October 14, 2011

Fridays of Intestinal Fortitude:
When restaurants serve more than just food.

Note: Fridays of Intestinal Fortitude is a weekly feature about food, food and more FOOD. No, I do not necessarily want to be a food blogger, but I do LOVE to talk about food prep, cooking food, eating food and making sweet love to food.

Okay, maybe not the "sweet love" part. After all, this is not meant to be an homage to 9 1/2 Weeks.

This is going to be a quickie Cheater Post. The Team of Chaos is out of school today and we are heading to Crown Center -- I am going to pick up my packet for the Waddell and Reed 5k, then we are going to check out the Hallmark's Vistor Center.

After we grab some grub at Fritz's Railroad Restaurant, of course.

Fritz's is a bit of a Kansas City institution. In the mid-1960s, Fritz invented (and patented) a food delivery system whereby the food is delivered directly to the table via a car and track system located above the tables. The food stops at the designated table, then is slowly lowered down to the table. You give your order directly to the kitchen using a phone at the table while servers handle the drinks. While Fritz initially resisted the "train theme", eventually he gave in and the rest is history.

I love going to Fritz's and as you would guess, so do the kids. But here's the thing: their food is not all that great. It's not bad, per se, but I would never purposefully go there for eating.  But man, that thrill of the CLUNK! when the metal arm slams down and you know your food is about to make its slow descent??

Folks, Pavlov was not just a man with a dog and bell.

This leads me to wonder -- what other restaurants do I go to for the entertainment value, rather than the food?? Immediately, I thought of two: The Top of the World restaurant in the Stratosphere in Las Vegas and the T-Rex restaurant.

I love, love The Top of the World restaurant.  It is situated 884 feet in the air, sits on the north end of Las Vegas Boulevard and revolves (I seem to remember it completes a revolution every 45 minutes)  The views are stunning and I always try to get our reservations just before the sun is setting.  Watching the sun set behind Red Rock Canyon while the Boulevard comes to life to the south and Fremont Street to the north cranks on their lights never ceases to amaze me.  Don't get me wrong -- the food is actually very good, but it is extremely expensive for what you get.  Truly, you are paying for that gorgeous view.

The T-Rex restaurant is another one that grabs me by the pocketbook.  Holy Zeus!  Their food is outrageously priced and frankly, just plain sucks.  However, the view of my kids' bright, gemstone eyes?

Yeah, you know the rest.

What say you, Gentle Reader? Any restaurants that lure you in using bait other than food?


kreed said...

I think I finally caught on all of your blog posts that I had missed. I, as usual, enjoyed the pictures of your adorable children and explanations of some of your interesting goings-on (flower rug was particularly cool). And as I was drooling over your recipes and thinking I need to print them out and then cook, I decided it would be easier if you just adopted me and let me eat at your house everyday. I hope that works for you...

Olivia said...

I can't remember the name of it now, but it's a combo seafood restaurant and fishing outpost mega-store. The food was fine and they served interesting things like alligator nuggets, but the atmosphere was fun. First looking around the huge store with all it's kitschy items and some really awesome craft art and sculptures. Then the restaurant in the middle of it all with fish tanks around the whole thing.

kreed said...

And to answer your question, that would be "yes". Fritz's and T-Rex are two of those, unfortunately (at least as far as the food is concerned). As was the long-gone Oak Park Rainforest Cafe. As for me, I have two places, both oceanside in Maui that suck me in...Cheeseburger in Paradise and The Seahouse Restaurant. Nothing better than eating a meal while watching humpback whales and dolphins frolic in the water. Heaven.

Unknown said...

It has great food at decent prices but the real reason to go to The Machine Shed in Rockford, Illinois, is because each child gets a good size metal tractor to play with at the table and there is an old tractor in the entry they can play on. And the cinnamon roll is so big it serves 4.