannot pick the smallest size? Is Cold Stone Creamery forcing obesity and higher prices on me? I always order a Kid’s Creation for myself, on principal.
    We have been frequenting Panera Bread and Atlanta Bread Company lately. The food there may not be any healthier than the usual fast food places, but it “seems” healthier. The ambiance is better. One pet peeve of mine: the kid’s meal of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is like, $4, and I make a better sandwich at home. Note: rip-off.

    Reply
  2. scruggs

    Chik-Fil-A rocks! chicken biscuits are great, so is the sweet tea. and the waffle fries are at least a change of pace.
    We usually only hit a fast food place with our kid when we are on a road trip…and we only stop at mcd’s. At least they now have some alternatives for kids that aren’t a happy meal and a milkshake. We can get Jr. chicken selects, apple slices, and milk and not feel like one should call social services on us.
    Also, though I don’t like the fast food burrito places much (Moe’s, etc)…very kid friendly and all the 4 food groups are represented in a burrito.
    LFMD…fyi…heading into NYC this morning to spend the day and am having dinner at Butter, should be interesting.

    Reply
  3. JOE Q.

    I laugh out loud. But did you live in the Lodge during the fall of ’89 when the Hardee’s bathroom was our bathroom?

    Reply
  4. emma

    You know you have it bad for Taco Bell when you go there so regularly for lunch that when you get to the drive thru, the attendant looks at you and then looks at the bag she is getting ready to hand you and says “This is not what you usually get!” True story.

    Reply
  5. Bozoette Mary

    On McDonald’s: I allow myself a Big ‘n Tasty burger and a vanilla shake once every couple months — the shake, oh god, the shake…
    On Starbucks: Gingerbread latte; crack in a cup.
    On Panera: Free wireless internet! That’s worth an Asian Sesame chicken salad any day!

    Reply
  6. k

    Ahem.
    Hardees is much more disgusting than Burger King.
    Burger King is what paid for the first half of my life, so yes, I’m a bit biased, but still. Hardee’s is NASTY and Burger Kings now are just kind of sad and disappointing.

    Reply
  7. LFMD

    Scruggs! You have been on vacation for a while now, haven’t you? I am jealous! What a great time to be in NYC — is the tree up in Rock Center yet? And, BUTTER!!!!!!! OMG!!!! Please take pictures and report back to us! Say “hello” to your handsome restauranteur friend. Is he still dating that Olsen?
    Scruggs, I will be living vicariously through you and your Butter experience. Spare no details.

    Reply
  8. Kevin from Philadelphia

    OK, as I am a “somewhat” health nut, I don’t eat much fast food at all, maybe once every 6 months or so. However, I do enjoy partaking in the cheesy-crunchy-chicken-gortida occasionally from T. Bell, but you have to ask for it especially, since it isn;t always on the menu. Also, Cik-fil-A is a wonder among wonders, absolutely the cleanest, most pleasent environment to eat a chicken sandwich. Food is good, the sauces are delicious, and the cow calendars that come out every year are Hysterical. Try their breakfast sandwiches too, super good.

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  9. Tanya

    Oh Lordy, if my husband could eat at Chick fil A every day, he would be in heaven. I agree, though, that it IS one of the more pleasant fast food joints. That being said, the bottom rung franchise must certainly be the one across the street from my office in downtown Raleigh, N.C. Pretty dodgey place. However, because it is across the street, I eat there WAY to much. But the chicken biscuit for breakfast = crack wrapped in aluminum foil. I should get some gingerbread latte to wash it down, per Bozoette Mary…

    Reply
  10. Beth

    This is making me hungry! Chicken biscuits…gingerbread latte…waffle fries…sweet tea…
    Ian, delightful post! I was laughing all the way through, especially when I got to the hamsters.

    Reply
  11. caveman

    The Mexican Pizza at Taco Buell used to dare you to order it. Everything else on the menu was .39 cents and the mexican pizza was like ten bucks.

    Reply
  12. lee

    ok, now don’t laugh… but if you’re just getting the burger with no bread and no cheese like some of us (I’ll take my nasty rice bread in if i HAVE to on a road trip!) then Hardees in NC & Va aint bad. in fact, they’ve cleaned up their act a lot. they even ran all these commercials about how they used to suck, and now they don’t.
    wendy’s would be my second choice. mcd’s and bk lounge- NEVER.
    and you would think that one with a wheat allergy could eat a taco at taco bell, but they must use some kinda wheaty disinfectant on their tacos cause i cain’t eat it!
    before i had my food allergies, i thought it would be genius for pizza joints like pizza hut to have billboards on the highway 20 minutes before you get to them with number like *PH and you could give them the exit number and order your pizza and it would be ready when you got there. who wouldn’t wanna get a pizza on the road and be able to eat it in the car without waiting???
    i was such a happy little wheat/dairy eater…

    Reply
  13. Anne D.

