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sparksofthetempest t1_j8suv09 wrote

Anyone else noticing that the typical middle class eateries are all closing? I know it kinda began with Covid and then the understandable living wage backlash, but now with inflation it’s slowly becoming fast food or high end. Just wondering if anyone else is paying attention. No more nightclubs, no 24 hour diners, everything shut down by 9 or 10. It’s morphed into something unrecognizable for people in their 40’s and older and I just wondered if it even matters to younger people these days.


Jazzlike_Breadfruit9 t1_j8sxdjf wrote

A lot of middle class eateries, especially chain ones aren’t that great. Covid gave people a chance to stop and ask themselves why they are wasting money at Panera. I personally either eat out either when I find a good deal (normally cheaper than making it myself) or because I want quality, not middle of the road stuff.


69FunnyNumberGuy420 t1_j8szf0x wrote

I haven't eaten in a restaurant since March 7th, 2020 (Wings Suds & Spuds). I have lost over twenty-five pounds and saved enough money to pay our student loans off early.

There will always be destination restaurants for special occasions, but it wouldn't be the worst thing for America if all the Max & Ermas, Paneras, and Applebees went away.


AmishAirline t1_j8t4je3 wrote

Going out with some crispy xtra-hot garlic wings is not a bad way to go. Good choice for last meal!


69FunnyNumberGuy420 t1_j8t87cg wrote

I miss WS&S and I miss Max's Allegheny Tavern, that's about it.


AmishAirline t1_j8u5qcy wrote

Man. . .as someone who lives in Moon and used to work on the Northside, I'm pretty sure we've crossed paths. Two of my favorite spots!


69FunnyNumberGuy420 t1_j8ugfjb wrote

I've got a lot of love for Max's. If I lived closer I'd be incredibly fat. Cheese / sausage platter would be my undoing.


StoshBalls_3636 t1_j8t2odv wrote

Congrats on the weight loss and taking the money you saved to pay off your student loans early! I bet the combination of the weight loss and no student loans payments is better than the best burger you ever had out at a restaurant.


junior_emo_mcgee t1_j8t69dr wrote

What do you do when your friends or family suggest a night out at a restaurant to catch up? That is really the only reason I go out to eat anymore.


69FunnyNumberGuy420 t1_j8t77au wrote

Takeout or they come over for dinner. We cook for nearly every meal.
The end goal of capitalism is to take your human experiences and rent them back to you, we're at the point now where people think socialization can only take place on commercial real estate. It's wild.


LostEnroute t1_j8v3127 wrote

I like privately owned establishments as a semi-regular in my neighborhood. Knowing and liking who provides the service or cooks the food and having that basic relationship is pretty important to a healthy urban lifestyle.


Dancing_Hitchhiker t1_j8y24l4 wrote

Same, one of the big reasons I live in the city. I like walking to spots and seeing people I know with ease.


LostEnroute t1_j8v2g5j wrote

>I haven't eaten in a restaurant since March 7th, 2020

Does this count even diners? Sounds sad as fuck, and that's coming from someone who still masks for indoor public settings without food or drink.


69FunnyNumberGuy420 t1_j8v3eu7 wrote

It's sad as fuck if you think life isn't worth living without restaurants, our dining culture in this country is fucking bizarre.
My wife and I went from eating out all the time to cycling and hiking. It's fine. We aren't missing anything. The french fries don't need us, and we don't need them.


ejcpc17888 t1_j8tqgg7 wrote

Yep I'm either getting bar food and just enjoying being out or going all out for a treat. It's pointless to spend $30 on microwaved food and a drink.


da_london_09 t1_j8wk9bf wrote

People realizing that your standard chain Redapplechilibees are pretty fucking bland or else taste like you're eating a salt-lick.


doodle_day_lewis t1_j8t3c17 wrote

We are millennials in our early/mid 30s and eat out 1-2 times per week, primarily at mid-price places such as Caliente, Dad’s, Ramen Bar, Kiin, and other local family-owned places. We don’t eat at places like King’s, Max & Erma’s, etc. The food just isn’t good, less beer selection, not an interesting location.


