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The 14 greatest TV eateries

by Keith McDuffee, posted Apr 11th 2007 11:52AM
happy days arnold'sWelcome to TV Squad Lists (formerly 'The Five'), a feature where each blogger has a chance to list his or her own rundown of things in television that stand out from the rest, both good and bad.

Last week I gave you a pretty big list of popular "drinkeries" from TV, but I think where I went wrong was trying too hard to list every watering hole possible. Since I'm covering eateries this week, I'm certain I'll miss some of your favorites, but I'm going to list what I believe to be the most popular dining spots from television, both past and present. And since there are way too many real spots on TV to mention (Hell's Kitchen, Kitchen Stadium, etc.), I'll stick with fictional spots, even if they're based on real ones.

This time let's go with 14 of them.

1) Arnold's/Al's Drive-In (Happy Days) -- I struggled for a bit with what I would call the number one eatery on TV, but I kept coming back to this spot. Arnold's/Al's was in nearly every episode as far as I can recall, and of course housed The Fonz's office. After it burned down, the signage changed to Al's.

monk's diner2) Monk's Restaurant (Seinfeld) -- A few people thought I should have added this to the drinkeries list, since really all they seemed to do was go drink coffee. But it is a restaurant, and they ate here in nearly every episode. In fact, food was part of the dialogue in some cases. This is easily one of the most recognizable eating spots from recently past television.

mel's diner3) Mel's Diner (Alice) -- I'll probably get stomped for this not being number one or two. I used to catch a few episodes of Alice here and there when I was younger, but all I can remember from it was the fabulously famous "kiss my grits" saying from Flo. This place had all of the stereotypes of a good, greasy diner, from the waitress outfits to the muscle-head owner, Mel.

krusty burger
the frying dutchman 4 & 5) Krusty Burger/The Frying Dutchman (The Simpsons) -- Why give each their own number? They're equally excellent. Krusty's is like the Moe's of eating in Springfield, especially for kids, while the Dutchman has more of that, er, fine dining appeal for the adults. Yeah there are many more eateries in Springfield, but these are the top. Mmmmm... Krusty Partially Gelatinated Non-Dairy Gum-Based Beverages.

the pier diner6) The Pier Diner (The O.C.) -- I admit that I totally spaced in forgetting to mention The Bait Shop in last week's drinkery list, so to make up for it I'm listing The Pier Diner at number five. The usual hangout for most of the kids, at least in the early years when I watched it. The view alone makes me really hate that it snows here in New England in April.

burger world7) Burger World (Beavis & Butt-Head) -- A constant reminder to working drones everywhere that "work sucks." Hop on in for some of Beavis and Butt-Head's greatest experiments, including fried insects and rats. The food's "perty good," too.

barf's burgery8) Barth's Burgery (You Can't Do That On Television) -- This entry's bound to upset many people, but most likely only those who've never seen this recurring skit on the Nickelodeon show. This was a favorite of mine long ago, and my brother and I would often make jokes for years with the famous Barth signature line: "Yyyaaaaaiiii hhhheard dat!" Why the kids insisted on continuing to eat ground up dead people/rats/mystery meat was a wonder.

the max9) The Max (Saved By The Bell) -- I know, I know -- another kid's show. In its earlier years, Saved By The Bell was a pretty decent show. It wasn't until later that Screech's antics and the dreaded "college years" made the show unbearable. Even so, The Max was a definite staple of eating on television at the time.

the hub10) The Hub (That '70s Show) -- I swear there was always a big basket of fries on every table at this joint. Though casual viewers of the show might not know this place's name, the image here should be a very familiar one. A lot of great scenes happened in The Hub.

sacred heart hospital cafeteria11) Sacred Heart Hospital cafeteria (Scrubs) -- Maybe this place had some sort of "memorial" name attached to it, but I'm not aware of one. In any case, though the food may be mediocre, this was a key location on the show and was even visited by Clay Aiken in one of JD's fantasies. It was in a lot of episodes, for sure.

mr. cluck's chicken shack12) Mr. Cluck's Chicken Shack (Lost) -- Hurley's past employer and one that was subsequently destroyed by a meteor. The once employer to a now missing lottery-winning millionaire, struck by a bus-sized rock from space. How many other eateries can make that claim to fame?

salinger's restaurant13) Salinger's Restaurant (Party Of Five) -- Charlie and his two oldest siblings had to run the joint after their parents met an untimely death, and it set the stage for much of the earlier seasons.

beacon street pizza14) Beacon Street Pizza (Two Guys, A Girl And A Pizza Place) -- Like I've mentioned before with drinkeries, I was a frequent visitor to Boston, so in some ways this place holds special meaning to me. Well, even though it's completely fictional. The address used to display prominently on the door in several episodes, and I knew enough just from that that this place didn't exist. Still, it's worthy of a mention as it's one of those few spots that earned itself a place in the show's title ... at least for a couple of seasons.

I know I've missed a lot of what you'd call your top picks. So in honor of that, I'm posting some pictures of some other famous eateries as my honorable mentions, but you've possibly found on your own top 14. Can you name them all and what shows they're from? I'll comment back in a few days with the answers if you get stuck.

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Norm Conquest

Can't forget the Hungry Heifer from Cheers.

BTW, Monk's from Seinfeld is actually Tom's, up near Columbia U. in the real NYC (and was, by coincidence, the setting for Suzanne Vega's song "Tom's Diner.")

Likewise, Riff's from Mad About You is actually the Old Town Bar near Union Square. The barroom floor was immortalized by the long tracking shot in the opening credits for Late Night with David Letterman.

April 18 2007 at 7:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yeah! and LUKES DINER!!!!

April 16 2007 at 10:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

you forgot one! CENTRAL PERK!!!!!!!

April 16 2007 at 10:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Alex K.

[…] Found @ TV Squad […]


April 14 2007 at 7:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ernie's Juice Bar from the Power Rangers was featured almost daily for 3 seasons.

Good Burger from All That and Good Burger. Everyone knows "welcome to good burger, home of the good burger, can i take your order..."

April 14 2007 at 4:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Where is Luke's Diner from "The Gilmore Girls" ?!?!?!?!

April 13 2007 at 12:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tom Heintjes

Yes, I was wondering about Central Perk, too. And has anyone mentioned Mel's Diner? Man, I could go for a bowl of Flo's grits about now!

Regarding Monk's ( http://www.cafepress.com/hoganstore.61469651 ), I was always amused that a diner also sold hard liquor...remember how they would occasionally order a scotch? Maybe you can do that in New York, I don't know.

April 13 2007 at 9:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Luke's Diner and the Doublemeat Palace are the top two on my list. We have seen far too little of Luke's this season on GG and, while I did find the whole Doublemeat thing a bit ridiculous on Buffy, it was rather entertaining that our Slayer had to work at a fast food place. Buffy, always underappreciated. It's like the job was symbolic of her...essential and good (some fast food is good stuff), but considered frivolous and cheesy (do you consider fast food to be *serious* food?).

All I have to say is that DR and the GG crew better put Lorelai back in Luke's soon!

April 11 2007 at 3:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What of the Lanford Lunchbox form Roseanne?

April 11 2007 at 3:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Kitchen Confidential-Nolita
Earl-The Crab Shack

April 11 2007 at 2:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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