RE: When is a chain not a chain?
The long-awaited answer to this thread is contained in the following letter-to-the-editor from this week's Style Weekly (Richmond, Virginia), see also http://www.styleweekly.com/.
A chain is not a chain when it can escape letters this like this:
Where Are the Real Restaurants?
I just wanted to say, bravo! It was great to read Kendra Bailey Morris’ review of Firebirds (Food & Drink, Oct. 15). She nailed it. After my husband and I ate there a couple of weeks ago, I referred to it as Applebee’s on steroids. (By the way, Applebee’s is just McDonald’s on steroids.)
I’m afraid it is part of the sickening trend in this country to serve everything from a frozen, prepared menu — and I’m not even talking about the food. Service has become a canned commodity. Manners are taught as a matter of good business practice rather than as a way of life, and that’s why we can’t get it right anymore. It is the difference between Pop-Tarts and homemade cream puffs. I am so sick of teenage hostesses with their placid faces and glassy, glazed-over eyes who say things like, “We treat you like family.” Give me a break. The truth is that the only restaurant in town where they really treat you like family is Mama ’Zu. They don’t exactly have the best reputation for service but at least they are genuine. They don’t smile and they don’t apologize for the wait. If you don’t like it, go home and make your own damned dinner. That’s family … and the food … is love.
I don't know Ms. Whaley but AMEN !!!!!