Fine Dining - Johnny Rockets & the Heavy Chair Heist

Episode Date: September 26, 2023

The last quarterfinal match of Septemburger has arrived! Johnny Rockets is a genuine-hearted homage to the diners of the 1950s, which Michael would have been all about if this wasn't a "Sports Lounge..." location Garrett details the history of the franchise in this week's Resty Fact Round-Up Septemburger match 4: Umami Burger vs. Johnny Rockets The You-Must Bowl has both Michael & Garrett crying, but insisting they're fine A CHAIR HEIST!! What's Going On with the restaurant's photographer snubbing our Fussy Little Boys? JUB's making meat frisbees. You read that right. Where did he go wrong? I blame his parents Hear what others have to say about this Johnny Rockets location in this week's Yelp from Strangers Additional Voice Actors: Sandy Rose, Nick Adams, & Mindy Brown Music by: James McEnelly (@Ramshackle_Music) Theme Song by: Kyle Schieffer (@JazzyJellyfish) We're on Patreon! Get an extra episode every month (August's episode: Burger King), extended Yelp from Strangers segments every other week, merch discounts, download access to our music including the 7 singles from our Olive Garden musical, and more! Patreon Producers: Sean Spademan, Joyce Van, & Sue Ornelas   Get our 5 Survival Tips for Casual Dining at!   Send us your Johnny Rockets stories at   Follow us on TikTok and Instagram @finediningpodcast   Let us know where we should go next by leaving us a review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, PodcastAddict, Overcast, or wherever you get your podcasts. We read every one!   Next time on Fine Dining: Marie Callender's! A drastic turn away from burgers, the boys head down to an old-fashioned pie shop. Hear what they have to say in two weeks for the penultimate episode of season 1! Ever work at a Marie Callenders? Send your stories to   Totally Not Sponsored By: JUB

Discussion (0)
Starting point is 00:00:00 Hello and welcome to the fine dining podcast, the search for the most mediocre restaurant in America. And now the search for the best chain restaurant burger of our selection in America of our selection. Very specific. We chose eight restaurants that do burgers, you know, as a thing, I guess they're putting forward. Yeah, whether or not it's their main thing It doesn't really matter but this is the eighth of the eight that we have gone to this is the end of all the first round matchups You will be able to hear the semi finals and the finals in an exclusive patreon episode that'll come out tomorrow So go gobble that up and go enjoy that. But tomorrow is not the only fun occasion. Yesterday it was my birthday. Welcome to middle age. Not, well, I guess
Starting point is 00:00:55 30. No, 35 isn't middle age. Screw you. 35's right in the middle of 30. That is true. It is a middle age, but not in your mid 30s. It's not the middle age. It's the middle age of your 30s. Yeah. But yeah, so we are excited. This week we went to Johnny Rockets and as per usual, this is a part of the Septemberer bracket, but it is a full brand new in-depth episode, which means that we are going to dissect it based on its atmosphere, based on its service, and based on its food. Oh, yeah. You didn't say I didn't it, because you know what? We did not do yet.
Starting point is 00:01:29 What, your Michael or Nellis. And your Garrett's work. Yes, those are our names. We did not say our names at all in this intro. Okay, I'm Michael or Nellis. I'm Garrett's work. Yum. Yum.
Starting point is 00:01:42 Okay. Yum. Yum. So, yeah, I guess we've been talking too much Yum. Yum. Okay. Yum. Yum. Yum. Yum. So, yeah, I guess we've been talking too much already. Go check out our Patreon. We've got an exclusive episode there every month, but you can see how this September tournament concludes after we conclude the first round at the end of this episode.
Starting point is 00:02:00 Find dining party of two. But our table is ready. We'll see you on the other side. Walls of growth signs, Mid-Nack, Cowboy Hat, Good Luck Hat, Autograph guitar, Some crap from your city Behold the trust me of mediocrity I'm dining Just fine dining Fine dining Two ledgers on the sign are shining
Starting point is 00:02:37 Neil Plicker ring irregular timing Identify the perfect buy How the ten Fine dining I didn't buy the perfect buy I'm not in I'm dining I'm dining First impressions We had a couple of options We could have gone to Hollywood and Highland
Starting point is 00:02:59 Which is kind of a big shopping center That I actually really like But you have to drive by the Hollywood bull to get there. Which is like a huge concert venue. We're in the middle of summer. And there was a show going on and it's going to take you an hour just to get to Hollywood and to get home.
Starting point is 00:03:15 Even though this like without traffic, it's a 15 minute drive. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Like it's a minimum hour drive with the Hollywood bull going. Or we could go to Universal City Walk. And last time we went to City Walk was for our Margaritaville episode and we got Price Gowd. $30 Parking's fair if you're going to Universal Studios.
Starting point is 00:03:31 What am I saying? Is it fair? I think it's fair if you're going to a park, but I don't know the restaurant. No. Okay, the difference between fair and expected. It is expected when you go to a theme park. It's not fair.
Starting point is 00:03:43 Regardless, this was the choice we were juggling. Do we go pay exorbitant prices for parking and save ourselves some sanity of traffic? Yes, yes, yes is the answer. And we're pleasantly surprised. I think because we showed up after a certain time, it was only $10 for parking. Yeah, so we're thrifty little boys.
Starting point is 00:04:00 Yes, are we thrifty little boys now? Well, I mean, we're both certainly still fussy. I think yes. Being fussy is what led us to even making this consideration. So at the very least let's play that song. Yeah. Both of them are fussy little boys. Both of them are fussy little boys. Baby. It's both of them are fussy little boys. Both of them are fussy little boys. You mentioned it smelled like a swimming pool outside I didn't get any of that
Starting point is 00:04:30 Okay, so this is like the atrium area where Johnny Rockets is It's not like Johnny Rockets smelled like chlorine But there's like one of those little fountain things Like the whack-a-mole equivalent of a water fountain You know what I'm talking about? Kids run through and try and avoid it and like a little light goes off on the opening that the water's popping out of
Starting point is 00:04:50 about a second before the water pops out of it. So it separates the kids. The ones that are gonna like have a future and the ones who won't. And the funny thing is, it really does that because the chlorine level in that water it's gotta be super high if you could smell it. Oh yeah, yeah, if you get hit by it, you're burnt.
Starting point is 00:05:05 So, it smelled like when you walk into a hotel swimming pool. Which honestly, I love pools, I love water parks, I love that smell. For a nostalgic reason, yeah, it just triggers like, oh, I get to go swimming in my head. So, like, I don't hate it, but I noticed it, it was very strong. Johnny Rockett's exterior itself, I loved. It was very extravagant big signage, which is very typical of Universal City Walk. You know, they've got that King Kong, not at Johnny Rockets, but like as you're walking through City Walk, it's just a leather sign every year. And this place definitely doubled down on the outside neon. It felt like straight out of the 50s,
Starting point is 00:05:44 which I know is kind of the theme, but like, yeah, that's the point. Milk shake, burger on a platter. It looked like the Johnny Rockets you'd have in a theme park, which pretty much was. And then off to the side, I noticed a thing that stuck out to me as a little peculiar and ended up shaping the atmosphere
Starting point is 00:05:59 more than I would have expected. But off to the side, there was a sign that said, Johnny Rockets sports lounge. Yes. And I didn't know what to make of that. I didn't know either until I actually started looking up the history of the restaurant. And we'll get into that shortly.
Starting point is 00:06:15 Once we went inside, we did have a you-must-able punishment. Our listener, Gregory Me, sent in a suggestion that you had to go with mascara that was streaming down your face and had to start every interaction with the service staff with I'm fine. I'm fine. I'm fine. I'm fine. Now, because I'm such a wonderful friend, I did this in solidarity with you. Of course, it's better to have two crying men of the table than one.
Starting point is 00:06:47 With mascara streaming down their face. You know what we found out about this? Modern makeup doesn't stream when you get a wet. It is made to be like tear resistant, I guess, or sweat resistant, just moisture resistant, whatever it is. Like, I wanna get the makeup they use at all these reality TV shows that's beautifully streams.
