DRUNKEN DONUTS. No longer simply a favorite of Irish cops, Drunken Donuts has expanded to all segments of the consumer market who enjoy becoming inebriated while eating sugar-saturated, deep-fried dough. Their famous coffee comes with a choice of one, two or three shots of whisky, or the special ‘coffee optional’ version that is handed to you in its own paper bag. Gin-glazed crullers and Jägerrmeister bear claws are big sellers, but the perennial favorite is the Jell-O Shot Donut.
RED MOBSTER. This chain of Russian-style seafood eateries has really taken off since its 1992 debut. Founder and CEO Fyodor “Crowbar” Selenovich cites aggressive marketing, low prices, and the popular ‘warehouse’ area of the restaurant (where diners can enjoy cigars and discounted Rolexes that have recently fallen off the back of trucks) as reasons for its success; fresh herring, dead-eyed and English-deficient waitresses, and no seating with your back to the door also play a part.
SUBPAR. This ubiquitous chain of cold-cut sandwich dispensaries delivers barely satisfying, not exactly delicious sandwiches served up in an untimely manner by unfriendly, half-competent employees. Subpar contrasts itself with the greasy, fatty, recently prepared fare offered by the burger chains; as their memorable slogan has it, at Subpar, you’ll “eat nearly fresh”. All of their bread was at one point freshly baked, and they will sell no meat that wasn’t part of an animal.
BOSTON MARKUP. An upscale convenience-food chain, Boston Markup (which was named not for the city, but for its CEO’s love of the song “More Than a Feeling” is the favorite choice of accountants, financial advisors and investment brokers. All meals come with a full history of the vendor’s profit margin, a financial statement for the previous year, and an opportunity cost analysis of money spent vs. time saved by not simply making the food yourself at home.
GINGER ROGER'S. Founded by the legendary silver-screen dance star in 1936 as an upscale series of themed nightclubs, Ginger Roger's was bought out after tough times in 1979 by a group of Hong Kong investors whose command of the language was imperfect. As a result, it is now a chain of cheap pirate-themed Chinese takeout joints where all the dishes are seasoned with copious amounts of ginger. Do your best to avoid Ye Olde Cap’n Jim’s Walk-the-Ginger-Chicken-Planks.
TAKO BELL. One of the hottest fast food restaurants in Japan finally makes its debut in the United States. Led by their memorable spokescreature Eight-Armed Eddie, Tako Bell presents a full range of octopus- and squid-based dining options, including the Squidchilada, the Calimari Club sandwich, and the inexplicably popular Octa-Roon cookie. The restaurant aims to make suckerfish and other tentacled, suctioned sea creatures palatable to children, so check out the Inky Squirts Playland area.
JACK IN THE HOLE. This southwestern chain has won innumerable design and product innovation awards for its alarmingly accurate re-creation of the prison dining experience. No take-home is available; customers must eat their meals off metal trays under the cautious eye of armed tower guards, and the dining area is racially segregated by prison gang affiliation. A wide selection of steam-tray options are available, as is free soap, toilet wine, and the best sheet cake in town.
MONTANA FRIED CHICKEN. A successful bucket of fowl starts with an original recipe, and they don’t come much more original than Montana Fried Chicken’s. MFC’s method of preparation is a unique interpretation of deep-frying that involves not heating the oil in which the chicken is immersed. The result is a truly unique culinary experience that has nearly one-twentieth as many devotees as detractors, and business is booming despite many lawsuits and health code violations.
WHETHERBURGER. The self-described chain that “put the ‘meat’ in ‘mystery meat’”, Whetherburger offers diners an economy-sized tray of unidentified food items, as well as the chance to guess whether any of them is a burger. Other surprise treats at the chain include the random insertion of ‘prizes’ in takeout bags, kids’ meals, and food and beverage items, and a popular promotion where a randomly chosen customer wins the opportunity to be chef of the day.