    McD’s: I really like their new salads. Really and truly! They come with a packet of Paul Newman’s various dressings, which are totally yum.
    BK: I do like the broiled chicken whopper. It’s a bit heavy on the bread, but the chicken is tasty.
    Taco Bell: My kids’ favorite. Tons of cheap food that oddly all tastes very much the same, but you can dump the hottest sauce on it to jazz it up.

    Reply
  14. Greg from Winston Dorm

    Like one of Pavlov’s dogs, my mouth immediately started watering after reading about the Chicken and Cheese biscuit. I haven’t had one since the night the Tar Heels beat Michigan State in the Final Four. I am surprised you did not also pay homage to the Time Out “bucket o’ bones”.

    Reply
  15. Emily

    Has anyone in the MD/DC area been to California Tortilla? It’s by far my favorite “restaurant” in College Park. I realllly dislike black beans, and their bean-free Honey Lime Burrito is FANTASTIC – my friends won’t go there with me anymore because I ended up spending almost $20 a week on burritos with chips & queso. Yummy!

    Reply
  16. eric g.

    not quite sure how to follow up that last comment, but here goes…
    i was recently in the philadelphia airport and i was incredibly hungry and there it was: chik-fil-a! i hadn’t had one of their sandwiches in years. it was so amazing. and the waffle fries! it took me back to the summer of 1986 when i worked at valley view mall in roanoke, virginia and ate a chik-fil-a sandwich every day for lunch. i’m sure my body is still processing the remnants of those ’86 sandwiches. chik-fil-a was started in atlanta by a devoutly religious man named truett cathay (sic?) who mandated that his restaurants never be open on sunday. and they’re not. speaking of the word “restaurant,” why is subway now making a big deal of calling itself “subway restaurants”? that’s no more of a restaurant than i am a member of malaysian royalty.
    and finally, the bk lounge in chapel hill. i first went there as a hungover high school student in the spring of 1986, then had one of the strangest experiences of my life there as a freshman in 1987. chris landgraff, josh kaplan and i went there late one friday night, and the inmates were running the asylum: they had given up trying to stop the local skate punks from overrunning the store. kids were skateboarding in the aisles, salt shakers had been overturned on all the tables, and trash was piled next to the trash cans in stacks higher than the trash cans themselves. and yet they were still serving food. and we bought it. and ate it. we asked the security guard if anything could be done. he pointed to a young man working the coping of the counter on his board and said “what do you want me to do?” chris, whose dad is a mcdonald’s kingpin, kept saying over and over “this would never happen at mcdonald’s.”

    Reply
  17. craighill

    ur wrong about hardees – at least about the food. best fast food burger out there.
    AND they ran the commercial with the smokin’ girl on the mechanical bull eating a monster thick burger. (it has 1420 calories and 107 grams of fat – really). i guess that’s why it tastes so good.
    think she really eats those?

    Reply
  18. Piglet

    Dave Thomas was a Kent State guard? Oh, fuck. I think I’ve eaten at Wendys for the last time. Not for any strident “I’m making a political statement, by gum” reason, but because this kind of thing really hurts my conscience. I don’t think I could look at their burger now without seeing that kneeling, anguished woman…if there’s a chance this is JUST an urban legend, please say so.
    McDonalds: somewhere along the line, they must have changed the way they do fries, ’cause they don’t work for me any more. I only eat there if the people I’m with really want to go there.
    Starbucks: I’m in the Northwest, so we have a choice of coffee stands on every block. Dude, EVERYONE who works in any of those places is an indie rocker English major.
    BK: Their burgers kick McDonald’s butt. I’ve acknowledged this after a couple of decades of reacting viscerally against their smarmy 80s “Ha-ha we’re better than McDonald’s” TV spots. But I ONLY order their burgers, never the full meal, so I have no basis to evaluate their fries.
    Taco Bell & Subway: Not bad. I pretty much order the same thing whenever I’m there.
    Stone Cold Creamery: Expensive, but worth it. They REALLY need to get some different songs, though.
    Kentucky Fried Chicken: I like their chicken, but I’m not willing to pay $12 for eight pieces.
    I miss Carvel, too. But I don’t miss Tom Carvel’s voice overs.