Starting point is 00:07:05 Yeah, you can't find that at the store? It doesn't exist. Sephora is just like, no, you do not get to look like a mess on our watch. And then like, all this stuff I normally have is just like Ben Nye, which is made to not come off. Yeah. So, this one was kind of difficult. One, just to execute.
Starting point is 00:07:23 We kind of had to manufacture the streaks. You brought eyedrops. We'll go into this more later, but needless to say, it is a truly awkward response when you walk into a restaurant. And the hosts say, for how many and you just go, I'm fine. I'm fine. They're just like, I didn't ask if you were okay. I asked you the business question, how many people are in your party? So we went in, got our seat, and before we talk about the actual dining experience and all that, we need to learn about the history
Starting point is 00:07:56 of Johnny Rockets, because this place was not what I expected it to be. And it was on my experience. There was a distinct reason for that. So let's hear about it in this week's RESTY FACT RUNDUP! Okay, so my mom who listens to every episode doesn't really like the whipsound effect that we use for RESTY FACT Roundup, but your mother who does listen to every episode, she loves it. So we gotta split the difference. We're gonna kind of cover the whip up with a different sound.
Starting point is 00:08:24 We're heading into the cover the whip up with a different sound. We're heading into the next round of a tournament. I want like an ESPN style like music stinger to transition us in honor of the sports lounge and the tournament. Yeah. The first Johnny Rockets open here in LA on Melrose between La Brea and Fairfax in 1986. I would not have guessed this to be a local place. Yeah, that's just like down the street from bloodsoes. Huh. Cool.
Starting point is 00:08:54 Unfortunately, the original location closed in 2015. Otherwise, we would have gone to... So I had a bit of a run. Yeah. Alright. The founder, Ron Tidalbomb. Tidalbomb. Tidalbomb. Tidalbomb. What's calling Ron? The founder, Ron Titlebaum. Titlebaum. Titlebaum.
Starting point is 00:09:06 Titlebaum. Titlebaum. What's calling Ron Titlebaum? He modeled the design after the 1940s vintage style malt shops from his childhood. And I think he nailed it historically from all my other experiences at Johnny Rockets but not at the sports lab.
Starting point is 00:09:24 But there's a reason I'll get into that. Okay. Wanting to embrace Americana to the max, he chose the name Johnny Rockets, drawing from Johnny Apple Seed and the Oldsmobile Rocket, a car that began production in 1949. As a musical and design nod to the era, he included small jukeboxes at every table and this idea continued on through future locations. That was my favorite part of Johnny Rockets growing up. They had one by them all by me when I was a kid. And I would love going to that Johnny Rockets. If for no other reason, then they even give you a few quarters when you sit down to put in the jukebox. It's not like, oh, you didn't bring quarters.
Starting point is 00:10:05 Shit outta luck. This was one of the most difficult things he had to do in opening up the restaurant. He had to go and cheer all those. He had literal dumpster diving, just the stuff to find these. Huh. Yeah, it was a great touch.
Starting point is 00:10:18 It's such a good atmosphere addition that, I mean, I'm sad to have not seen it at this one and Other places giving you control of the music when we went to waffle house They had like a little digital jukebox that we could have done but like it was also like club music It's waffle house. Yeah club music's the best music to fight to okay music to fight too. Oh. Title bomb or whatever however you could have to take that guy's name, this is just title bomb.
Starting point is 00:10:50 Just say it different every single time. Tittle bomb owned a small luxury retail empire before Johnny Rockets. So he had stores in Palm Beach and Beverly Hills in the States. What kind of goods was he selling? So luxury clothing clothing fancy suits and Eventually he added on high-end designer denim, but the cool thing is he had 25 stores in Japan. Ah Trendy yeah, so he sold all of his locations in 1984 in order to get the startup cash for Johnny Rockets to fulfill his literal childhood dream of owning a burger chain
Starting point is 00:11:24 That's like cars jukeboxes, yeah! Yeah, yeah. His literal childhood dream was to open a vintage diner. Ever since he was a kid, he always wanted to do this hyper-specific random thing. You know what? I love that. I really do. Like, unironically, I love that. The first location was a roaring success and earned over $1 million in its first year. And this was in 86. That's a lot by today's month. Yeah, I didn't look it up, but that's gotta be at least pretty good.
Starting point is 00:11:58 Yeah, pretty good. Pretty good. So, within that first year, Johnny Rockens opened up in Westwood, Sherman Oaks, and Beverly Hills, and soon there were more franchises in Atlanta, San Francisco, Minneapolis, and Chicago. In 1989, the chain expanded to Tokyo, and in 1990, it invaded London. Invaded? Yes. Oh, it's time other than-
Starting point is 00:12:21 They're not willing. It's like Johnny Rockets shows up on a ship ship at the port and they're just like, hey, it's hamburger diplomacy. They're just shooting cannonballs of meat at Big Ben. Just imagine the sound. A giant cannonball of ground beef would make when it hits a clock tower. The company writes have changed hands a few times over the years, with the notable former owner being Dan Snyder, the controversial and recently ex-owner of the Washington commanders.
Starting point is 00:13:01 Johnny Rockets is currently owned by Fat Brands, which owns Fat Burger, Fizzoli's Hot Dog on a stick, Brestarot chain, Twin Peaks, and many others. That's interesting to me that he owns another burger chain. That like Johnny Rockets and Fat Burger, because they're very different. I love Fat Burger. I don't have it very often, but it's great. But within this ecosystem, although Johnny Rockets obviously was first, the brand fat brands had Fat Burger first before it even purchased Johnny Rockets.
Starting point is 00:13:33 Oh, I see. That makes sense. Currently, there are 74 locations in 21 states. Internationally, Johnny Rockets is on every continent, but Antarctica in Australia, and in 16 other countries. The international location total is also 74. So 74 stateside, 74 outside states. Yeah, you know, I'd be happy if that was my business. So that makes a total of 148 restaurants as of recording, but that's down from 341 in January 2020 and a peak of 385 in 2016. When near their peak,
Starting point is 00:14:15 they were serving over 17 million burgers, 8 million shakes, 8 million pounds of fries, 2 million orders of onion rings, and over 800,000 gallons of ice cream every year. I feel like I went into a food coma hearing you say that. When I was reading it, I had a flashback of eating food at the fair. Ha ha!
Starting point is 00:14:35 Geez, that LA County fair day was just changed our body. I'm a mystery. I feel like I needed an IV drip in the days after just to normalize. You can also get Johnny Rockets at sea as the restaurant is on multiple royal Caribbean cruise ships. Like all of them? Multiple.
Starting point is 00:14:55 Does that count towards the international or national total? No. So there's less than 140. Less time. There was a mention of it. The website said there were around a dozen ships. All right. So we're up to 160 worldwide.
Starting point is 00:15:05 Yeah. 12 Johnny Rockets, you cannot govern. They abide by maritime law, baby. Yeah. I've never mentioned how everyone that worked at Johnny Rockets used to have to stop everything and perform every half hour. You know, this part, I honestly don't remember very well. They told me that they used to do this and I guess I think I have a vague memory of it.
Starting point is 00:15:31 But yeah, I guess, in according to the server, this was no longer the case after enough customer complaints over wait times. Yeah. But as it turns out, this was all part of a 2016 rebranding initiative that included the cleaner and sleeker white walled look that we got at Universal. See, I missed the diner look. Yeah, I do. This was part of removing some of some locations had jukeboxes removed as part of this process. Others did keep them because the chain announced in 2020 that some locations would keep the vintage look and singing employees.
Starting point is 00:16:05 So now you have options. Yes. Not every location sings. The international ones are more likely to do it. I feel like we live around enough of them that we could have gone out and had that experience. I would have preferred it. I think it. If for no other reason, then my nostalgic attachment to the place.
