Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Dairy-Based Baked Goods Mill: Enough is Enough Already!

Clearly there is not enough going on in the Rochester area. No exciting discoveries at our research institutions. No titillating controversies in our local political arenas. No economic development advances improving our regional standard of living. Nothing of any real importance to the general populace is occuring around these parts. There must not be. Why else would the opening of an all-but ubiquitous chain restaurant be the most heavily covered story in town?

Every pre-programmed mass-consumer in the area is ever so excited about the grand opening of our first Cheesecake Factory restaurant. The way the media is treating it, this is the most exciting event in our area since PF Chang's opened at Eastview a couple of years ago. As we all well know, you're not a real city until you have your very own big-name chain restaurant where you can dine like other mindless wannabe bigshots in every other large city in the country. This begs the question, why does the opening of a chain restaurant get so much free local media coverage while many locally-owned restaurants have to beg the media to mention them or pay for advertising out of their pockets? It's utterly ridiculous and completely unfair. These guys even used illegal immigrants to build the restaurant. How's that for giving the local community a big middle finger?

I don't care how good their jalapeno poppers or extreme nachos are, they're no better than anything you can find in any number of locally-owned restaurants. You status-obsessed brainiacs just don't get it. Didn't the recent purchase of Applebee's by IHOP turn on the lightbulb in those thick skulls of yours? All this chain food is garbage, no matter how much avocado they use. Frozen ingredients, focus group tested food items, waiters reciting scripts written by marketing executives, etc. It's nonsense! There are 125 other locations for the damn company, you are not special for having eaten there nor are we special for having one!

This is a company more than it is a restaurant; it's traded on the goddamned NASDAQ under CAKE. When you eat there, you line the pockets of some rich corporate asshole in California rather than helping your neighbor. These chains do nothing to help our economy or our quality of life. Just look at the rotting former Bahama Breese, er, Breeze on Jefferson Road in Henrietta. That got a lot of media attention too, but it took about a year for that once next big thing to shut down. The same godless corporation that owns the Bahama Breeze concept (yes, they're called concepts, not restaurants) also owns Red Lobster, Olive Garden, and Smokey Bones BBQ. Do you see the trend here? It's pathetic!

I suppose that Cheesecake Factory is in the upper echelon of national chain restaurants but that does not excuse our local media for hyping their arrival. You've got to wonder how much loot The Cheesecake Factory Corporation paid for all of this exposure. It's a shame that we've lowered ourselves to this. That we're supposed to be excited when a restaurant with lookalike locations from Boston to Birmingham to Beverly Hills arrives with their grossly oversized entrees and overrated desserts. We're supposed to be thrilled that our suburbs look even more like everywhere else in this increasingly-godforsaken suburban nation. Enjoy it while it's still "cool" to eat there, you brainless sheep. Will we get this excited when Hard Rock Cafe, California Pizza Kitchen, and Waffle House come to town too?