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  19. lee

    Chicken & Cheese buscuits from Time Out!! Wow. I was in Time Out one night in 1988 and I was really stoned with my friends and I left them on my way into Granville and went in all wide eyed wanting a chicken & cheese biscuit. So I ordered it and when I got it, I didn’t have any money to pay for it and I was really sad b/c paying for it hadn’t really occured to me. So the guy looks me up and down and says “DAMN!” then he looks around at all the frat boys eatin and says “White boys! Come buy this bitch a biscuit!” heehee.
    I was so ashamed in my little high head, but I sat down with my new friends and gobbled down the best biscuit ever.
    I miss college.

    Reply
  20. Sean Williams

    Two things –
    Hardees is now the same thing as “Carl’s Jr” from the west coast, which was the absolute best fast food option. (I know this is sacriledge, but the In-N-Out fries weren’t very good, and the fries are a big part of the experience for me). Hardees has really cleaned up their act in the last ten years, since the merger.
    Chick-Fil-A are head and shoulders above everyone else, and they’re also Christ-ers, so that’s at least one positive association these leftists can have with Jesus. In-N-Out are Christ-ers too, but until they give over their fries to a higher power, I’m not going.

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  21. Sean Williams

    WAIT! HOLY CRAP!
    CHIPOTLE!!!!
    This place (owned by McD’s, unfortunately) is simply amazing, the best idea in fast food in a long time. The food there is so good… I’ll quote my friend Mac who said “If I go five or six days without Chipotle, I suddenly realize it’s all I’m thinking about.”

    Reply
  22. michelle

    I have nothing really to add to the fast food debate, but Ian, you are HI-larious. Bathroom caulk? I just had a Ian-induced coffee-out-my-nose experience. If only every day could start this way.
    I remember when you were posting to the Taco Bell usenet site- I was visiting you at that farmhouse in North Carolina. Sean and Tamara were, at the time, obsessed with the Myst computer game, Sergei was alive and well, and you and Sean both had long, flowing Jesus-like locks. It was a helluva Thanksgiving.

    Reply
  23. Matt

    I thought Ian was joking about Wendy’s founder and Presidential Medal of Freedom winner Dave Thomas having shot and killed a student at Kent State. That is, in fact, an urban legend, right? The man was a true humanitarian who donated a great deal of his time and millions of his personal fortune to children’s charities.

    Reply
  24. kjf

    i love in n out! whenever i visit my kids in la i make them take me there. i like the burgers and fries but the shakes are nasty. also love chick fil a. the lemonade there is out of this world. both of these places have good customer service and the employees and facility appear clean. as sean posted they are big on jesus – chick fil a isnt even open on sundays. so every time i eat there i think that if there is a god he will be happy i frequented his fast food joints and not strike me down too early!

    Reply
  25. brunster

    I crave a Big Mac every once and awhile but Burger King burgers are better hands down. At the University of Cincinnati the Hardees was reputed to use horse meat. Never ate there. I swore off Taco Bell becaus of food poisoning although prior to Taco Bell there was Zantigo’s!!! Was this just regional Ohio or was Zantigo’s national? They made the best $.59 chilito.

    Reply
  26. Joanna

    It took this entry for me to recall the time in ’93 I said, “How are you?” to the woman at the Franklin St. Taco Bell counter and she responded, “I can’t wait to get the fuck outa here.” Between honest service and the 7 Layer Burrito, I really miss that place!

    Reply
  27. Ian

    Joe Q, I was indeed living at the Lodge for part of that renovation time, however, I never went to the Hardee’s bathroom. I think we used to go to Gooey’s house across the street.
    Great fact about that bathroom situation at the fraternity: at the time, the brothers were all splintering apart, due to some very divisive people at the Lodge. Lots of rancor all around. Then the bathroom became partially finished, with toilets, but no stalls and no dividers between the toilets.
    First, nobody used them. Then we started getting desperate. Two months in, we were pooping next to each other, not caring, and the divisiveness between the brothers began to disappear.
    Paging Dr. Freud, please come to the red courtesy phone on Concourse B.
    Oh yeah, sorry to be such a commie liberal, but I will never eat at Chik Fil-A until I am absolutely sure they aren’t funding pro-life causes.

    Reply
  28. Emily

    Whoa whoa whoa Sean…
    Have you TASTED Cal Tort? We have both Chipotle and CT (and Moe’s, and Quizno’s, and Noodles, and Pita Pit, etc.) within walking distance of my apartment, and Cal Tort outshines them all. I had Chipotle once or twice, and around here it seems to be as divisive an issue as Democrat/Republican.
    Chipotle was too salty for my taste, overpriced, and clearly dirty inside. Even McDonald’s is cleaner than Chipotle. And Cal Tort charms the pants off it’s customers – giveaways, “spin the wheel mondays,” and free chips & queso once a month keep me coming back.