Starting point is 00:16:25 Speaking of nostalgic attachment, you brought up how a thing you always enjoyed was the ketchup art. Not even art, just a little smiley guy. But they did art in one time. In 2013, the Santa Monica Johnny Rockets hired a ketchup artist to paint Mount Rushmore on a canvas at the location to celebrate President's Day. There's a- That's cool. Yeah, and there's a literal human being.
Starting point is 00:16:50 Her job is being a ketchup artist. I want them to do ketchup spin art. That sounds fun. Catch up in mustard or condiment spin art or something, but it's a hot dog on there instead. You're just whipping a hot dog around in circles and like because of the shape, it's just batting ketchup around and split.
Starting point is 00:17:09 It's like helicoptering. It's basically like your lawnmowering over ketchup. Yes, that's unspun. [♪ OUTRO MUSIC PLAYING [♪ Weight times may be longer, but food is theoretically fresher since all burgers and fries are cooked upon ordering. I mean, that's the expectation of a casual dining establishment.
Starting point is 00:17:28 Fast food is where your, you know, your expectations are lowered a little bit. And Johnny Rockets, I feel they've always told that line between they feel fast foodie, but they are technically, by all accounts, a casual dining restaurant. I like to think that corporate put out this statement clarifying their burger and fry process to do that to differentiate. And actually Anthony Bourdain talked a lot of shit about them. Really, he was not a fan of Johnny Rockets at all. Well, he was team in and out.
Starting point is 00:17:59 Like he was very passionately pro in and out. He had a terrible burger at a near empty, Johnny Rocket's location at an airport once. And he called the meal. That's not even a fair comparison. He called the burger soul destroying. I mean, that's a fair statement. Yeah, but anything you eat in an airport
Starting point is 00:18:18 is approaching soul destroying. Yeah. It's not accomplishing it. We all remember my steak from L.A.X. Oh God. That was soul destroying. I did black it out in my mind. I didn't remember it, but now that you said it, uh, gray is not the color. A stake needs to be no, it is not. And one last fact, Johnny Rockets is surprisingly vegan-friendly with two different burger options, impossible, or bokeh. They're amazing fries and tater tots, which are truly vegan,
Starting point is 00:18:51 and even milkshakes made with oat milk and cashew ice cream. I did notice that on the menu, I guess I didn't put together how many items abided by that, but it's also a thing where we're in Southern California, so I get- This is kind of the expectation. Yeah, I didn't expect that that would be a thing about Johnny Rockets as a brand. I was just like, oh, they're doing this for California. And so it seems like it's for the brand.
Starting point is 00:19:14 It is by the brand, but it does vary by location. Like the vegan shakes. I think those are a more of a local thing. And you got the vegan shakes, so we'll hear all about that in a little bit. Well, that does it for this week's Resty Fact Roundup. Yeah! Atmas year.
Starting point is 00:19:33 So there's sports memorabilia in like a glass case in one wall of the restaurant. Like that's their dedication to being a sports lounge, a couple magazine covers. There's a signed, Larry Bird picture. That was cool. There's everything's autographed, there's a scholarship,
Starting point is 00:19:50 a championship club, boxing gloves, baseball. It's just like, oh, name a sport. Yeah, that's a main one. Throw something from it in the case. That's your sports lounge for you. Let's put a bunch of TVs on the wall and have some signed memorabilia and call it a day. And it works. I mean, not in terms of my enjoyment, but in terms of getting
Starting point is 00:20:10 people in, people go to hooters for sports, people go to Buffalo Wildlings for sports. It's not that difficult. It is a Traxxa crowd. It really confused me as this restaurant is located right next to a literal NBC universal sports bar. It's next to a restaurant that's based on that exact premise and done accurately. Yeah. I mean, at some point, it's like, don't try and compete
Starting point is 00:20:36 when you could instead differentiate. Yeah, it's like Johnny Rockets is fine with their vintage diner feel. We like it. That's why we go there. That's what we expect. If we want a sports bar, we'll just go to the literal sports bar next door. Right.
Starting point is 00:20:50 Well, this was a surprise sports bar. I didn't even know I was getting a sports bar. They sprung that on us. Ooh, they sprung a sports bar on. Hey, have you ever wanted dancing employees in jukeboxes? May I interest you in sports bar instead? Yeah, because I imagine the same clientele wants both of those things. It's like when Amazon suggests a product that's nothing like what you want.
Starting point is 00:21:13 Hey, we didn't have AA batteries. Would you like watch batteries? What? Yeah, no. I need a AA. The chairs were like impossibly heavy. Like we went to sit, you just pull the chair up by the back and it's just like super screechy and I was just like, oh no, I have all this attention on me and then I realized there's mascara streaming down our faces.
Starting point is 00:21:37 So we're already gonna get some looks. Yeah. So what the hell is a giant chair screech? It's like they don't want people to steal them. You're in Universal City Walk, like you would have to go to great lengths to get that chair out of the restaurant through the courtyard into the parking lot.
Starting point is 00:21:55 Like it's so, what are you thinking right now of how to execute a chair heist from Johnny Rockets? Yes, we actually were seated right by an exit. The Getaway vehicle. All right, we're renting a van and going back to this Johnny Rockets. Yeah, we're gonna get one of those chairs. Ha ha ha! Gentlemen, and pineapple, you were brought in for this mission
Starting point is 00:22:20 because you were the best of the best. You're the only man, and pineapple, with unquestioned access to every chain restaurant in America. because you are the best of the best. You are the only men and pineapple with unquestioned access to every chain restaurant in America. Uh, who are you? Who I am is an important. What is important is that my employer will line your pockets handsomely with one million Swedish Chrono.
Starting point is 00:22:38 Weird. Okay, go on. Chairs, gentlemen. We want the chairs from Johnny Rockets. They're magnificent pieces of construction and we want to know what makes them rock. So you three have been brought in. Juicy Jr. you're the Getaway driver. Can do! Hey, thanks for making my son from episode three feel included.
Starting point is 00:22:58 That's nice of you. What do you have for Garrett and I? Michael, the brawn. What do you have for Garrett and I? Michael the Braun. Garrett put on this mess, Garrett, and pretend to cry. No one fucks with a grown man and teeters. Okay, here's the plan. University City Walk has a roundabout with access to the back of Johnny Lockins.
Starting point is 00:23:19 Juicy, that's where you wait. Be careful. Security is on the lookout for loiterers, so you'll want to wait for my signal. Happy, happy. Garrett, your face will serve as a distraction. Don't say anything other than letting them know you're okay. Uh, sir, are you crying? I'm fine.
Starting point is 00:23:41 Perfect, just like that. Michael, this is where you come in. When they're not looking, wait, why do you have that garalon too? What are you doing? I want to be pretty too. Fine. Ugh, get caught.
Starting point is 00:23:55 I won't. I'm sorry, put your hand up if you've done a heist before. Oh, just me, that's what I thought. Juicy's hand is up too. Juicy doesn't even have a hand. Then why do you have him driving? I'm just waiting for the signal. Never doubt a magic pineapple.
Starting point is 00:24:11 Okay Michael, grab the chair and run. In three, two, one. Put that chair down. You! Put it down. Right now. Holy shit, the thing is heavy. Here's a problem.
Starting point is 00:24:27 You have to be able to carry it. Get out of there. I can't. I am artisty exes right there. Broody alarms. Muscle your way to juicy. I got it. Can you get out of there?
Starting point is 00:24:38 Oh shit, they're closing in! That's perfect! There it is! Pause the version! Oh geez, is that guy crying? Sir, are you okay? I'm fine. It worked!
Starting point is 00:25:02 Where's Juicy? I got you, Pa. Wait, where's Carrot? I'm not leaving without him. There's no time! It's fine. It's fine. Wait, the Johnny Rocket security guards were armed?
Starting point is 00:25:25 There's no time! I already got away! Oh, right. Sorry. Audio medium. Anyways, about that money. Yes, one million Swedish croat. Only like $90,000. You stole a chair! Yeah, but it was difficult.
