Thursday, May 07, 2009

Like a normal burger - only square!

While we're all fired up about food, and off the back of Tim T's tale of the Great Canadian Muffin Co., let's dredge up old food outlets.

I'll start with The Great American Disaster. Now, I always thought this was inventive and rather daring name for a restaurant chain. Do you remember these? Very 1970s hamburger joints, in as much as they were red brick with rock music and pictures of things like the Hindenberg on the wall. The burgers seemed massive and brilliant and exciting. Not burgers like we know them to be today of course, with handmade this, organic that and seeded whatever, but bog standard burgers and chips. But they were great. Of course, eventually it must have been a self-fulfilling prophecy as it no longer exists.

Not that we ate out often though - once a year at the Berni Inn for us (every Sunday at the marina for Mrs F-C, but she's posh) - but TGAD was a birthday type place, which is very exciting when you're nine. We weren't in with the in crowd. We were in with the Berni Inn crowd.

So what else? We won't be obvious and talk Wimpy, so who remembers Huckleberry's? Another burger place, but more McDonald's fast foody. And what about Pizzaland or The Deep Pan Pizza Company? There was one in every high street. They were all over London, as was Pastaficcio. We once had a huge row in the one in Twickenham with a waitress who accused us of smoking 'pot' in the restaurant. We accused her of overuse of the microwave. No wonder they no longer exist. And they were herbal cigarettes, honestly.

Any more?


Ishouldbeworking said...

Don't recall the Great American Disaster Burger at ALL! Perhaps they never made it to Essex? For some reason, reading that post has made me remember the Tinned Burger, which must have been one of the greatest culinary abominations of all time...

But, moving on to late lamented eateries, the Chicago Pizza Pie Factory was a place of absolute wonderment to me in the late 70s. Eat there, and you would be sweating garlic for days. And if you couldn't finish your food, they'd put it in a doggie bag for you. Imagine that!

A Kitten in a Brandy Glass said...

I'm having trouble getting my head around the fact that there really was a chain called The Great American Disaster. They never made it up North, I can tell you that. Mind you, I never even saw a Spud-U-Like until I lived in Manchester.

Pizzaland were a top night out in my student days because they often had "buy one pizza, get another for 1p" offers. My friends were also well trained in the art of filling a dish from the salad bar as full as possible, often by extending the fillable surface with a row of cucumber slices around the edge of the bowl. Sadly Pizzaland cottoned on to this and started cubing the cucumbers instead.

Five-Centres said...

That was a favourite Garfunkels trick that I employed when penniless and first in London. But I used a row of stiff lettuce leaves and filled up.

Planet Mondo said...

Don't remember The Great American Disaster - was this when burgers were still called 'hamburgers'

But do remember Schooner Inns,(Top of the Watneys pub chain apparently) Wendy Burgers and Dayvilles Ice Cream parlours

I'm always boggled that Angus Steak Houses and Spudulike are still marching on

Oh, and Happy Eater

Five-Centres said...

Ah yes, Dayvilles. And I noticed a Baskin Robbins in Baker Street yesterday.

Clair said...

When in Lisbon...

Sky Clearbrook said...

No, I don't remember this lot either, but they sound interesting to say the least!

AKIABG mentioned those 1p offers at Pizzaland. At one point in the mid-90s, those offers were published in every newspaper everyday. We used have a big stock of them in the drawer - we'd take them out of papers left on the bus etc and would always use them in accordance with their expiry date.

Oh aye. We had it down to a fine art. The best offer was something like "Wine for 1p if you buy starters, main and dessert".

Edinburgh had countless Pizzalands in the 1990s - and we frequented them all. I think they were the first to do the stuffed crust. Mmmmm.

Didn't they all changes to Bella Pasta around about 10 years ago?

Rob The Builder said...

Pizzaland were integrated into the Pizza Hut chain by Whitbread after buying out their holding company. Much preferred Pizzaland at the time, although I've since discovered the Pan Pepperoni Feast. Bella Pasta were also part of the same deal, so that's probably why some Pizzalands became B.P's.

Have never been able to enter a Spud-u-like since seeing Harry Enfield's 'Wayne and Waynetta Slob' christen their new baby Spudulika.

Five-Centres said...

Thanks for clearing that up Rob.

Now, I'm off to Nordsee.