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  29. Deb

    My husband would take Chik-Fil-A over pretty much anything. I don’t much like their closed-on-Sundays Christianity, but when Steve and I were first dating (long distance), he constantly lamented the fact that there was no C-F-A in the Chicagoland area, so I called the nearest “restaurant” in Indiana and talked a manager into shipping a birthday surprise package to Steve, complete with frozen chicken, buns, Polynesian sauce, and a stuffed cow with a bib that says “Eat More Chik-n”, packed in dry ice. I thought it was majorly cool that they did that.
    Re BK fries: Can anyone else remember when they changed their fry formula? I feel like I remember the exact day it happened. They used to have nearly as good fries as McDonald’s, but in the spirit of Darwinistic capitalism those BK mad scientists went out on a limb and mutated their french fries into some kind of grody tater tot hybrid. And while I do love me a Veggie Whopper (regular Whopper minus the meat), I don’t think I’ve ever been the same.

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  30. ken

    In-n-Out and Fatburger are still my favorite ‘out of my region burgers’. Chic-fil-a is one place I’ve never been to but have heard nothing but great things.
    Two regional chains worth mention should any of you blow through Chicago: Culver’s and Portillo’s.
    Culver’s in this day and health-conscious age has the audacity to call their specialty “Butter Burgers” which they are and they’re yummy, order it with a side of fried chesse curds. You get a free angioplasty after your tenth burger.
    Portillos’s is simply the king as far as the much lauded Chicago-style hot dog goes. Get one with everything (except ketchup, which is illegal to put on a Chicago hot dog) with a side of the most sublime onion rings on earth. The chopped-salad is referred to in our household as the ‘crack’ salad and for good reason.

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  31. Matt

    McDonald’s fries haven’t been the same since they quit seasoning them with beef extract. Damn vegetarian complainers.

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  32. CP

    the trick to in n out fries is to get them wild.
    on their own, not so good. fresh, obviously, yes; but a little soggy, only once cooked, and bland like cardboard.
    however. this serves as a blank canvas, if you will, for how they’re truly meant to be enjoyed, maximized to no less than the very fullest of their as yet untapped potential.
    which is wild (or animal style, I get the lingo mixed up…)
    anyway, the formula: melted cheese, minced caramelized onions, and special sauce way better than the shite they slather on big macs over at the scary clown restaurant.
    warning: not for the faint of heart or people who don’t like their food to look slightly regurgitated. (but muy delicioso.)
    now. the problem I have with most chains is that the food just doesn’t taste very good to me. also that the employees don’t seem to give any sort of a fuck or know what they’re talking about, which is especially problematic at non-restaurant chains, where as the consumer you may be trying to save a dollar but still need an informed opinion. granted, that’s a sweeping generalization, and there are exceptions like petco and borders and krispy kreme and most of the regional chains (mainly restaurant and grocery — not key food, talking more like ralph’s), but aside from the paycheck and occasional perks, there’s really no stake in working at a place like blockbuster. at least there wasn’t when it was my after-school job back in the day.
    but perhaps I only feel this way because I’m a city mouse and as a rule generic suburban landscapes depress me. as do noah’s bagels and 7-11. there are no delis in los angeles, and according to my sister the first 7-11 recently opened in manhattan.
    yikes.
    I say fuck that. someone should franchise a bodega and take it national, replete with salsa music, bulletproof glass, and old men smoking partagas while playing dominos. danny hoch and luis guzman could be the spokesmen. fat joe could do a jingle. it would be nothing short of the complete and utter hotness. (bring some flavor to the red states; in return they could send us the piggly-wiggly or something…)

    Reply
  33. xuxE

    i say double-double YES to in-n-out fries and BodegaMart but i vote NO on the piggly-wiggly west coast version because i already shop at “grocery outlet”.
    ok, fuck it, i live here now.

    Reply
  34. Sean Marier

    Oh Chipotle, how do I love thee? While it’s never been THE deciding factor, proximity to a Chipotle has definitely been A deciding factor in choosing what part of various towns I want to live in. Consistently good, no frills, filling…and outside of NYC, pretty cheap for what you get. While I vary my meats with each visit (barbacoa probably being my favorite), I’m a fajita burrito guy…with both of the medium salsas (the corn is delicious), cheese AND sour cream, and a spring or two of lettuce. Friends have been known to get me gift certificates from there for Christmas, my birthday, or just some random Tuesday.
    *Sigh*
    Yum.