Starting point is 00:25:46 I could only leave it. I'm keeping the chair. No! Okay, don't do anything stupid. Tell me who you work for and I'll bring you the chair. Who could possibly need such a sturdy chair? I work for IKEA. Ah, okay, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Starting point is 00:26:04 You could learn a thing or two with this here take it I'll even throw in some meatballs if you'd like. Yeah, I get a cinnamon roll at least I Keeer really only covers the meatballs take the meatballs Come on, you know you want them come on You know you want him? Come on! Come on, come on, come on. Ah, fun. You're... AHHHHH! It was so clear based on the way we looked,
Starting point is 00:26:34 because of our you mustful punishment that we were seated out of the way. Yeah, they shoved us right in the corner. Yes, they did. And there was no song and dance. There was no, let's pretend you're gonna get into the main area. It was, we kinda have this wing and an emergency exit. Here you go. You'll be perfect for here.
Starting point is 00:26:54 Right next to the literal screaming baby. Screaming babies annoy me. Unless their screams are epic. So epic that you don't know if it's an animal or a human. I swear, dude. Did someone bring their cockatoo in here? I know. I love it.
Starting point is 00:27:13 Okay. I genuinely enjoy the sound of screaming babies when I think it's a bird. I'm like, who brought a bird here? It's not annoying, then. It's a mystery. Yeah. It was just a lot of noises, a lot of censor. I mean, the music wasn't like crazy loud or anything,
Starting point is 00:27:29 and the noise from other patrons wasn't too bad, but lots of kids, yeah, I mean, you're at Universal, it makes sense, but yeah, that one kid screams, it stuck out, the chair screeches, it stuck out. 50s music, I did enjoy that. I do love me some... When your music matches the theme of your restaurant, like we've gone places where it's the playlist makes no sense for what they are, that was not the case here.
Starting point is 00:27:54 No. Oh, they had a sign that kept recurring that mentioned original. Stay original. They had one not many earn the right to be called the original, even fewer keep it. They didn't invent hamburgers, so I don't know what this original talk is. Were you able to find anything on that? There's nothing original.
Starting point is 00:28:12 I don't wanna say there's nothing original about Johnny Rockets. It's the whole Files-y. But the entire thing is a reference, which by nature is not original. It is a reference, but part of the goal for the reference scene was to do it authentically. Well, I mean, if the founder, and he did, because he noticed, there was, he did it
Starting point is 00:28:30 by like the kitschy fake version of it. He wanted the authentic experience. Like, we're actually thrifting for Duke boxes. Yeah. Yeah. And I get it. Mr. Tattlebaum. Man, Tittlebaum's got it going on.
Starting point is 00:28:44 Yeah. So there was just all this talk about the original, but I'm like, I don't understand it. You don't have this reputation, so why are you pushing it? No one's like hyping up Johnny Rockets as that. I think Johnny Rockets could make an argument for calling itself the original vintage diner of chain restaurants that have modeled themselves in this manner. They were an early adopter. I just wish that they had said the original
Starting point is 00:29:12 and then put a noun after it. What are you the original of? I think this vagueness and the mystery behind it is eating at me. I just want to know what you're claiming. Yeah, I don't know. It's weird. Now, they did have a photo lady. It's been a while since we've encountered someone who goes around and takes your table's photo and then brings you back little souvenir photos. Has it been since Rainforest? It's been since medieval times and then before that, I think it was Rainforest Cafe. So it's not often that you get this, but of a Johnny Rockets of all places. Yeah. To have, like, no one's dressing up to go to Johnny Rockets. Why do you want this immortalized?
Starting point is 00:29:53 Why do you want to remember that you were, and I think you brought up the point of, well, you're in Universal. Yeah. It's just another money-trappy Universal. You know there are a bunch of tourists here, so here's another thing to buy. I'm just at a burger restaurant. Like, it's not even, sorry, the original burger restaurant. But I noticed the photo lady, I don't know if she just
Starting point is 00:30:17 was picking out marks. And she was like, oh, they look like they would buy a photo. But man, did she avoid us? Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. I mean, we had the mascara streaming down our faces. And she probably heard some of the, it's fine. It's fine, I'm fine. And at the very end, like I'm kind of bummed
Starting point is 00:30:40 because I think the fact that we have mascara, now keep in mind, because all of our interactions were with our server. I don't like taking video of that, because for social media, we usually post all our UMUSB all stuff, but I didn't want to involve a person who didn't sign up to be a part of this.
Starting point is 00:30:57 So we didn't get a lot of footage, so to speak, of our UMUSB all stuff, and to have it forever immortalized by this photo taker would have been awesome. That would have gone right on the Chachki. Would have gone right on the Chachki, just like our original photo lady photo from episode one, Outback, and she avoided us, and at the very end, I make eye contact with her. We're literally about to leave.
Starting point is 00:31:26 There's your haven't stood up. She's got your eyes. Yeah, but it was almost in like a, you know that look you give someone like, oh, I'd like to be, you know, hi me, pick me, pick me, that kind of look. And she came right over and turned to the table across the aisle from us in the most deliberate snub that I have maybe ever experienced in my life as she takes their picture and it makes me wonder Garrett what's going on over there Garrett what is going on over there?
Starting point is 00:32:06 Why were we snubbed? It's clear she just got out of a polyamorous relationship with two men that cried all of the time. What? She didn't want to be reminded of her beautiful life that she built with two loving men that just came crashing down all around her. I think, you know, I think you're on to something, Garrett. When the loves of your life are prone to crying and mascara, and two men wander into your place of work and have the audacity to remind you of that pain that you endured, that heartbreak when they decided they just
Starting point is 00:32:54 wanted to be together and they didn't need a third. Yeah, it's almost like she made eye contact with you in part of her soul laid up. She's like, this memory is- This is my love, this is my life, but she came back. I contact with you in part of her soul laid up. She's like, all these memories came flooding that. This is my love, this is my life, but she came back. She's like, I can't face them. I can't. They're gone.
Starting point is 00:33:11 They left me. They left the lifestyle. They left polyamory because all they found is they just need to cry together. They had each other's shoulders to cry on. It is weird to try and do a three-wake shoulder cry. You don't want to be the third wheel of crying. And she was born without tear ducts. She's like my mom's dog. Oh, poor Bella. Yeah, we reminded this woman of her recent past, the loves that she lost. was the point. I think that was the point. I think that was the point.
Starting point is 00:33:48 I think that was the point. I think that was the point. I think that was the point. I think that was the point. I think that was the point. I think that was the point. I think that was the point. I think that was the point.
Starting point is 00:34:04 I think that was the point. I don't want to remind anyone of their trauma. No. But look at us. I'm sure our own appearances just remind someone of trauma at some point in their lives. Not if we're telling them I'm fine, I'm fine. Believe us, take us at our word. We're fine. We're fine dining. We do need to rate the atmosphere. We got to give it some thumbs. I thought this was a pretty just, it was there. I expected a thumbs up atmosphere, I expected the nostalgic, jukeboxes, the dancing, the, you know, the stuff that we used to get,
Starting point is 00:34:34 knowing that they had them and didn't get them, was a little bit of a bummer, because yeah, I do like that, that diner vibe, so I'm just gonna go a neutral zero thumbs, but that is a disappointment from my expectation. I'm with you on that. From the outside, this building looked amazing. It was in the architectural style,
Starting point is 00:34:51 the rest of Amar, and this was done up extra with more neon, more flair, more malt, like kitchier. I'm more kitchier. Yes, me too. And we walk inside, and we just get generic sains on white walls and some memorabilia and TVs. Not what I expected. Nothing wrong with what we got.
Starting point is 00:35:12 Right, but there's also nothing right with what we got. I feel like it's like the outside set an expectation that this could be as fun and well-decorated as a rainforest cafe. And then you walk inside and you get a loobies. You get like a lifeless cafeteria. Not that this was lifeless, but it was definitely not what the outside set up the expectation of the...
Starting point is 00:35:34 Exactly. It was just a disconnect. Zero thumbs. Zero thumbs. Surface. This is an interesting one because we kind of put them in a tough position with our appearance, with our crying, with our, I'm fine, I'm fine. And like you were going for it. I commit, you were trying to come in.
