Sunday, August 7, 2011

T.G.I. Fridays, Always A Good Choice For Me When Eating Out

I don't know, call me old fashion.

I still like the dark stained wood panels with the nostalgic antiques hanging from the ceiling and walls in the comfortable setting of our local T.G.I. Fridays Restaurant here in Bowling Green, Ky. I also like the red and white stripes and the Tiffany lamps. I have noticed that some of the other restaurants in town have updated and removed some of their antiques off the wall and have given their guests a "more updated" feel I suppose.

But that's the beauty of T.G.I. Fridays. It takes me back to a time of me growing up in East Memphis, Tenn. I was just a kid when Fridays came to the Overton Square in Mid-Town Memphis and a matter of fact, it was the second Fridays to open in the country in 1971. Although, I never got a chance to eat at that popular restaurant on the Overton Square, I have eaten at the one next to Vanderbilt's campus in downtown Nashville and one in Bowling Green dozens of times.

Here's what it says about T.G.I. Fridays in Wikipedia.

"With fellow Bucknell graduate Ben Benson, Alan Stillman opened other restaurants, including Thursday's, Wednesday's, Tuesday's, and Ice Cream Sunday's. Franchising of T.G.I. Friday's began in 1971 in Memphis, Tennessee in the Overton Square district; that location has since closed. As new locations opened in the suburbs parents brought their children, and the chain changed its focus to casual dining for families. Stillman sold the restaurant chain in the 1970s to the Carlson Companies—although he kept the original location —and, now married, founded Smith & Wollensky in 1977 with Benson.

The Friday's restaurant chain was founded by Alan Stillman in 1965. The bachelor perfume salesman lived in a neighborhood with many airline stewardesses, fashion models, secretaries, and other single people on the East Side of Manhattan near the Queensboro Bridge, and hoped that opening a bar would help him meet women. At the time, Stillman's choices for socializing were non-public cocktail parties, or "guys' beer-drinking hangout" bars that women usually did not visit; he recalled that "there was no public place for people between, say, twenty-three to thirty-seven years old, to meet." He sought to recreate the comfortable cocktail-party atmosphere in public despite having no experience in the restaurant business.

T.G.I. Friday's (often shortened to "Friday's" in most countries, and stylized "FRiDAY'S", or "T.G.I.'s" in the United Kingdom) is an American restaurant chain focusing on casual dining. The company is a unit of the Carlson Companies. Its name is taken from the expression TGIF. The company asserts that it stands for "Thank Goodness It's Friday," although as of 2010 some television commercials for the chain have also made use of the alternative phrase, "Thank God It's Friday's."[2] The chain is known for its appearance, with red-striped canopies, brass railings,Tiffany lamps and frequent use of antiques as decor.

With $5,000 of his own money and $5,000 borrowed from his mother, Stillman purchased a bar he often visited, The Good Tavern at the corner of 63rd Street and First Avenue, and renamed it T.G.I. Friday's after the expression "Thank God! It's Friday!" from his years at Bucknell University. The new restaurant, which opened on March 15, 1965, served standard American cuisine, bar food, and alcoholic beverages, but emphasized food quality and preparation. The exterior featured a red-and-white striped awning and blue paint, the Gay Nineties interior included fake Tiffany lamps, wooden floors, Bentwood chairs, and striped tablecloths, and the bar area added brass rails and stained glass. The employees were young and wore red-and-white striped soccer shirts, and every time someone had a birthday, the entire restaurant crew came around with a cake and sang Friday's traditional birthday song. The first location closed in 1994, and is a British pub called "Baker Street"; the brass rails are still there."

Our local T.G.I. Fridays in Bowling Green has stayed the same since it opened in 2001 as far as its decor. Of course the menu and prices has changed somewhat through the years. To me, T.G.I Fridays is a great place to eat. I especially like the Stripes Rewards program. Every time you eat there, you get points and those points add up to free food. For me, Fridays offers great food, great prices, great service, a nice atmosphere and for some strange reason I always imagine myself eating at the former T.G.I. Fridays on Overton Square in Memphis even though I never got a chance to eat there. It must be some sort of mental connection.

(Pictured above is a photo taken from the Memphis Commerical Appeal of James D. Robinson Jr., one of the founders of TGI Friday's Memphis and Overton Square, is shown in Friday's in 1970. Robinson and his partners had bet that Memphis voters would approve sales of liquor by the drink, which they did in 1969.)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011