Dancing_Hitchhiker t1_j8tusti wrote

Same situation here really, I WFH so I just need to get out and get tired of cooking. Dont really wanna waste the times I go out on meh places like that.


sparksofthetempest t1_j8t4qjs wrote

I’m all for local eateries over chain places…but even local chains like Mad Mex are feeling the pinch.


lydriseabove t1_j8tbd6i wrote

Mad Max also has many of the same features that the national chains have, low quality, re-heated food that isn’t worth the price.


betucsonan t1_j8tlp2v wrote

Yeah - this is key and Mad Mex is a perfect example of this - just a clone of a national chain business model which inherently means a steady decline in quality. In the end you have what Mad Mex has been for years now: decidedly sub-par Mexican food (even by Pittsburgh standards) in a sub-par dining environment. Most of the people I know who still go to places like this have young kids, and it makes a bit of sense for them, I guess, but outside of that there really isn't any good reason to give business to these places.


I_read_that_as_xxxx t1_j8xrdxa wrote

I can get 3 tacos from a vendor on the street in Oakland or in beechview that are 300% better at 1/4 the price. Fuck mad Mex.


lydriseabove t1_j8tuyv6 wrote

I couldn’t respect myself if I was served the worst quality, store bought chips at a “Mexican restaurant” and didn’t walk out before ordering. That’s just me though.


the1999person t1_j8u2ghd wrote

Chipotle frys their own chips in restaurant every day. Why can't a sit down Mexican restaurant do that?


the1999person t1_j8u2bri wrote

Very few things there are "cooked to order". Basically like Chipotle were they assemble your Burrito and finish it in a steamer.

Haven't been there in a few years and the wife and I had a day off together while the kids were in school. She said let's go there for lunch. Sigh, ok. I think it was a $45 lunch including an acceptable tip. Very disappointing.


69FunnyNumberGuy420 t1_j8t9zhz wrote

Every business has a life cycle, places like Mad Mex or The Sharp Edge were cool in the nineties. It isn't the nineties anymore though. Sharp Edge is already gone and Mad Mex was feeling pretty stale last time I was there.


CL-MotoTech t1_j8u6zwi wrote

I haven't had a decent meal at Mad Mex in a decade.


constanto t1_j8tc6um wrote

Restaurants in the lane that we think of as middle class family restaurants were always a bit of a mirage and will be a blip on dining history real soon (and that's setting aside the separate issue of the disappearing middle class). They run incredibly thin margins based on paying their entire staff next to nothing and buying the cheapest bulk agricultural products from Sysco and US Foods that they can source in order to keep their prices low enough to entice people to eat there weekly.

Now with the tightening of the labor market leading to workers commanding a higher wage and better starting positions (has anyone tried to hire a busser recently?) and inflation hitting the largest food producers in particular (notice how fancy eggs are now cheaper than the grossest factory farm eggs sometimes, just for example) places like Max and Erma's and Mad Mex literally cannot operate.

The future is going to be counter service places including food halls and destination restaurants. Now, there's still room for destination restaurants at a lower price point than a steakhouse or Noma, your various cultural restaurants and your fancy brunches and your what have you, but places where families sit down just to go and feed and to be served are already dead and just don't know it yet.


69FunnyNumberGuy420 t1_j8tgmtx wrote

> but places where families sit down just to go and feed and to be served are already dead and just don't know it yet.


This sort of restaurant is an invention of the Boomers' lifetimes and were massively overbuilt in the 1980s and 1990s to paper over a fading real economy.
We weren't making steel or widgets anymore, so we got a bunch of Chilis and PF Changs to bump the numbers and make it look like the economy was still expanding.
It definitely wasn't going to last forever. The average American eats 3600-3800 calories a day now. If we were to snap our fingers somehow and set everyone at a healthy weight, and ensure they only ate a the USDA allotted number of calories per day, it would completely destroy the economy.


enraged_hbo_max_user t1_j8u2g2u wrote

“The average American eats 3600-3800 calories a day now.”