Starting point is 00:35:56 Not just, well, here's the thing, the challenge stipulated that we had to look that way and say I'm fine, I'm fine. It did not stipulate the emotion behind it. There is nothing but too much in me. I have the too much gene and I'm gonna commit to everything. Yeah, so you went melodramatic. I went, well, I'm technically fine. Also, this was your you mustful punishment. Like I was doing it in solidarity.
Starting point is 00:36:23 So, you know, there was no obligation on me and might I remind you and our listeners, at a future date, I will have a You Must Bowl punishment that I can drag you into with me. Oh, I am looking forward to this and then taking your You Must Bowl punishment and turning it up to a 20. Great.
Starting point is 00:36:43 Great, great. Part of this for me was, I wanted to see if I could cry on command. And I think I got there by the end of it. You were dousing your eyes and drops, but there were some real tears. As a reaction to dropping stuff onto your eyeball. Same thing. I was in the right emotional frame of mind. Well, I mean, you're like Bruce Banner, but instead of angry, you're just, I'm always sad. Yeah. No, I am always
Starting point is 00:37:12 sad. You're the incredible sulk. Yes. But yeah, so we had that first interaction with the hosts who were having none of it and seated us in the corner out of the way because we were just dripping from our eyes with mascara and we sat down, our server comes over and boy is she avoiding eye contact. Oh, yes, because we're doing it, we're like, I'm fine, I'm fine.
Starting point is 00:37:42 And I don't like messing with people. I mean, I'll mess with you. You can mess with me, but I don't like other people being scooped into the whirlpool of our dumbassery. And I didn't wanna make this a thing where she was dreading, you know, I didn't wanna cheddar situation where the server just kinda disappears
Starting point is 00:38:04 because we're awkward. I could tell the same thing happened at Twin Peaks until we let her in on it. So I was like, all right, I got to break this tension. I got to say something and I'm just like, hey, we lost a bet. That's my code word. That's my dog whistle for you mustful. I'm not going to explain to them what the you mustful is. I just say, hey, we lost a bet. Or actually, no, what I said is, I'm fine, I just say, hey, we lost a bet, or actually know what I said is, I'm fine, I'm fine. Okay, we lost a bet because again, I have to stipulate. Every interaction with the server has to begin with,
Starting point is 00:38:32 I'm fine, I'm fine. Once she got it, her mood shift was so severe. Oh my God, it was. She was cool to us, she told us some stories of other times she had seen people crying. She was, she told us some stories of other times she had seen people crying. Like, this is not an uncommon occurrence. And that's kind of what made me feel like,
Starting point is 00:38:51 oh yeah, it's kind of, it's really awkward that we're doing this then because some people do go out to eat to either get their mind off of something that is difficult for them or whatever. Yeah, I know. Everyone has their cry meal. Don't you have a weekly cry meal a weekly?
Starting point is 00:39:07 The incredible soul strikes again Sometimes you just got a sit in front of your TV have your pasta on a TV tray and ball But yeah, I would say the attitude shift was way too much shift was way too much. This is way too much. We have to give it this award, but I get it. I'm on her side with this. There are some interactions, like most of mine with you, where it's just like, I just got to get through.
Starting point is 00:39:41 And then there are other interactions where you're like, oh, they're cool and I'll embrace it. And I could definitely see. She was pushing through. You could see the moment that it went from one to the other with us. And while I totally get it, we got to kind of just mention it, call it out, and address the fact that it was in fact way too much. in fact way too much. I do not know. Now all that said, I think she was a fine waitress. I don't appreciate the, oh, will they're crying or whatever.
Starting point is 00:40:15 So I'm gonna, I mean, give them their space, I get it's respectful, but it definitely seemed like more of a, I don't want to go back. You know, I wouldn't either. Yeah. But I mean, I was still getting that feeling from it. Yeah, it's just very like, let's get this over with body language from her. Much more chill once we explained it.
Starting point is 00:40:34 She was a perfectly adequate server. Yeah, no, she was friendly. She told us stories once we built up this rapport, but there is a but. There's always a but. I asked for a separate plate for ketchup, because the tater tots and the fries were served on plates that didn't really have extra space on them
Starting point is 00:40:52 to pour sauce or whatever. But I was kind of trying to lead her to bring us smiley face ketchup. And she did. She brought us the extra plate, and I had the little ketchup at the smiley face. And I don't know if she could tell that I was fishing for that,
Starting point is 00:41:08 but I do feel like that should have been part of the presentation. Like I feel like that should have been the default. Here's a thing to dip your, yeah, like that should go with it, like the name writing it hooters or macaroni grill. Yeah, I was looking from a smiley ketchup and knowing that they still do it
Starting point is 00:41:24 just based on the way that she brought it out Made me a little bummed that we had to kind of prompt for it. Oh the two Crying adult men need of their smiley catch up. We want a reason to smile. We want to be happy dammit. Bring us some joy So zero thumbs overall for the service. I thought it was, I thought it was fine, but it wasn't great, it wasn't bad, it was fine. Same here, zero thumbs for flying service. And I wanna clarify, she was really nice,
Starting point is 00:41:56 she did her job well. Sure, yeah. In my mind, you need to do something special to go up or down. Yeah, I mean, just some people, there's also like that charismatic connection that they make with you. Just the ability to read someone gets you thumbs.
Starting point is 00:42:12 That is the first read was stay away. Yeah, gosh, we're such red flags. Yeah. Food. Yum. The number eight seed in our September burger bracket. Garrett, we tried three burgers here for the September bracket, a basic burger,
Starting point is 00:42:34 and then two other burgers just in case they move on in the bracket, let's start where the tournament starts. Yep, with the original. As always, we start with the most basic, and if it has the word original in it, that's a clue to draw us a clear. Yeah, so per Septemberer rules, all round one matchups,
Starting point is 00:42:55 hit the most basic burger of each place against each other. To be able to fly, you gotta walk first. And you could just throw someone if you're strong enough in their small enough. That's true. Get sliders, get white castle. Yeah. You can just chuck them like a frisbee and a meat frisbee. I hate that combination of words. Hey, man, chuck it like a meat frisbee. I'm thinking of a product here. A meat frisbee.
Starting point is 00:43:21 Just a frisbee that has a brown beef. Well, not made of just has the print of one. No, I want it literally made of meat. It'll fall apart after one throw. Okay, Frisbee made of beef jerky. No one is making that. And now a word from our totally not made up sponsor. Oh, challenge accepted.
Starting point is 00:43:41 Hi there folks, it's your favorite sponsor job. I'm back here to take on the challenge of a meat frisbee! Here it's suggested jerky or ground beef, which doesn't sound aerodynamic, but I've got some guys in the lab and we're gonna figure it out! We're gonna put all sorts of adhesives to keep that meat together and flat so that when you throw it through the air it doesn't wobble. And with all the experimental glues we're working with, we will have to be compliant with California Prop 65, which warns this product contains a chemical known to the state of California to cause cancer, but it's just small doses. And whatever you do, despite the fact that it's made out of beef products, do not eat it. This is not an on-the-go snack. This isn't go-gurt.
Starting point is 00:44:26 The job's gonna figure it out. Get you a frisbee made of beef. You can go to the park with your friends. Just make sure it's not a dog park. Because those fuckers will go crazy. So if you want this product, call me. Not on a phone. Paint your belly like a die-hard sports fan
Starting point is 00:44:41 and go to the bleachers of your nearest ultimate frisbee game. And I'll find you. I'll be the guy packing Bologna and beef jerky into a disc-like shape with rubber cement. Okay, bye! So we have the number one seed, umami burger, against the number eight seed Johnny Rockets. Now, umami's first round burger ended up scoring 6.87 when we averaged my burger rating with your burger rating. Johnny Rockets has to beat a 6.87 for a massive upset. The number 8 seed going over the number 1 seed in the tournament.
