Last week, as I was riding back from Milwaukee on I-94, I drove past Kenosha WI.
Like clockwork, on the right side of the Interstate, I saw lined up, all in a row, an Applebee's, a Chili's, a Bennigan's, an Olive Garden , , , , you get the picture.
I live here in Hobart, Indiana, and we have the same restaurants. A month ago, driving down to Lafayette, I noticed the same restaurants plus a Meijer's, a Target, and a Wal-Mart.
What's my point you ask? How "Vanilla" has America become?
I don't live in Chicago by choice although I absolutely love the city. Every Saturday, for about 20 years, unless there is some dire circumstance, I drive up to the city to do something. It could be new restaurant, a record store, a book store, or to see a band. The one thing I love about Chicago is that its not "Vanilla."
I can proudly say that in my years on this planet Earth, I have not patronized an Applebee's, a Chili's, or an Olive Garden? I went to Bennigan's once in Tuscon because I was desperate and vowed never to go back again. And why would I? With all of its culture, Chicago has so much to see, do, and experience.
I mean, if you eat a Carnitas taco in Pilsen, why would you go back to Taco Bell? If you eat wood-grilled Pizza Magherita at D.O.C., why would you settle for Pizza Hut? If you have Crab Cakes at Joe's Seafood, why would you eat them at the "Crab Shack?" You get the point. Americans are too satisfied for mediocre.
I've written about this attitude in a previous blog about music. The way I look at it is this, "We're Anericans, we should dress the best, eat the best, experience the best, and be the best. Anything less is unsatisfactory." Yet we see "mediocre" in our advertising every day.
Look at the Target or the Old Navy ads. I think that they are brilliant. They're hip, they're set to good rock music, and they're filled with beautiful looking young men and women. But if your looking at the clothes they are wearing, they look like crap! In Europe, you don't see women wearing jeans or flip-flops. But to millions of young women in America, its easy. Buy a halter top and some flip-flops and you're ready to hit the town.
In the newspaper today, Hobart just announced that a new Borders and Red Robin resutaurant are going to be built by the new cineplex. Can hardly wait.