20 Questions for the Heathens Who Refuse to Eat at Chain Restaurants

Illustration for article titled 20 Questions for the Heathens Who Refuse to Eat at Chain Restaurants
Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

1. Who raised you?

2. No, seriously. Who raised you? Asking because I need to know who your parental figures are so I can reach out to them and tell them that they raised a child who acts like they’re too good for Burgatory.


3. What did Burgatory ever do to you, except offer delicious burgers and shakes and a surprisingly diverse appetizer menu?

4. Also, if you don’t go to chain restaurants, how are you so sure that the food there is not good? Huh?

5. HUH?

6. If you’re a Christian, how can you claim to be a Christian when we all know Jesus would’ve been posted at TGI Fridays every Friday?

7. Did you know that there’s literally no difference between the lobsters at Red’s and the lobsters at other places where people get lobster? Like, these special places you’re getting your “special” lobsters from aren’t getting their lobsters from a special ocean.

8. OK, I really have no clue if the lobsters are the same. Perhaps there is a special ocean filled with special lobsters for nonchains. But I don’t think you know the difference, either. I could put a lobster from Red’s on your shoulder right now and you wouldn’t be like, “Get this Red Lobster-ass lobster off of my shoulder, b.” So why are you lying?


9. What are you trying to prove with your chain disdain?

10. Are you trying to signal things to people?

11. That your experience is too cultured to plant your ass cheeks in an Outback Steakhouse booth, even though their booths have remarkably buttery leather?


12. That your palette is too refined for the Cheesecake Factory?

13. That your wallet is too brolic for Applebee’s because they don’t take American Express?


14. But how would you even know that they don’t take AmEx if you didn’t go to Applebee’s and try?

15. So again, why are you lying?

16. Does this chain animus extend to other things?

17. Do you not go to Target or shop at Whole Foods or get coffee at Starbucks or wear Nikes?


18. If someone offered you an Audi, would you be like, “I don’t do car-brand chains. I prefer the ambience and decor of walking”?

19. When you’re at an airport, are you like, “Yeah, forget all these Delta and American Airlines and Southwest flights and shit. I only fly on Morgan Freeman jets”?


20. So here’s something: Let’s say your favorite little spot to get sushi was called Tyrone’s House of Grits (because irony). Now let’s say Tyrone’s House of Grits (T-HOG for short) got really, really popular—so popular that it was made into a franchise—but the food stayed the same. T-HOG’s sushi was just as great as it was before. Would you stop eating there because it’s a chain now?


Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)


Danielle C. Belton

1. My mama.

2. I probably am too good for “Burgatory.”

3. “I don’t know her.”

4. I’m from the Midwest. All we had were chains and I ate at them growing up and they were awful. Once you’ve had mozzarella sticks at Applebees you’ve had them everywhere. All they’re doing is microwaving and thawing out pre-prepared meals half the time and the chances of your steak and/or lobster getting messed up by the poorly compensated and treated staff is high.

5. I said what I said.

6. I still said what I said.

7. The difference is in what Red Lobster does to that lobster. I found that if you go to the Red Lobster in smaller, less hot town (say Bakersfield, Calif.), that Red Lobster is the best Red Lobster ever because there isn’t as much restaurant job competition, so you end up hiring some pretty good folks. If you go to the one in NYC where there are restaurants competing everywhere, it’s trash.

8-20. You’re not going to make me care about the fate of Olive Garden, or the restaurant known as St. Louis Bread Co. (aka Panera Bread for you non-STL folks) or anything that was once good until it expanded too quickly and the quality dropped off. Which is almost always the problem with all chains. Plus, you have to makes sure all the food kind of tastes the same everywhere, and that level of quality control does not lend to inventive or good cooking.

Also, the pay is more often than not — shit — for the people who work there. And you get what you pay for.

Lastly, I’m too bougie for this shit.