Starting point is 00:45:18 Let's be honest. Umami, despite being the number 1 seed, they did a brand overhaul, changed their ingredients, and they got that seeding based on the best burger that we've ever had there, but boy have they fallen. So 6.87, very beatable, very beatable. So let's go into talking about the original and see, can Johnny Rockets pull off the upset? So the original burger at Johnny Rockets comes with lettuce, tomato, chopped onion, relish, pickles, mustard, and mayo.
Starting point is 00:45:48 That is the original. And I'm gonna be honest, it was okay. It was very okay. Was it 6.87 okay? Was it better than umami okay? Well let's see. Yeah, it was nothing nothing spectacular but I genuinely enjoyed everything together I figured the hole was greater than the sum of its parts I think I felt the
Starting point is 00:46:12 exact opposite I felt that they didn't meld together for me into something that I it didn't set my world ablaze it set my world a meh like yeah it was better than your perfect, like whatever the five point double O burger is out of 10. This is better than that, but I only have it at a five point eight six. So unless you have it at a seven point eight seven, this isn't advancing. Yeah, no. This would be like a decent fourth of July backyard burger. Yes, actually it would be an impressive backyard burger. Yeah, and I'm gonna give this a 5.91 which is still good, but that averages out to 5.89
Starting point is 00:46:58 That falls quite a bit short Umami burger advances to the semi finals where it will go up against outback steakhouse. Ooh, here's a match up. So outback, they have the Blooming Burger, umami bacon ranch burger. So if you listen to the picture on episode, you will get to hear how that match up goes and you'll get to hear the whiskey bacon burger from Applebees go up against the Hawaiian burger from islands. And then we will resolve those matches and see who gets the finals, who gets the glory, who is the best burger of the eight that we chose in all of chain restaurants.
Starting point is 00:47:41 And then we'll, and then next year we'll do another eight. And we will just keep expanding this and we'll always put the reigning champion against that year's winner. Yes. So Johnny Rockets, not advancing in the September tournament, but that doesn't mean we didn't order two more burgers. We still got two more burgers.
Starting point is 00:47:58 So let's talk about them. The next one we got was the smokehouse. Delicious bacon, I thought. Oh yeah. I thought the bacon really worked. This burger was definitely quite a step up from the original for me. Still not amazing, but we're now in like
Starting point is 00:48:11 respectable burger territory. I went 6.59 on the smokehouse. Now the smokehouse had apple would smoked bacon, crispy sourdough onion rings, and smokehouse barbecue ranch on it. I liked it, wasn't in love with it, but I liked it. It was fine, but it really felt like a fast food burger to me. Like, I could get this at Burger King.
Starting point is 00:48:34 So that's kind of the thing I notice about Johnny Rockets is while they are a casual dining restaurant, their food is approaching fast food tier, and I think that's why they ended up the number eight seed. Yeah, here's my note on this. Your food is approaching fast food tier, and I think that's why they ended up the number eight seed. Yeah, here's my note on this. Feels like a fast food burger and not like Dan's. So for those of you who don't know, Dan's hamburgers is my favorite burger in the world.
Starting point is 00:48:56 It's like a fast food diner, essentially, in Austin, Texas. There's only a few locations. Even their grease is scrumptious. I go back there every time I go to Austin, and I know that I love it, but every time I'm about to eat it, I'm like, this can't actually be as good as I remember. And every time it is, I don't know what it is, but just for a burger that has found the answer
Starting point is 00:49:24 to unlocking my taste buds, Dan's hamburgers in Austin, Texas, I have yet to find a contender that beats it. At least in the fast food, diner burger style. I've had gourmet burgers. Yeah, that's a different one. It's literally a different type of thing. And I mean, we are pitting them against each other in some cases in this tournament, but I do kind of view them as very distinct styles of burger. So if you have to score the smokehouse where you're looking, I'm going to go lower than
Starting point is 00:49:51 you. I can only go 5.42 on this. It wasn't bad, but this was worse than the original. This was worse than the original. I think this was due to a case of not living up to expectations. Like there's bacon, there are onion rings, there's barbecue sauce on this. This should be amazing. And if anyone's the expert of not living up to expectations, that is me.
Starting point is 00:50:13 And then our third burger, we got the spicy Houston. The spicy Houston has spicy jalapenos, lettuce tomato, and they're smoking Chipotle ranch. Why do you sound like a cliche Italian man when you say spicy jalapenos? This is the spicy jalapeno, because I'm a quarter Italian. Oh yeah, you are. Yeah, I'm like a quarter of everything.
Starting point is 00:50:34 Name like eight things, I'm a quarter of all those things. Oh, speaking of a quarter Italian and Italians, I just found out a Mario fact. The most American Italian of all time. You know, like how he's like, it's a me, Mario. Yeah. It's not literally, it's a me, it's, it's sumi, which means super. Is that like Japanese for?
Starting point is 00:50:56 Yeah, super. It's like close to the Japanese word for super, so he's literally, he's like a Pokemon. He's just saying his name instead of introducing him. Super Mario in Japanese. Yeah. Garrett, thanks for teaching me something today. I mean, you taught me rusty facts as well, but this, I didn't expect to learn.
Starting point is 00:51:14 Just found this out yesterday. That's cool. So the spicy Houston, I thought everything mixed together well in this one. I thought I had a good blend of burger and spice. I went pretty high on this. I went 7.41 on the spicy Houston. This was this is Johnny Rock. It's best effort of the three by far in my opinion. And it's a pretty respectable burger. It hangs with other like second round burgers that we have in this tournament. So how'd you feel about it? You mentioned that all of the flavors
Starting point is 00:51:46 meld together into one cohesive thing that you like. Uh huh. And I agree, all of the flavors do meld together, but into mildly spiced rubber. That's what I got out of it. I completely got a unified flavor, but that was a rubber to me. 4.01.
Starting point is 00:52:04 Wow, so we were over three points apart on this one. Yeah. Okay. Well, that's Johnny Rockets burgers, but that's not all we got. We got sides, we got shakes, and we got chicken wings. Yeah, how about those wings? They just called them rocket wings. We got the Buffalo sauce.
Starting point is 00:52:21 They had a great kick. Yeah, I was very impressed with that. I was happy with these. I went seven out Buffalo sauce. They had a great kick. Yeah, I was very impressed with that. I was happy with these. I went seven out of 10. They weren't great. I would get them again at a Johnny Rockets. It wasn't like a, I tried them out of curiosity.
Starting point is 00:52:33 Great, glad I had them. Never gonna get it again. Like I would actually order these again. I don't think I would. I'll still stick to wing places for my wings. Sure, they're not bringing me to a Johnny Rockets, but if I'm at a Johnny Rockets, I'll be like, yeah, anyone want to get anyone want to split some wings? I'll go 6.0.
Starting point is 00:52:50 Even the fries. Oh, man. The tater tots. Those were good. This is where they were flying high, man. These fries, I like finding out that they're vegan and impressed me, but like whatever oil they used, it worked. I went eight and a half out of 10 for these fries. These are up there in the fry game. Yeah, I loved how crispy they stayed on the exterior while they still remained fluffy inside, but they weren't overly thick. Yeah.
Starting point is 00:53:16 Nine out of 10 fries for me. Ooh, yeah, yeah, yeah. These weren't islands fries. Like to me, islands, like they're top in the game on fries, but these were good. Like, they're like contenders. They're pillows fries. Yeah like they're top in the game on fries, but these were good like they're like contenders. Hello fries. Yeah, they're good. These are very good.
Starting point is 00:53:29 The Tater tots, I didn't have them far behind. I went eight out of 10 on the Tater tots. Very, very good texture to the crisp like you bite in. Not too hard, not too soft. Doesn't just turn into mush immediately. Doesn't struggle against you. And I think Tater Tot texturexture is a hard thing to master in it.
Starting point is 00:53:48 It is. It felt like they got it here. And what really surprised me later that night, I had like a midnight snack reheat of them. Oh, that's right, you took them home. And they were just as crispy and good reheated. Yeah. So yeah, I'm going 8.5 out of 10 on these.
