I woke up feeling not quite right, a malaise I initially attributed to poor sleep and unsettling ’90s boyfriend dreams possibly induced by too much Thai food (Larb Ubol really is the best of the Ninth Street bunch, by the way) and few too many beers at tourist-filled Irish bars near Penn Station. But now I recognize that the unease must have something to do with all of the sudden changes surfacing in the chain restaurant universe.
I got a hint last week when I read about Tony Roma’s (yes, it still exists) adding fish and couscous and Hard Rock Cafe swapping out the processed cheese on its nachos for a cheddar and jack blend. But today we reached a tipping point, and the potato bun-hating, salted caramel-loving millennials have finally won. Since I decided to get out of bed, I’ve discovered the following:
- Ronald McDonald now wears cargo pants. He also got a WSJ stipple portrait.
- I don’t even know where to begin with U.S. Taco Co. Milkshakes with names like the Mexican Car Bomb served in canning jars? The pink day of the dead skull logo? That it’s also an “urban taproom?” (I would probably eat the “Brotherly Love” taco with poblano queso, however.)
- Pizza Hut is opening a coffee offshoot in India a la McCafe. It will be called Hut Cafe. I would like to blame this on millennials but I imagine young folks in Chennai have their own awkward nickname for marketers to use.
- Chili’s is now doing table-side guacamole prep in a molcajete.
- Village Inn, the kind of restaurant where you might eat a Double Decker Club after visiting your dad in medically induced coma (hypothetically, of course), went through a revamp that consists of little more than adding green awnings and an all-day breakfast menu.
Ok, I’m going back to bed now.