It’s that time of the week

when a lot of people are looking forward to the weekend. T G I Friday. I’ve never been to one of those places. There are at least four locations near me. It’s interesting that the first one opened in Manhattan in 1965. I did not know this. Out of curiosity I looked to see if there were any near me and right there on the New York TGI’s page it tells you, “In Manhattan in 1965, there was no place where people could go out to meet friends and make new ones in an environment that was at once both relaxed and yet exciting. Then, Alan Stillman opened Fridays as a way, he said, “to meet Pan Am stewardesses.” Suddenly, there was a place with great food, new and exciting drinks and an electric energy. A place where bartenders mixed the environment just as well as they mixed drinks. In short, a place like nowhere else. Today, Fridays in New York, NY is still America’s most iconic bar and grill. We embrace and celebrate our heritage as a bar. One that just happens to serve killer food in an environment where it’s always Friday.”

Wall to wall stewardesses

I love that. “A place to meet Pan Am stewardesses.” Implying what, exactly? Ha ha. Better not let the mentally ill, pronoun woke tards find out about this. Who is this Alan Stillman? Sounds like a cool dude. (I love this, I can just copypasta the whole thing from wikipedia) “With $5,000 of his own money and $5,000 borrowed from his mother, Stillman purchased a bar he often visited, The Good Tavern at the corner of 63rd Street and First Avenue, and renamed it TGI Fridays after the expression “Thank God it’s Friday!” from his years at Bucknell University. The idea that you could buy a bar in Manhattan for 10 grand seems crazy today, but there it is. The guy really wanted to meet women, and that was his motivation. It’s the great motivator for all men, unless they’re meeting other men, in which case airline stewards would fit the bill nicely.

Wiki goes on to say, “The employees were young men: handsome jocks in form-fitting red-and-white striped soccer shirts”. Suits them! It seems Stillman had “unintentionally created one of the first singles bars. It benefited from the near-simultaneous availability of the birth-control pill and Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique”. Today there are locations all over the world. It’s a franchising operation. The highest grossing location in the world is at Haymarket Leicester Square, in London. You can read all about TGI Friday’s here if you’re interested

Leicester Square. Doesn’t look like much, but it’s where the money is at.

I probably won’t be going to TGI Friday’s soon, but you never know. It’s an interesting story, which I would have never known about if I hadn’t randomly word associated it at the beginning of what I started talking about today, which was essentially nothing… I had assumed it started in Florida, or the South somewhere. It seems like that kind of place. The story takes on another turn, because after selling TGI’s in 1975 to some investors, Stillman created what was to become a chain of steakhouses called Smith and Wollensky. The first one was in New York. According to Stillman, there was never a Mr. Smith or a Mr. Wollensky involved. He opened the Manhattan phone book twice and randomly pulled out two names, Smith and Wollensky. The announcements for the opening, however, carried the names Charlie Smith and Ralph Wollensky. Stillman later admitted that Charlie and Ralph were the names of his dogs. I like this guy. There’s a great interview from 2010 with him here with a picture of the original building.

Happy TGI Friday.

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