And Then There Was One
I didn’t want to believe the rumors were true, but now I’ve seen the the proof with my own eyes. Sadly, the only remaining Sizzler on the east coast (ok, there is still one in Florida but does that really count?) served its last plate of Malibu Chicken last week.
Even though the past-its-prime chain likely wouldn’t top anyone’s list of favorites–or even crack the top 25–it has carved out a place of honor for me since childhood and took on a new level of prominence after re-experiencing my first Sizzler in decades last August. I talked about it a lot. I still did up until this weekend. I am right now.
Maybe Sizzler just isn’t compatible with the east coast and has nothing to do with changing tastes. After all, it was kind of the original fast casual, the restaurant sector that’s been driving sales year after year. Maybe Sizzler should reposition itself as a heritage brand a la Pendleton or Madewell but you know, for food.
Not even the recent burst of unexpected viral fame was enough to save the brand (though Sizzler’s Instagram followers did jump to 378 from the 48 it had pre-1991 commercial fervor).
It felt like my little secret, not a secret at all, of course, but being located in that quiet, residential patch of Forest Hills not easily accessible by subway, you can almost imagine you’re not in New York City. As I walked down Metropolitan Avenue yesterday, fueled by a daiquiri and negroni (where no one knew it was its namesake week) chased by a tequila shot (all that was missing was whiskey), I decided that a true test of someone’s character would be if they would come to this part of Queens without complaint. It’s as good as a barometer as any, a love of taco, pasta and Jello-laden salad bars no longer necessary.