There are lots of reasons we may want to patronize some television restaurants. Maybe drive-in to Arnold's (Happy Days) for a burger and a shake; have some brunch and a peek at the afterlife at Der Waffle Haus (Dead Like Me); or enjoy a tuna on toast (with a side of kvetching) at Monk's (Seinfeld). But even in the food-obsessed Seinfeld universe, there are plenty of places we wouldn't want to go, like Poppy's (Poppy doesn't wash his hands, and you don't want him on your couch).
And Poppy's is far from alone: there are actually more restaurants on TV that we wouldn't want to go than there are places we would -- for every semi-charming spot like Central Perk (Friends), there's ... well, any of these ten.
10. The Crab Shack (My Name is Earl) A dive in the truest sense of the word, this is almost more sleazy bar than it is restaurant. And what's worse, TV's Tim Stack is probably drunk there already, and Darnell is apt to serve bowls of stuff he's not legally allowed to put in the crab cakes (and even then, only for his friends.)
My advice: If you go, avoid the food completely. Order a beer, and ogle Joy or Catalina. Or better yet: Joy and Catalina.
9. Mel's (Alice) Forget that Mel's cooking is legendarily bad, even according to the show itself. There's also just too much to disbelieve about the place, not the least of which is the idea that a place like Mel's supports three waitresses and an owner/cook on the same shift. Not to mention that Vera was employable or that Flo was the hot one. We're all for suspending disbelief, but there are limits. 8. The Lunchbox (Roseanne) Home of the loose-meat sandwich in fictional Lanford, Illinois -- and really, that's enough to merit its inclusion on this list. Loose-meat just sounds wrong. I know it's really an unfortunately named Sloppy Joe (which itself wins no prizes for being appetizing), but still, loose-meat doesn't sound like a meal so much as it sounds like a medical condition for which you'd have to contact former sexual partners. 7. Edna's Edibles (The Facts of Life) You really don't want to eat someplace where the food was prepared by kids who have been forced to work there as punishment for some transgression. That sort of thing breeds resentment, and teen resentment plus food prep equals loogie burgers. Sure, by the time the girls helped Ms. Garrett open Edna's, they were one happy family, but still--you can't tell me that Jo doesn't still have anger management issues. 6. Rob's Place (What's Happening!!) As much as we all loved Shirley, there is no way you'd actually want her as a waitress, just as there's no way some of that 70s afro wouldn't find its way into your fries. But the food couldn't have been good either -- after all, Rog, Dwayne, and Rerun ate at Rob's Place because they could afford it., not to mention that Rerun at one point was convinced that he got food poisoning from one of the burgers. And if Rerun's stomach can't handle something? Yours doesn't stand a chance. 5. Salinger's (Party of Five) Welcome to Salinger's. Our parents were killed by a drunk driver. I'll be your server tonight. Our special is homestyle meatloaf with bitter aftertaste. Would you like a side of morose with that? Maybe see our whine list? Please pity us. Come back soon!
(Um, no thanks).
4. Krusty Burger (The Simpsons) Frankly, you don't want to eat anywhere in The Simpsons' Springfield. Even home-cooking tends to consist of things like three-eyed mutant fish filet. But Krusty Burger is the worst: a fast-food place that offers "meat-flavored sandwiches" to avoid false advertising charges and uses retired zoo animals and roadkill as supplemental ingredients. Sure, they might be more honest than McDonald's, but that doesn't mean their food isn't completely inedible. 3. Nolita (Kitchen Confidential) Here's the thing: We don't want to know what happens in the commercial kitchens of the world. We're better off assuming that every one of them is immaculate and gorgeous, all stainless steel and sharp knives, perfect spices and freshest ingredients, prepped by people so devoted to their craft that Gordon Ramsay would eat from their hands. But this? Sure, it's a comedy, but it's uncomfortably close to the truth. Actually, the truth is probably worse, but we don't need the reminder. 2. Double R Diner (Twin Peaks) Okay, so the coffee is damn fine. But really, at the Double R, it's less about the food and more about the company you'll keep. Even the best cherry pie doesn't go down so well when there's a disembodied spirit in the men's room mirror, a lady fondling a log in a booth in the corner, and a guy desperately hawking Fire Walk with Me videocassettes at the counter. 1. Burger World (Beavis and Butthead) This fast-food joint has a whole slew of problems. They've been shut down by the Health Department on a number of occasions (and the various insects and rodents that have been in the fry vat can't help things). But most damning of all? This is a place with hiring practices so slipshod that it led to the voluntary hiring of Beavis and Butthead. Case -- and restaurant -- closed.