    Reply
  35. Sean M

    D’oh, I hate when the computer automatically fills in the blanks when you start typing and I’m not paying attention. Now my Chipotle rant will forever be Googlable by friends, family, random dates who decide to do a little research…oh well…

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  36. Laurie from Manly Dorm

    Tonight, after picking up Helen from school, I was inspired by your blog to take her out to dinner. We drove 5 minutes to the “Village at Waugh Chapel” open-air, pseudo-village mall (I can’t wait for tomorrow’s mall discussion), and we parked in the middle of the “village.” Spread out before us, all within walking distance were the following: Chik-Fil-A, Atlanta Bread Company, Chipotle, Applebee’s, Burger King, Caribou Coffee, and Cold Stone Creamery. I wanted to check out Chipotle (it just opened!) because of Sean’s raves, but Helen was not interested. My 6 year old’s choice? Applebee’s, followed by a gelati dessert at the “Italian Market”. Claudia, have you ever been to the Italian Market? You would be horrified. It is neither Italian, not is it a Market. Nonetheless, I shelled out my $4.50 for 2 miniscule scoops of “authentic” Italian gelati, and we ate it by a fake Italian fountain.
    I think that omnitopia has taken over my brain. Moreover, I am afraid that my daughter will never get to experience anything along the lines of an authentic specialty store.
    Fudgie the Whale! I loved you so!
    Such is life when you are Rocking the Suburbs. . .

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  37. Tim

    That was damn funny. What is up with Hardee’s? Seriously. The (now demolished-thank God) Hardee’s in downtown South Bend, Indiana was the most disgusting building I have ever set foot in. I would’ve eaten food off the shower floor of my high school football locker room before I ordered food from that place.

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  38. Claudia

    “Italian Market”??? I feel dizzy. Excuse me, I need to go inhale the aroma of authentic mozzarella di bufala RIGHT NOW.

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  39. Lindsay

    I’m getting to this late, but let me chime in with my support for the new Hardees.
    It was progressively nasty since the early 80’s, sure, but it was bought by Carl’s Jr and is now awesome. (By the way, the “from scratch” story is another myth, brought to you by the same people who started or diligently spread the Dave/Kent State thing. Us. I know there is no such thing as scratch(tm), cause I asked my sister-in-law who was a higher up there during the nastification.)
    Carl’s Jr is the only burger franchise that escaped from the book Fast Food Nation rather unmuckraked (I use that term lovingly). They, and now Hardee’s use decent meat and cook everything fresh.
    Hardee’s now hands scoop Hershey’s ice cream and mix milkshakes in a Hamilton beach blender. In fact, they are the slowest fast food on the exit ramp, because you now have to take a number and wait at a table while they cook your meal.
    I always stop for a milkshake whenever I drive south, because Yankees don’t seem to know what “thick” in the phrase “Seriously, motherfucker, this time I want a THICK “thick milkshake”. It means less work for you. Please, just mix is less, so it will be THICK.”
    The burgers on the Eastern Shore Hardee’ses I frequent have been sadly a little subpar on the last two trips, but the first time I had one after the merger was a revelation that fast food could be pretty good.

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  40. badbob

    Burgers- Checkers
    Chicken- Popeyes spicy (decent onion rings too)
    Fish- no recommendations (fast & fish no go together)
    Fries- Arby’s Curly Fries
    All in moderation of course
    Badbob (real)

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  41. Salem

    Time Out Chicken N Cheese Biscuit! Oh… it’s worth a road trip tonight. Lee, if the boys hadn’t stepped up to the plate you could always get a “bucket of bones”. Didn’t Billy deliver for a few years? Have you ever tried to make really good biscuits? There are award winning Chef’s that will quietly back out of a room when biscuits are mentioned. Does anyone remember 1985 when Subway used real meat? Before the seaweed binders replaced whole muscle deli meat? I used to stumble from Old East to Subway when a roast beef snack had real roast beef. By the way, Ian, Katie (my sister) called me from the bar at Spanky’s TONIGHT!

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  42. roop

    Man – Hardee’s on Franklin
    I remember for a while in ’89 we turned against Time Out! and opted for Hardee’s for our post Cradle feast – Ash Bowie was the first to introduce to me to Gravy ‘n Biscuits – complete with real chunks of sausage! I bet you could find that shit in a spinal tap…

    Reply
  43. kevin from NC

    I have been out of town for awhile. I got back and read this and have laughed out loud many times. Thanks for the intro back home. This is a good one!!

    Reply

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