Tuesday, January 09, 2007
What Sucks...Red Lobster
“Let white trash have lobster!” Bill Darden, Red Lobster founder 1968.
…and with those 5 words, in 1968, Bill Darden opened the first of what would become countless slaps in the face to fine cuisine. And yes, while the words “seafood restaurant chain”, like “chained Italian”, are an abomination in the eyes of God- the type of words that if said into a mirror 3 times in a row have enough bad karma to bring a psychotic killer back from the grave- the people of Iowa, New Mexico, South Dakota and Missouri, despite the fact they were a plane ride from the nearest “sea”- would come in droves to eat lobster and other seafood that had been, in the best case scenario, on the road for a week, in a more likely one, caught during the end of the Korean war.
But Darden simply opening his restaurant wasn’t his ticket to fortune. After all the 1st Red Lobster was opened in Florida, a place 3⁄4 of which is surrounded by water. Where Darden’s talent lay was in observation. He saw in Florida, with its many shirtless criminals later to be immortalized on shows such as “COPS” and “COPS: Florida” and “COPS: Dade County” and “COPS: INSERT NAME OF ANY OTHER TOWN/ PROVINCE IN FLORIDA”, the last quarter of what in fact surrounds the state- water on the east, west and south- white trash to the north.
Yes, bring lobster to the prairie- cover it with a shitload of butter if you must, but bring it out there. The people will come- they’ll put on your bib and they will eat it, they won’t know why, or how, but they will come- and they’ll pay- at least once.
Darden then gambled.
Perhaps curiosity will get the best of the rest of the country. What if you lived near the ocean? What if you lived in a city where skilled chefs took a lobster and honored its sacrifice by making it as delicious as it could be? Could you still be afforded the chance to eat shitty lobster? Darden said “yes” and today Red Lobsters, like mediocrity, run rampant in not only the US, but Canada and even Japan too. Japan, a country built off fishing- has Red Lobsters.
So has Darden won? Many say yes. They point to Japan, to the Red Lobster off the Long Island Sound in Bridgeport, Ct. and say yes. But soon, the world will run out of fish and the countless lobsters that were served in Red Lobster, will have the last laugh. After all, you ate them at Red Lobster's.