Hey, usually when I tell people what I do for Valentine’s day, they don’t get it.
But I took my family to Shoney’s.
For those that don’t know, Shoney’s is another semi-failing American brand. Once they had 3000 restaurants, now there’s less than half that, most of them in the Southeast. And I’m a sucker for failing Americana. I was an American Studies major, fascinated with Route 66. I shop at Kmart. I like dead malls. I remember a place called Service Merchandise. I went to a Norman Rockwell exhibit last month. I think it’s hilarious when a once-popular strip mall becomes outdated. I admire diners, bowling alleys and mini-golf.
Thankfully for me, there’s a Shoney’s right down the street in my neighborhood.
But my admiration isn’t just misplaced nostalgia. I have some memories there. In the summers, my parents would drive my sister and I up from Louisiana and to meet my grandparents who drove down from Indiana. The middle? A Shoney’s near Memphis.
Also–if you have a great wife like mine who doesn’t really care about Valentine’s Day but would rather me be nice to her all year-round, then Shoney’s is great. There are no lines, no reservations, and she can have fried chicken and I get a pretty-good hamburger. I like meeting the waiters and waitresses who are there for a job, not because it’s a trendy place to work. I like the booths that let you slide out from both sides. My local Shoney’s has a Galaga machine. I’m not sure what else you could ask for.
Here’s to Shoney’s and here are the pics!