The stereotypical American casual-dining chain restaurant. The wall decor is imaginative, and likely to be inspired by either idealized, nostalgic
Americana, or a stereotypical image of an exotic place like Italy
, or Texas
. People actually from those places are likely to find the cuisine almost unrecognizable. The appetizers range from the conventional mozzarella sticks and buffalo wings to Frankensteinian combinations like potato-bacon-bombs and southwestern egg rolls. Occasionally, a customer celebrating his birthday there will get an earful as all the company's Burger Fool
employees chant a custom birthday song (since "Happy Birthday to You
" is copyrighted) while clapping. The dessert selection usually includes some hazardous-sounding chocolate creation.
It has begun to replace the Malt Shop
as a stock setting in fiction, since there aren't many malt shops around any more. (Ironically, most of the few restaurants that go for the '50s malt shop vibe these days are places like Johnny Rocket's and Red Robin, which are examples of this trope in their own right.)
Named for a line from a Steve Hofstetter comedy routine, as a portmanteau of four well-known U.S. casual dining chains: T.G.I. Fridays, O'Charley's, Chili's, and Applebee's.
Compare Suck E. Cheese's
, Greasy Spoon
Live Action TV
- In Office Space, Peter, Michael, and Samir take their coffee in Chotchkeys. The over-enthusiastic waiter wants to know whether they want to try the pizza fingers.
- Waiting takes place in a restaurant called Shenanigans.note
- In Idiocracy, the Fuddruckers chain is still around in 2505, though its name has long since degenerated into a reference to anal sex.
- One scene in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby has Ricky dining at Applebee's with his parents and his two sons; Ricky's father gets thrown out after arguing with the waitress over the onions on his steak. The climax also features gratuitous, Played for Laughs Product Placement for Applebee's.
- One Mad TV sketch takes place at a J.J. Fuddermucker, a parody of Fuddruckers.
- A sketch featuring The Birthday Boys featured a waiter who listed flavors of buffalo wings like "Mild, Spicy" and the third one he'd list would be an over-acted reaction rather (incredibly hot or tasty).
- One episode of The Chaser's War on Everything had Charles Firth visiting the Outback Steakhouse, an Australian-themed casual dining restaurant, and flipping out over how phony he found the place.
- In the Grand Theft Auto series, the Al Dente's chain is a parody of Olive Garden, its ads specifically making fun of the inauthentic Italian theme and the waistline-inflating portion sizes.
- Papa's Wingeria clearly invokes this feel.
- In Sluggy Freelance, there's Zomblebee's, a zombie-themed version of this. With actual zombie employees.