I used to wonder how this was possible given if I go over 2500 I feel like I’m going to explode.

Then I visited Lawrence, Kansas.


Willow-girl t1_j8v9wu2 wrote

> The future is going to be counter service places including food halls and destination restaurants.

And food trucks.


ricksebak t1_j8t0jvz wrote

I would call Max and Erma’s a typical middle class boomer restaurant. And yes, those are closing because there are less and less boomers every day. No restaurant wants to go after a demographic which is shrinking, and at best, will be gone in 15 years or whatever. They want to go after a 30 year old and hook that customer for the next 40 years.


69FunnyNumberGuy420 t1_j8t21je wrote

The whole "let's go out for dinner three times a week" thing is an anomaly in American history, it only really started in the late 1970s and will likely die when the boomers do. And that's fine.

Greasy spoons, diners, take-out, roach coaches, etc have always been around for the time poor, but the sit-down casual dinner places like Applebee's, Outback, etc are a pretty recent thing.


sparksofthetempest t1_j8t6buw wrote

The movie “Diner” was set in 1959, and nothing like that exists now. The point of the film was that they could all meet up late and greet the dawn together. Perkins, Denny’s, even Eat and Park all had 24 hour places prior to Covid. They’re all gone.


Theoldquarryfoxhunt t1_j8tfzfk wrote

It's too hard to staff places for regular daylight and evening hours let alone overnights. A LOT of servers found new jobs/careers because of the pandemic. Myself included.
Sure, people came back, but losing a big chunk of the workforce you had before really took a toll. And the ones who came back didn't want to do overnights anymore. And I don't blame them. You couldn't drag me back for anything. I get PTO, sick pay and 10 holidays off a year now all paid. 25 years in restaurants and I'm not sad to see any of them go.


69FunnyNumberGuy420 t1_j8t740i wrote

Yeah, turns out that no one wants to work in a dangerous environment during a pandemic for shit pay and garbage tips. Can't say I blame them.


SWPenn t1_j8u9hno wrote

The average 30 year old goes through a drive-thru for a bag 'o' food product.


1ll1l1ll1l1l1l1l1ll1 t1_j8t3fwm wrote

The future is fast casual. Order at a counter, someone will bring your food out. Bus your own dishes. Refill your own drinks. Make sure you tip, though.


livefast_dieawesome t1_j8t5psw wrote

personally, I see a lot of these places like Max & Erma's, Kings, Chili's and the like and think that I can microwave food at home myself and get the same quality without spending that much money


drunkenviking t1_j8t0sj4 wrote

Most of these places aren't anything special though. I don't give a shit about Max and Erma's, there's nothing to differentiate them from Applebee's, or Eat n Park, or any other chain restaurant. There's been too many mediocre restaurants for too long. Maybe these closures will be an industry wake up call.


Hoppiness83 t1_j8t5651 wrote

Except for the people out of work. They went from earning a low wage to nothing at all.


drunkenviking t1_j8t5or0 wrote

Well sure, it sucks for them. When did I say otherwise? Am I required to prop up every shitty restaurant so that the people there can keep their jobs?


the1999person t1_j8u3n4u wrote

You didn't fulfill your requirements to go to Ponderosa and now it's gone...


Hoppiness83 t1_j8tyis1 wrote

Never said you did. Some people prefer chains and support those working there in the process.

You essentially stated that mediocre restaurants shouldn't be around. And when that happens, people lose jobs.

But that's obviously OK as long as it's places that you don't like.


art36 t1_j8u2zhk wrote

I wrote elsewhere, but the sort of apathetic “Good” response to news like this is like being happy to see the rats fleeing off your boat without realizing it’s sinking.


drunkenviking t1_j8udoi8 wrote

Do I need to support every shitty restaurant so that those workers can keep their jobs?