Starting point is 00:54:01 These were great. I am now going to be a vocal supporter of Johnny Rockets side offerings. Oh yeah. And then dessert, which we actually had first because it's a beverage, we got milkshakes. They have a pretty extensive milkshake menu. You got the vegan milkshake strawberry, right?
Starting point is 00:54:18 Yes. And I got the Hershey's chocolate peanut butter shake. This tasted to me like my preferred go-to ice cream at Cold Stone. Now in the ice cream game, I'm a Cold Stone fan. Okay. That's their my choice. And I get the peanut butter cup perfection there
Starting point is 00:54:36 where they literally like smash a Reese's cup and some raw peanut butter and some chocolate sauce into chocolate ice cream, mix it up. It's a scoop. It's not like you're not gonna go crazy overboard in one scoop for the ice cream. It sounds like diabetes. It is.
Starting point is 00:54:51 But I'm going on, I ran 13 miles last week. I'm working it off. Yeah, I'm getting the evil on him. I'm gonna run out of my diabetes. You don't have diabetes. I just, I don't. And I am running from it. You guess it is chasing me. The only way you can escape your diabetes. It is chasing me. How would you rate it? I liked it. I'm in a solid eight out of ten. I mean, I have a soft spot
Starting point is 00:55:17 for sweets, so just desserts by nature are kind of on a skewed scale and tend to go towards higher ratings for me because they just just they get me desserts get me So eight out of ten and now my vegan strawberry shake. Yeah, tell me about it It tasted amazing. It was a really strong Oh, right strawberry flavor. Yes, so instead of regular milk It was oat milk and instead of ice cream. It was a cashew ice cream I couldn't tell the difference really this tasted like an amazingly I couldn't tell the difference. Really?
Starting point is 00:55:42 This tasted like an amazingly frothy creamy milkshake, except it was a little warm for my liking. And I wonder if that's due to the lack of the cream because of mine? Well, actually, I did have the note in mind that it's not as cold as it should be, but I also brain freeze easily, so I'm okay with a slightly not warm milkshake by any means, but a slightly less cold milkshake. I think a frigid nature is necessary to a milkshake. Like this taste wise, this is an 8 out of 10 milkshake for me. But its lukewarm temperature took it down to a 6.
Starting point is 00:56:14 Down to a 6? Yeah, that was a big drop. A drink of that consistency. Do you want to drink that at a lukewarm temperature? I never mind it. It's like when ice cream melts, it's physically gross to me to drink that at a lukewarm temperature? I never mind it. Like when ice cream melts, it's physically gross to me to drink warm ice cream. It's just, oh.
Starting point is 00:56:30 Oh. It's the same taste without any of the pain to my head. So yeah, I'm here for melted ice cream. Not warm. Okay. Mind you, not warm. I definitely have strong temperature preferences on everything I eat.
Starting point is 00:56:47 If it's supposed to be hot, I want it hot. If it's supposed to be cold, I want it cold. I want things to exhibit the best qualities of it. Yeah. Like, if this is a milkshake, I want it to be the coldest milkshake. Then to me, the temperature, I'm way more bothered by something that's supposed to be hot, not being hot than I am something that's supposed to be cold, not being hot than I am something that's supposed to be cold,
Starting point is 00:57:06 not being cold. Okay. That's kind of where I stand. Like, I don't want to be served a lukewarm burger. I'm fine being served lukewarm milkshake. Like, I just am, because again, there is literal pain affiliated with too cold of a drink for me.
Starting point is 00:57:20 Overall, I did enjoy the food experience at Johnny Rockets. I am gonna go one thumb up on the food. It's not the most enthusiastic one thumbs up, but I felt that they did enough to get out of that zero thumb range for me. For me, this was just a lot of just, okay, I was offended by this meal. It was safe and non-offensive. My buzzwords. Your buzzwords. I'll go back. I won't complain.
Starting point is 00:57:49 This will satisfy my hunger, but it won't give me memories. So I'm going to give this food zero thumbs up. Alright, so you went zero thumbs across the board. Yes, I did. We're going to have a pretty mediocre place for you. Oh, we are. Alright, well, we got to put all of these considerations into a score, but before we do, we gotta go to Yelp and see what other people
Starting point is 00:58:10 are saying about Johnny Rockets in this week's Yelp from Strangers. We need a little, a little, a little, a little, you're from Strangers. A one star, two star, three star, four by eye. So get a little yelp, a little yelp from strangers. Give us those complaints while you literally white and die. Yelp! This is Yelp from Strangers, our segment where we go to Yelp and read out our favorite one, two, three, four, and five star Yelp reviews from the very restaurant that we went
Starting point is 00:58:52 to. Can I start us off? Yeah. Five star review. This is a five star review nine months ago from Melody C. Delicious shakes came to walk around and take pictures, needed parking validation, and wow, just wow. The shakes here were a great decision to sit and talk while waiting for rush hours to end.
Starting point is 00:59:16 It was delicious. We'll definitely come back again for shakes. Plus, our server was really cool. Great experience. I love that this person is like, kind of trying to be like, I did not wanna be at this Johnny Rock. I'm waiting out traffic and it's here. I guess this is better than waiting through traffic. Yeah, there just seemed to be no enthusiasm
Starting point is 00:59:41 for the fact that she was here, but really enthusiastic for she stumbled into something that she was ready to hate kind of. Like it seems like a validation too. It's like a five star review based on the whiplash of expecting to be upset. Yeah. Yeah, I mean that's what it is.
Starting point is 01:00:01 It's like, oh, it way over delivered on my expectations. In five stars. I expected gridlock traffic. It wasn't that, five stars. Yeah. And then they do include a picture of... Huh. Garrett, use zoom in and describe what you see.
Starting point is 01:00:19 A bunch of older women who could be related to me holding up their shakes. Like, cheering their shakes in an otherwise empty restaurant while clearly their really cool server is the one taking the picture. Also, one of the women is mostly cropped out and it made me laugh. You know what? No. It would be racially appropriate for me to make a joy-luck club joke here.
Starting point is 01:00:44 But I probably shouldn't. I feel like by saying that you already are. One Star Review. Let's go to the other end of the spectrum. Willie M. has a one star review from 9 months ago. From the start, horrible. The host is seemed angry. Attitude was 100% bad.
Starting point is 01:01:07 Tost menus at us. Will not come again. Will not tip. Older Hispanic guy with glasses. He was the hostess and waitress. I also love that he included a picture that is also just of a empty... Like, there's no one. There's no, what is he showing us?
Starting point is 01:01:28 There's nothing in this photo. It's literally just, I'm upset about being here. Here's an empty photo of nothing. And also he's a man that only knows the feminine gendering of hostess and waitress. Well, because men can't be those things. No, no, not at all. I do love tossed menus at us.
Starting point is 01:01:47 Yeah. I am certain they didn't. It's probably a thing where they sat down at the table and they dropped the menu on the table and then the menu has like that acoustic, like smack with the table and then other people interpret that as attitude. I'm just picturing an older Hispanic guy
Starting point is 01:02:04 with glasses in a dress, daintily flopping menus at these patrons. Thanks, Willie M. Yeah. You can go download our full Yelp from Stranger's segment at our Patreon. The link for that is in the description of this episode or you can go to slash find outting podcast and we're now offering a one week free trial.
Starting point is 01:02:24 So what do you have to lose? Go check it out. People haveing podcast and we're now offering a one week free trial so what do you have to lose go check it out people have wild opinions and we get to read oh so many of them thanks final rating We gotta give it a score. That's our duty, that is our mission, our duty. I'm gonna go first here, Garrett. I thought this place was a little better than mediocre. I had no thumbs on atmosphere. I had no thumbs on service, but I had a thumb up on food.
Starting point is 01:03:03 There was a little bit of nostalgia for me, and frankly, I didn't get enough of it, because I've really scaled back the things that I come here for. But I liked it well enough. 5.29 for me. Now I gave this zero thumbs up all across the board. You didn't have any thumbs for a Johnny rocket. I provided no thumbs to Johnny Rockets. No thumb, Garrett, the incredible sulk.
