Deep-Fried Nostalgia

The almighty taste of America.

T. G. I. Friday’s

Na Příkopě 27, P1

Tel.: 224 228 791



Way back in 1965 an enterprising perfume salesman named Alan Stillman opened a
bar/restaurant in New York City: T.G.I. Friday’s. It catered to the weekend-warrior
suit crowd who gathered to slurp cocktails, bitch about their bosses and of course,
swing. In between the swizzling, the pick-up lines and back-slapping, they’d eat
their cheeseburgers and talk about the ball game or the stock market. Stillman
was a visionary whose idea helped to launch the singles revolution. Seven hundred
restaurants in 56 countries and countless imitations later, we can now look back
with nostalgia at a time before disco, before Cheers, before Solidni Nejistota.


Nostalgia, of course, is at the core of T.G.I. Friday’s philosophy. Cool old highway
signs, stoplights and barber shop poles, trophies, team pennants, rusty and dusty
relics from a wholesome past hang all over the place. Burgers on buns, Happy Hour,
Americana pure and simple – as irresistible as an original green glass bottle
of Coca-Cola.


About the name. “T.G.I. Friday” is not a person. It’s short for “Thank God It’s
Friday,” as in “Praise be to the Almighty that the weekend has come.” Officially,
the name is short for “Thank Goodness It’s Friday,” but let’s face it – Thanking
Goodness is a little like Warring on Terror, right? Similarly, KFC, the mother
of deep-fried chicken outlets, would like you to believe that their name stands
for Kentucky Fresh or Kentucky Fast Chicken. We know better.


With Planet Hollywood a distant memory and McDonald’s being ... well ... McDonald’s,
there is no denying that this franchise restaurant on Na Prikope has dominated
American cuisine in Prague since opening in 1996. Sure, some have been here longer.
Red Hot and Blues, Jama and Buffalo Bill’s are all solid, classic, original American
eateries, but they just don’t have the frying capacity nor the side orders nor
the appetizers nor the cocktail and dessert menus to compete with pricier joints
like Friday’s.


About the menu. You may have skipped Friday’s because you think you’re too cool
to eat where the Ugly Americans eat. Where the Mormons and the frat guys and the
conventioneers and the star-spangled sweatshirt crowd hang out. Go try the chicken
wings, which are, in the truest American slang, killer. They are the best damn
Buffalo wings in town, with real chunky blue cheese and crunchy celery sticks,
and just spicy enough. They’re not cheap at 250 Kč per dozen.


The rest of the menu reads like a wish list for every homesick gringo longing
for some comfort food, and not some suspicious local variation. The Cobb salad
is right on, the quesadillas are the real deal. The crispy, fried onion rings,
charbroiled burgers and cajun chicken sandwiches are all good enough. They have
Heinz ketchup, lots of condiments and choices of salad dressings. They even offer
substitutions.


Just don’t fool yourself into believing they offer the best steak in town. They
don’t. Which leads us to the real reason why Friday’s stomps all over the local
competition: the deep fryer. The fish and chips are light, delicate and golden
brown – everybody’s favorite food color. Enough said.


About the service. You can’t help but notice the ice cream parlor candy-striped
uniforms and all the silly accessories that scream uncool. Yes it’s uncool, but
don’t pity these positively friendly, eager and competent wait-staffers who occasionally
say things (with a local accent) like “How’re y’all doing?” or “Getchya anything?”
They’re just following the Golden Rule of American hospitality: Be Nice, Get Tips.



When you need a place to bring the kids or the cranky out-of-towners who don’t
trust dumplings, bring ‘em over to Friday’s. The lunch menu has recently been
expanded and the prices lowered (main courses 130-190 Kč), there are large drinks
with lots of ice, Happy Hour from 3-6 and even a smoking section.


Afterwards, if you’d like another angle on the whole T.G.I. Friday’s American
nostalgia experience, you can waddle down the block to the Museum of Communism
and thank your lucky stars that you’re not hungry anymore, even if you are still
single.

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