The stereotypical casual-dining chain restaurant of American Suburbia, often located in or near The Mall. These restaurants are likely to be inspired by either idealized, nostalgic Americana, or a stereotypical image of an exotic place like Italy, Australia, or Texas. The walls and ceilings are frequently festooned with decorations fitting the theme, such as sports memorabilia, road signs, vintage photos, guitars, and crab pots. People actually from those places are likely to find the overly-processed, fancifully-named dishes served here almost unrecognizable. The appetizers range from the conventional mozzarella sticks and buffalo wings to Frankensteinian combinations like potato-bacon-bombs and southwestern egg rolls. Portion sizes are usually gargantuan. The dessert selection usually includes some hazardous-sounding chocolate creation involving the words "volcano" or "lava".

Often, everything from how a customer is greeted to the way items are arranged on a table is dictated by corporate guidelines, resulting in an eerily identical experience regardless of which branch of the restaurant one patronizes. Happiness Is Mandatory for the wait staff. 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.

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 Burger Fool, Suck E. Cheese's, and Greasy Spoon. See also Cuisines In America.


  • In Office Space, Peter, Michael, and Samir take their coffee in Chotchkie's. The over-enthusiastic waiter wants to know whether they want to try the pizza shooters, shrimp poppers or extreme fajitas.
  • 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.

Live Action TV
  • One Mad TV sketch takes place at a J.J. Fuddermucker, a parody of Fuddruckers.
  • The Ben Stiller Show features a sketch at TJ O'Pootertoot's, a family-friendly restaurant which hosts a deep, dark secret.
  • MacLaren's Pub from How I Met Your Mother.
  • 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.
  • Community - In "Comparative Religion", tough-guy bully Mike, waiting to fight with Jeff, tells his gang "Look, this dude don't show up, we're definitely going to Applebee's, right? 'Cause I'm getting into a fight no matter what!"

Newspaper Comics
  • Cul De Sac - the Otterloop family often dines out at P.J. Piehole's. Petey had a fear of the rowboat hanging from the ceiling falling on him.

Video Games
  • 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.

Western Animation
  • Sealab 2021 features the "Grizzlebee's" chain, which provides several intrusive bouts of Product Placement whenever it's featured in an episode.
  • Hinted at (but never shown) in The Brak Show, with the nautically themed "Fish Pockets", where customers can get their picture taken with the mascot Gary Grouper. note 
  • The Simpsons episode "Bart Sells His Soul" features "Uncle Moe's Family Feedbag", featuring "all kinds'a crazy crap on the walls" and a Navy deep fryer that can "flash-fry a buffalo in 40 seconds."
    Homer: "Forty seconds? But I want it now!"
    • Not to mention the various restaurants mentioned in passing from earlier in the episode:
    Dr. Hibbert: "Alright, where would you kids like to eat tonight?"
    Young Son: "The Spaghetti Laboratory!"
    Young Daughter: "Face-Stuffer's!"
    Teenage Son: "Professor V.J. Cornucopia's Fantastic Foodmagorium and Great American Steakery!"
  • One SpongeBob SquarePants episode sees Mr. Krabbs sell the Krusty Krabb to a chain who makes it into "Krabby O'Mondays," complete with wall bric-a-brac and Friday's-style striped tables.
  • In the Daria episode "Life in the Past Lane", Tom takes Daria out to "Phineas T. Firefly's", a restaurant clearly modeled after T.G.I. Friday's. The overly enthusiastic waitress is enough to get them to leave.
  • Regular Show's Wing Kingdom is a very obvious pastiche of Buffalo Wild Wings and TGI Friday's, having the exterior design and food of the former and the interior style of the latter (complete with Tiffany lamps and mounted moose head).