Barbecue

The Secret Chain Restaurant and Fast-Food Shame of an Englishman

You see all those chain restaurants, Dallas? All those bright shiny lights, beckoning you in to eat products of a questionable providence at a price so reasonable there's no need to go home and time-consumingly construct a meal for your baying, hungry, ungrateful family? You grew up around them (the restaurants, not the family, although presumably you know them quite well too). You know what happens there, what the deal is, what to expect (still the restaurants, not the family members. Focus now). Imagine if all this was alien to you -- if everything you knew about fast food and chain restaurants had been changed.

Imagine, if you will, moving 5,000 miles away, from a country where Papa John's pizza was a new arrival that was considered really quite an exotic pizza choice, to a place such as Dallas where neon food advertising coats the sides of the road, and there is no freeway exit without something that will only serve to knock valuable years off your life. All these places would seem infinitely more appealing to you. They'd have an air of mystery, that irresistible "Americana" the world is so desperate to capture. Deep down, you'd know that they were places serving reheated frozen food via surly staff members in demeaning clothing, but that wouldn't stop you. You'd have to try them all. And so I have. Here are my findings.

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Gavin Cleaver
Contact: Gavin Cleaver