A Probably Futile Ode to Red Lobster
Dear Red Lobster,
I hear you guys are having some financial problems. Your parent company may be looking to dump you, but it's not your fault. You have been continually wonderful for the last one hundred years (or however long you've existed) as everyone's favorite budget-friendly seafood restaurant.
Unfortunately, it looks as if your commitment to serving me as many coconut shrimp as I can shove into my face for $13.99 may ultimately be your undoing. Shrimp prices are higher than ever, and most of us are more broke than ever. You guys are really in between a rock (lobster) and a hard place economically, and the future just doesn't look bright. That is devastating.
Look, hard times happen to the best of us. Sometimes I, too, spend too much money on expensive shrimp and wonder how I'm going to pay the bills. I'm sure that my parents occasionally thought about selling me off to pay for my expensive braces and exorbitant cell phone bills. But they didn't, because I was worth it. And so are you, Red Lobster. You are worth it, and I never, ever want to see you close.
I took my roommate to Red Lobster the other night because I had a gift card for your inferior brother, the Olive Garden. Once we realized that we could use our crappy $25 Olive Garden gift card at Red Lobster, it was like Christmas in March. Especially when we get into the restaurant and realize that Lobsterfest is in full-swing.
Is there any "fest" that could sound more grand than Lobsterfest? After choosing our epically large entrees that included crab legs, lobster three ways, and shrimp two ways, we set to work on the real star of the Red Lobster show: those goddamn delicious buttery cheese biscuits.
I don't even care what kind of chemical magic it takes for you guys to make those fuckers so light and fluffy. That garlic butter (or partially hydrogenated oil spread, who cares) that is so generously slathered on top is like a gift from God herself. Even better, I can order a side of ranch dressing at your humble establishments without the manager or owner making a federal case about it.
Like six minutes after placing our Lobsterfest orders, your amazingly capable servers were bringing out plates filled all the way to the top with crab legs and lobsters. I'm still a little confused as to why you piled my green beans on top of the mashed potatoes, but I'm guessing it's so that you had plenty of room to bring me delicious lobster tails that had been stuffed with shrimp and crab and other various delicious foods.
Forty-five minutes and $60 later, we were in complete agony. Red Lobster, you know exactly how to turn light seafood into a meal that really sticks with you, especially your ass and thighs. I'm not even sure how much drawn butter we consumed that night, but it was probably in the neighborhood of six or seven sticks. We probably have heart disease now. It was worth it.
If you leave, who would replace you? Sure, Joe's Crab Shack sells plenty of overpriced crab legs and lobster tails, but no one has anything that's even close to those spectacular cheese biscuits. And frankly, I'd much rather give my money to an establishment that doesn't force their employees to do the Electric Slide every time it's someone's birthday.
Please never change, Red Lobster. If Darden Restaurants sells you, I will be completely devastated. Olive Garden breadsticks are fine, but nothing could replace your commitment to the fluffiest biscuits this side of my grandma's cast iron pan. I'm not sure which two "activist investors" are trying to convince Darden CEO Clarence Otis to keep you around, but I'm totally on their team. Or at the very least, I'm totally Team Cheese Biscuits.
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.