Should anyone be surprised that some enterprising entrepreneurs took the title of the popular 2002 Nia Vardalos movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and used it as a restaurant title? The owners of the Arizona-based My Big Fat Greek Restaurant chain -- the subject of this week's Cafe review -- did, and you have to give them credit: It's clever, and it works.
This isn't an isolated idea. There are many other restaurants named after famous movies, including the Canadian restaurant, above, named for a 1945 Warner Bros. film, Mildred Pierce, about a waitress turned restaurateur -- played by Kansas City's own Joan Crawford.
Until the mid-1990s, I spent almost every New Year's Eve -- starting as a teenager -- busing tables, waiting tables or bartending (or doing all three).
It can be a grueling night for a restaurant staffer, what with a dangerous holiday combination of booze, unrealistically high expectations ("You're having fun, aren't you? Why not?") and pricey packages. For the people working, all that can add up to a lucrative night. But not always.
|Image via Flickr: kapgar|
The correct questions to the "Groovy TV commercials" quiz are: 1) Puffa Puffa Rice 2) Bit-O-Honey 3) Life Savers 4) Cheerios 5) Mounds Bar and Almond Joy ______________________________________________________________In the 1960s, as catchy pop filled the airwaves, those wise marketing gurus on Madison Avenue figured out that a great way to build brand recognition for a food product was to give it an infectiously memorable jingle. Played enough times on TV -- particularly on Saturday mornings for the youngsters, who would later pester their parents for sugary cereal products, soda pop and candy -- each jingle could become a mantra. You couldn't get the tune or the lyrics -- like this vintage Cracker Jack jingle -- out of your head! Today's contest tests your memory to see if any of those vintage jingles are still lurking around in there.
Banana stickers have evolved over my lifetime. Simple brand stamps with produce tags to be scanned by the cashier have evolved into pithy slogans. Despite all that, I'm not sure bananas will ever be an impulse buy.
Banana stickers are getting another makeover in July. Chiquita Banana is sponsoring a sticker design contest to remind people that the company is still, uh, bananas.
In a simpler, less complicated time, television sitcoms featured happy families where Dad had a good job, Mom stayed home (and frequently had a cook or cleaning lady to help) and the kids were well-groomed, well-behaved, popular in school and sports and, better yet, were sexy teenage heartthrobs, like Ozzie and Harriet's Ricky Nelson or the Donna Reed Show's Paul Peterson.
The first commenter to correctly answer the five questions about famous TV moms, dads and housekeepers before midnight tomorrow -- Friday, June 25 -- will win a vintage, slightly worn copy of the 1961 cookbook What Cooks in Suburbia, which features recipes for the kind of dishes you would expect Donna Reed or Mary Tyler Moore to be whipping up in their spotless kitchens: Mock Cheesecake, Fresh Blueberry Roly-Poly and Nesselrode Pie. The questions follow...
|Better luck, next meal|
1) What Plaza restaurant has served chocolate mousse for dessert for more than two decades?
Answer: Chaz on the Plaza, the former Raphael Restaurant in the Raphael Hotel. It's not on the current dessert menu, but the manager insists that you can still have it.
2) What downtown restaurant is currently offering "Drunken Strawberries" for dessert?
Answer: Webster House Restaurant.
|I'll have a meringue...and a cigarette, please|
In honor of Kansas City's tradition of great desserts, we bring you a new contest. The commenter who correctly answers all five questions by noon tomorrow, Friday, April 16, will win a vintage cookbook, The Joys of Jello.
Be warned: This contest is a hard one.
First, a big round of applause to commenter Jay who correctly answered all five of this week's Fat City "On With the Show" contest. This contest wasn't easy, and it stumped some of our shrewdest players.
|Eddy's was Kansas City's premiere supper club until 1965|
"Name the downtown supper club -- the building was recently torn down -- that was one of the hottest destination spots of the 1950s and early 1960s, and featured national performing acts like Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Anne Meara and Jerry Stiller, The Four Lads, The Four Aces and the Crew Cuts."
Jim Eddy, son of one of the founding members of the Eddy's restaurant dynasty, remembers that Anne Meara -- of the popular comedy team Stiller and Meara -- was pregnant during her 1965 appearance with husband Jerry Stiller at Eddy's. "That baby, born in November, was Ben Stiller," says Eddy.
|Where was this legendary supper club?|
Kansas City has a long tradition of mixing food and live entertainment. It has jazz clubs like Jardine's and one of the most successful dinner theater operations in the country, the New Theatre Restaurant in Overland Park. In this week's contest, we throw in a little history to see who can recall some of the more iconic venues in Kansas City's past.
The first commenter to correctly guess all five questions by midnight on Thursday, April 1, will win a super-groovy vintage cookbook, Singers & Swingers in the Kitchen.
|I'll have a Zombie, please|
1) The legendary Marilyn Maye was discovered -- by Tonight Show host Steve Allen -- singing in the old Colony Steakhouse at 35th and Broadway. Maye, now 80, will soon appear at Jardine's after receiving rave reviews for her last New York City club dates.
2) In the 1950s, Esquire wrote that the El Casbah Room in the Bellerive Hotel on Armour Boulevard -- the hotel is still standing but not a trace remains of the El Casbah -- had "climbed onto the roster of nationally noted dine, wine and dance rooms."
3) The Magic Carpet Cocktail Lounge was located in the Four Winds Restaurant of the old downtown Kansas City Airport.
4) The Hotel Phillips was the setting of The Tropics cocktail lounge.
5) A restaurant at 444 Westport Road called The Raisin Rack -- which no one seems to remember -- served the cocktail known as "The Farmer's Daughter."
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