It's a serious question.


art36 t1_j8ulyo9 wrote

No, but when the shitty restaurants close it’s still a bad sign and signals to other bad outcomes in the local economy. Reacting “oh well, who cares” shows a lack of concern to a genuinely concerning trend.


drunkenviking t1_j8umzlw wrote

Not really, shitty restaurants close all the time. If the good ones start closing that's when it's to worry.


art36 t1_j8uo3wl wrote

Not as rapidly as in the past couple years. That should cause legitimate concern. It points to larger issues. The dismissive nature of this is so off-putting.

Plenty of good restaurants have shuttered their doors, too, but this sub immediately attributes it to management being anti-worker.


69FunnyNumberGuy420 t1_j8wr36g wrote

Restaurants operate on razor-thin margins, and restaurants close all the time. New restaurants open all the time.
This is nothing new and people shrieking about it like it's the doomsday clock are overreacting.
The entire sector of casual sitdown-dinner-three-days-a-week places is a recent thing and it depended on cheap labor and cheap food they could mark way up. It wasn't going to last forever.


DabsDoctor t1_j8wjo7c wrote

So you're basically saying capitalism's main tenant—the will of the market—is a bad thing?


69FunnyNumberGuy420 t1_j8x1pb2 wrote

The P-G and KDKA are still talking about restaurants having a hard time due to "pandemic restrictions."
Every single pandemic restriction on restaurants in this state went away on May 2021. Nearly two years ago.
Maybe these restaurant owners are just incompetent.


DabsDoctor t1_j8x1w75 wrote

>Maybe these restaurant owners are just incompetent.



Hoppiness83 t1_j8u3gc4 wrote

That's so typical of Redditors. All about themselves.


art36 t1_j8u42uf wrote

It’s also incredibly inconsistent. The threads about downtown are a great example. Screw companies for trying to force employees to go back to the office, but also oh no Downtown is unsafe and businesses are closing down, but also we need to transform it into more affordable housing with no cars and lots of greenspace. It’s disjointed and not just unhelpful but actively detrimental to the quality of life for residents in the area.


Hoppiness83 t1_j8u8qjx wrote

You're not permitted to be afraid to be downtown according to Redditors. That makes you a bad person.


drunkenviking t1_j8ue0zi wrote

Typical redditor. So smug about every stupid opinion they have. Only cares about feeling superior.


drunkenviking t1_j8udtao wrote

Answer the question. Do I need to keep supporting every single shitty restaurant so that those people can have jobs?


Hoppiness83 t1_j8ue7k1 wrote

Nope. But advocating for the closure of places you don't like is pretty pathetic.


JustTryingMyBestWPA t1_j8tun00 wrote

We went out to eat after work a lot when we both had to go into the office every day, and we had long commutes home. Now, I work from home 2 days a week, and my husband works from home 5 days a week. We (well, mostly he) has more time to prepare meals at home. So, we eat more dinners at home now.


californiadamn t1_j8u99y4 wrote

Everyone I know that is 45 years or younger avoids chain businesses at all costs. They value supporting small local businesses with inventive menus and selections. There are a ton of great options. These aren’t the days of Bob Evans, Bed Bath and Beyond and malls anymore. I think that’s a wonderful thing and the small businesses are sure making their mark. Chains and generic food aren’t of any interest to most young people.


EB2300 t1_j8wrje8 wrote

Hmm maybe because the middle class is shrinking and our country is made up of working class people barely getting by and rich douchebags who have so much money they take vacations to outer space. Can’t wait for Cons to cut Medicaid and social security, yay capitalism!


44problems t1_j8wkt8z wrote

I wonder, have microbreweries picked up that category? They even exist in the suburbs. Feels like that's where everyone I know goes that's between fast and nice night out.


I_read_that_as_xxxx t1_j8xr1rh wrote

I welcome this. That means there will be more indie startups and less corporations. Eventually all night mom and pop diners will arise and fill the gaps and they won't all be garbage-ass eat n parks or Denny's.


RollTideMeg t1_j8v0okj wrote

You're going too low with the ageism. Try those below 70