Starting point is 01:03:29 He said, because he ain't got no thumbs. This place seems like almost the definition of mediocrity to me. You know, it's no Apple bees to me. That's actually what I thought about to make this rating. What I'd rather go to Johnny Rockets or Apple Beats. Now, to refresh people, your Apple Beats rating was a 5.04. And I would ever so slightly rather go to Apple Beats.
Starting point is 01:03:57 My experience was a little better. So it's a little better. So it's definitely better. So the food definitely was better. So I'm going to give this a five point zero. Oh, wait three. Okay. That's not a five point zero zero. So I don't know why I did that big dramatic build up, but five point zero three. That's there. Is that your most mediocre score? Five point oh three is exactly what I gave Denny's. And I think that's really
Starting point is 01:04:24 fair. I don't know if I would rather have that Denny's experience at 2 a.m. or that Johnny Rockets experience. That was such a wild, we've got to do Denny's during like normal human hours at some point. Yeah, I want to know what it's like when everyone is not all unsober. All right, well, that means Johnny Rockets goes up on the Chachki of Mediocardy at 5.16.
Starting point is 01:04:51 It's over Apple B's, it's over mediocre. Johnny Rockets is decidedly better than I will be. I'm not used to it. Now it's close enough to mediocrity. It's within the zone of mediocrity, the 4-6 range, that we don't have a punishment next time. Kind of the time to relax. We've had so many punishments lately, I feel.
Starting point is 01:05:22 Yeah, like it's been a good number of you must both punish. So we can just relax next time. We're not obligated to do burgers. We have no punishment. So it's like a normal meal. I don't know what that's like. It's been so long. So where are we gonna go?
Starting point is 01:05:38 We need to figure that out, right? We gotta play a little game, Garrett. We gotta play a little game, Garrett. We gotta play the headline game. The rules of the headline game are as follows. Garrett will present three headlines to Michael that include this week's restaurant. They can be made up, or they can be actual headlines. If Michael can correctly guess, if at least two out of three, or real or fake, he will get to select next week's restaurant. However, if Garrett stumps him, he'll select again.
Starting point is 01:06:11 Are you ready to play, fellas? I am ready. Okay, here we go, first headline. Man arrested after found passed out behind Johnny Rockets in The Villages. True. Okay. Number two, jukeboxes removed from Atlantic City Johnny Rockets after being hacked
Starting point is 01:06:32 to play the SpongeBob cartoon theme song on repeat. Ah! I don't... I don't think Johnny Rockets ever went to digital jukeboxes, but I can't say I've kept up with them that much. They were, yeah, just giving my memory, I'm gonna say false. Okay, last one. A naked woman allegedly let me- Okay, this is funny.
Starting point is 01:06:59 Shut up. Go ahead. Okay, we go. A naked woman allegedly let men cover her and catch up inside a Miami Johnny Rockets. This is gold. This is gold. Ha. It's the type of thing where if I say true,
Starting point is 01:07:17 I feel so stupid if I'm wrong because it's so clear that that's the thing you would make up. But it's also the thing wrong because it's so clear that that's the thing you would make up. But it's also the thing where if it's true, there's no way you're not picking it. Yeah, I'm gonna say false. Okay, so first one, Matt arrested after found passed out behind Johnny Rockets in the villages. You said true and that is indeed true. Oh yeah, up to a good start, liking it, liking it.
Starting point is 01:07:46 The next one, Duke Box is removed from Atlantic City Johnny Rockets after being hacked to play the SpongeBob cartoon theme song on repeat. Yeah, you said false, I made that up. So I'm correct, you are correct. Two for two, baby. All right, and now you're...
Starting point is 01:08:03 Fuck, you're your book catch up. A naked woman allegedly let men cover her and catch up inside of Miami Johnny Rockets, you said false. And that is true. No! Okay. Well, at least it didn't cost me the headline game and I won that, but... Ah, here we go.
Starting point is 01:08:22 That just... I'll read this one. Okay, yeah, I'm here for it. This is from Sounds reputable. A young woman is in trouble with police after allegedly letting a group of men treat her like a hot dog.
Starting point is 01:08:36 Unnaked. You wrote this article. There's no way you're not I love this. Unnaked, right, inducing hot dog. That's wild. You're not news or calm I love this so Naked right inducing hot dog. That's wild at a Miami beach Johnny rockets earlier this month the New York daily news reports According to the Miami new time. How does this start like okay? Do you go into the Johnny rockets naked and you're like everyone cover me and catch up or do you go into the Johnny Rockets naked and you're like, everyone cover me and catch up, or do you go into the Johnny Rockets clothes
Starting point is 01:09:06 and then remove them? Like, I'm, okay. Well, here's the story. Okay. According to the Miami New Times, things got off to a quick start when the woman reportedly walked into the restaurant, already topless October 9th
Starting point is 01:09:19 and started removing her bikini bottoms. The daily news reports she then allegedly performed multiple lude acts against the Johnny Rockets furniture alternating in her coup d'egra, the coup d'egra. Ha ha, lane on a table while a bunch of men dumped, catch up, and water on her. Police identified the woman as the suspect and arrested her this week after video of the incident
Starting point is 01:09:46 went viral online the Daily News Report. World stuff. She was booked on suspicion of insight to riot in decent exposure, looted and lascivious behavior, disorderly conduct, and breach of the peace. Which peace. Here's a quote from her.
Starting point is 01:10:04 That was fun now that I remember it. She states in a video posted on her Instagram. Oh, so she was out of her mind at the time. Take me to jail, but it was fun and everybody looked like they were having fun. Police are also looking for one of the men seen in the video for allegedly touching the woman during the incident. What the hell, Johnny Rockets? Of course this happened in Florida. Yeah, I mean, honestly, the Johnny Rockets part
Starting point is 01:10:34 is not necessarily relevant, the Florida part is. Yeah, for sure. Who walks into Johnny Rockets' topless, takes off her bottoms, lays down on the table and is like, paint me with ketchup boys You know that you must bullpunishment you have to join me for It's gonna be that oh god all that aside I won the headline game I get to pick where we go next time. So where do you want to get naked and be covered in ketchup?
Starting point is 01:11:02 I'm here with you man. I think in the place that, by the way, that's not happening. Hey, if like that's your you must pull on his face. There isn't a you must pull on his face. Can I join you on that one? Yes. Next time, we are gonna go to Marie calendars. Oh, I've never been there. We're gonna get some pies.
Starting point is 01:11:25 We're gonna, you know, this is just such a change of pace from the really like glitzy, kitschy restaurants. And it's more of like, it's much more homie. Yeah, I don't know, who is Marie Callender other than like, grandma goddess of frozen food? We're gonna find out. Join us next time as we go to Marie calendars, that'll be in two weeks,
Starting point is 01:11:47 back to our normal bi-weekly release schedule. Thank you all for joining us on this September or journey, and you can hear its conclusion if you go to our Patreon. That episode will be out tomorrow. So, we really appreciate all of you for joining us on this journey. We did not find the most mediocre restaurant in America. We do gotta keep looking.
Starting point is 01:12:07 We'll see you next time. Have a fine day! Take for a purpose of Denver Yes, it's time for the test that can only one They don't have a purpose of Denver Yeah, we're looking for something perfection I'm a pun Just be the best burger that you can be
Starting point is 01:13:03 Somewhere between heaven and ecstasy I can see that hunger in your life You're going for glory with the side of the friday It's September God The search continues We still need the perfect fire The search continues, we still need the perfect fine The search continues, but life can't subscribe The search continues, our journey did not conclude
Starting point is 01:13:38 The mother-right search continues, right as soonising I do's review And hey, while you're at it, why don't you go ahead and make it five stars? Come on! Follow us on TikTok, the same on Instagram, all the socials at Find Dining Podcasts We have a website Find Buy our T-shirts, then put them on And don't forget, you can always suggest where we go next. Okay! We're going to find it, media crafting. The search continues. See you next week!
Starting point is 01:14:42 I heard my throat a little. Have a fine day! I heard my throat a little. Have a fine day.

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