We’ve all been there: dunking on a younger sibling or cousin for celebrating their gross high school relationship “monthiversary” at Olive Garden because they think it’s fancy. And we’ve been the roasted cousin in that scenario, too. Accidentally believing that chain restaurants are the height of fine dining is a rite of passage, precisely because it’s a universal experience — as evidenced by a now-viral tweet shared by comedian John Crist early Sunday morning.
What restaurant did you think was nice as a kid but when you became an adult realized it wasn’t that nice?…
— John Crist (@johnbcrist) December 27, 2020
Crist’s tweet posed a simple question but had Twitter users debating the merits of their childhood favorites and looking fondly at some lost and forgotten culinary experiences. You know, like eating at a sit-down Pizza Hut. Don’t get us wrong, we are by no means saying places like Olive Garden, P.F. Changs, Red Lobster, Cheesecake Factory, and the like don’t have anything to offer. They often do.
But they aren’t haute cuisine.
We legit only went to shoneys for special occasions. I was convinced it was five star
— John Crist (@johnbcrist) December 27, 2020
My parents were from NYC, but we lived in Georgia when I was little. As a result, we spent many hours on the road between the two places. Whenever we approached the SC/NC border, I would BEG my parents to stop at this magical place: pic.twitter.com/MpT6fKCXcY
— Mary In The East (@ChappGal) December 28, 2020
Under no circumstance is a restaurant with a kid’s menu fancy, because nobody wants kids at a genuinely fancy restaurant. So which restaurant did your childhood brain lead you to believe was fancy? For me, P.F. Changs was once a culinary mecca and the only restaurant I had ever been to with a statue of a horse. And for a 10-year-old, that was something!
Check more of the chatter below.
My grandparents took me and my older brother to a Ponderosa steakhouse in Michigan every Wednesday night. We thought it was top shelf.https://t.co/6iqaQ7HJAN
— Jennifer Taub (@jentaub) December 28, 2020
Old-school Pizza Hut, where you sat inside of a Hut and were served Pizza or fetched it from a hot bar, was good. It was a pure and good place. Then they removed all the good, piece by piece, and entirely transitioned to takeout and delivery.
— Robert Caruso (@robertcaruso) December 28, 2020
Pizza Hut. Those brick walls and fancy red glasses. That was high style. pic.twitter.com/1oyJYKfzmy
— Will (@1199Worf) December 28, 2020
I always thought that Outback Steakhouse was a super nice restaurant. I’ve since realised it’s about the lowest end a steakhouse can get.
— TechMan (@TechMansReviews) December 27, 2020
I asked my grandparents if we could go inside and eat at Popeyes. They told me you had to have a membership to eat inside. I believed that for years. Now I know they just wanted to pick up drive thru and go home.
— Christy Gadman (@ChristyGadman) December 27, 2020
They no longer exist, but Howard Johnson's was the best restaurant in town, hands down. I could not be swayed until they went out of business.
— Bryan Kearney (@bryandavidk) December 28, 2020
I still maintain Maggiano’s is a 5 star restaurant. Family disagrees.
— Charles Boyd (@MinorityOfOne75) December 28, 2020
Old Spaghetti Factory in Trolley Square in downtown SLC, Utah. We rarely went downtown, but when we did, it was usually to go there. And I always thought it was super fancy, especially with the trolley car inside the restaurant. pic.twitter.com/JfC18h2Ezo
— Boyd Petrie 🇺🇲🏳️🌈 (@BoydPetrie) December 28, 2020
Chi Chi’s which I apparently is so fancy that it went out of business in the US due to a Hepatitis outbreak? https://t.co/D3nvmPHrQd
— Stephanie Yelenik, PhD (@dendromecon27) December 28, 2020
Friendly's. I thought the cone head & glass partitions were high-class. pic.twitter.com/mKW4ygMtA2
— Brian Cristiano (@boldceo) December 28, 2020
The Olive Garden! People in my hometown still get married at the Olive Garden
— Katherine D. Morgan | Forever a Bookseller💁🏾♀️ (@blktinabelcher) December 28, 2020
Growing up in Hawaii I thought Bob's Big Boy was a fancy burger restaurant. There was only 1 on the island and it was near downtown, 35 min away. Looking back, it might have been the fact we had to drive out of the city I lived in that made it seem fancy 😅 pic.twitter.com/TQjqwbxUtx
— Jvstin (@Junioretc_) December 28, 2020
At the end of the day, whether you still love these restaurants or not, I think we can all agree that being able to sit down at a table, being served by a person that isn’t wearing a blast shield and gloves, and eating without fear of killing each other is a day we all desperately want to get back to. Regardless of where.