Friday December 2, 2011
Apparently fictional characters get hungry, too. More importantly, television shows often need a central, non-domestic location where the cast gathers to hatch zany schemes, discuss relationships and even perform ill-advised musical numbers. And seeing as multiple sets for multiple restaurants could get expensive, shows tend to have their characters frequent one particular coffee shop or restaurant. Though not a comprehensive list, here's a few of the most memorable restaurants on TV.
The Peach Pit, Beverly Hills 90210: Perhaps the most malleable restaurant in TV history, The Peach Pit serves many purposes for the students of West Beverly High (and the writers of the show). It's an employer for those saving up for a '65 Mustang, an after school hangout for gossiping over a milkshake, and even a suddenly quiet spot for a late-night study session -- don't stay too late Brenda: it's a sketchy neighborhood. And as the cast matures, they suddenly uncover an abandoned warehouse behind the Peach Pit, which becomes The Peach Pit After Dark, a club-like venue where the characters participate in more adult-themed dramatics. Unfortunately there's a stage for the showcasing of Brian Austin Green's musical "talents." We'll opt for the sweet harmony of Color Me Badd instead.
Arnold's, Happy Days: For all of the time Richie Cunningham and the gang spent at Arnold's, the diner's burger and shakes deserve Smithsonian status as much as Fonzie's jacket. Before Fonzie and Happy Days made history by Jumping the Shark, Arnold's provides the parking lot where he jumps 14 garbage cans before wiping out a short-lived Arnold's Fried Chicken stand.
Monk's Diner, Seinfeld: Second to Jerry's apartment, Monk's (referred to simply as "the coffee shop") is the most frequented locale for the show about nothing's cast members to "pore over the excruciating minutia of every single daily event." Menu staples include some of the city's best pie (some refuse to even try it) and an unparalleled "big salad," the likes of which cannot be found at the coffee shop's bizarre-o counterpart, Reggie's. Various schemes, breakups and life-changing decisions occur in these booths, one in particular predicated on a switch from tuna on toast to chicken salad on rye.
The Olympia Restaurant, Saturday Night Live: SNL has given us a lots of restaurant and food-related fodder to chew on over the years, from Samurai Delicatessen to Hub's Gyro's (you like-a the jus??) and even the "awesome" Taco Town 15-flavor, deep-fried, tortilla-crepe-pizza-pancake-wrapped taco. Taking the cake is the famed "Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger" sketch. Patrons of the Olympia Restaurant will not be receiving breakfast foods, fries, tuna and certainly not Coke (No Coke. Pepsi!)
Central Perk, Friends: An inevitability on lists such as these, Central Perk is an integral part of one of the most watched shows of all time. You'd think such a diverse group of friends would want to experience all the restaurants and nightlife the Big Apple has to offer, but rather these 6 people opt to spend their lives mostly between two apartments and one coffee shop. Are we to believe they are really this vapid, or should we just acknowledge that the show was shot in Los Angeles, rendering outside excursions expensive and inconvenient? Central Perk manager Gunther -- a fan favorite -- supposedly landed this role when he was the only extra on set that could operate the real espresso machine. You never know when those barista skills will come in handy.
Bob's Burgers, Bob's Burgers: A relative newcomer, Bob's Burgers offers a hilarious look into the world of an independent, family-owned-and-operated burger joint. Bob's wife and three deranged kids serve as employees. Keep an eye out for the oft-changing chalkboard burger specials, bearing titles such as The Roquefort Files Burger, Last of the Mo-Jicama, and the Poblano Picasso Burger.
Elzar's Fine Cuisine, Futurama: Pretty much a dead-ringer for Emeril Lagasse -- except purple and four-armed -- Elzar is a triple threat as a TV chef, restaurateur, and author of Cooking Slugs for Dinner and Cooking Dinner for Slugs. His go-to move? Knocking it up a notch with his trusty spice-weasel. BAM!