Last Thursday, my friend Mike told me about a promotion at TGI Friday’s that allowed customers to eat “endless appetizers.” I obviously called bullshit because that sounded bananas. That deal sounded about as ridiculous as a kayak on the wall of a restaurant. The next day, Gawker’s Caity Weaver dropped a piece of new media journalism 4.0 that spread like wildfire concerning those very same “endless appetizers.” Being so impressed with the idea of eating 32 mozzarella sticks in 14 hours, I had to try it out myself. Because journalism.
Prelude: Making Plans to Eat at TGI Friday’s
1. We might order an endless appetizer if one of us felt like it.
2. We would stay until we had paid the bill and could leave anytime after that.
3. No open-toed shoes in public.
4. No cell phones at the dinner table – unless you get a text. Or want to check your e-mail. Or Twitter.
I did not text Jason McIntyre about going to TGI Friday’s because I knew he was with his family and probably didn’t care about me eating at TGI Friday’s. I did, however, text Mike Cardillo. He agreed to give me a *sigh* for every boneless wing I ate.
It was on.
Road to Perdition: Getting to TGI Friday’s.
Because Mike had to do something before we could leave, we didn’t get to TGI Friday’s until around 6:30. We were immediately seated in a half-full portion of of the dining room. Our waitress was a young woman named Tanisha. Tanisha tells us that she will be right back to take our orders.
The next few moments are filled with dread and confusion and Mike, my wife and myself decide what to eat. Being young, hip, popular people who exist on the Internet, we have obviously never been to a TGI Friday’s before. What is this menu? Everything on it sounds ridiculous and fly-over-state-y. Is any of this organic? They must have built one of these in Brooklyn on a lark.
Mike decides he will get the boneless wings. That’s right – one of the “endless appetizers.” I am torn between the boneless wings and
my usual one of their dumbly-named entrees. Tanisha returns. On the recommendation of Tanisha, my wife gets the soup and a reasonable meal. I order last. In a panic, I also get the boneless wings. That’s right – Mike and I have gone DOUBLE ENDLESS. How can two orders of the same thing both be endless? This is like Kramer being on the corner of 1st and 1st. We’re at the nexus of the TGI Friday’s menu.
Tanisha does not seem fazed, which is troubling. She says she will put in two orders a piece to get us started.
We also order $3 Bud Lights.
Plate One and Plate Two: A Bunch of Boneless Wings Show Up at Our Table
6:45 p.m. Our first Bud Light drafts show up at the table. Life choices begin to be questioned.
6:50 p.m. Four plates of boneless wings show up. That was fast. Like taco truck-by-the subway-during-lunch-hour-in-a-pre-gentrified-neighborhood-fast. Tanisha tells us, “See honey? I know how to get it in.” Being young, hip, popular people who exist on the Internet, we have seen Jersey Shore and know that term has a different connotation than the way in which a waitress puts in orders of endless appetizers so that her customers can get their money’s worth. Awkward laughter is shared.
6:52 p.m. Quick math is done. We have just under $40 worth of boneless wings on our table. It is a lot of freaking boneless wings. It almost seems like too many boneless wings. I’m not sure if this is an endless portion, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was.
6:53 p.m. After approximately two minutes of looking at our bounty of boneless wings, we begin to eat.
6:54 p.m. Finish chewing first boneless wing. It was pretty good. I could probably eat a thousand of these. I wonder if they will let me stay here forever.
6:55 p.m. Start chewing second boneless wing. Still pretty good.
6:58 p.m. Third boneless wing. Still good.
6:59 p.m. My wife mentions that her soup never came. Ah, the opposite of “endless appetizers,” the “startless soup.”
7:00 p.m. Wonder aloud, “What is a boneless wing anyway? Just a wing without any bones? Why don’t they make the whole chicken out of the boneless wing?”
7:02 p.m. Mike has already finished all 12 celery sticks. I haven’t even eaten 3 of mine.
7:03 p.m. Tanisha returns to ask how our meals are. She calls us “baby.” I ask if I can stay there forever. Tanisha informs me that I cannot. I say, “Even theoretically?” She relents to my philosophical question. We order more Bud Lights. We are the kings of TGI Friday’s.
7:04 p.m. Mike suggests we keep the good times going by seeing Tammy after dinner. There is an 8pm showing. For the first time, I puke.
7:07 p.m. A group of college-age girls walk in wearing matching outfits. They could be cheerleaders for a local university. Since they’re eating at TGI Friday’s, I can only assume they are all freshman from Montana. Either that or they are seniors finishing their theses on irony. There is no other explanation.
7:09 p.m. We are both just about done with our first plate of boneless wings. As far as boneless buffalo wings go, these were pretty good. I mean, for a chain restaurant. Not that I know anything about the quality of food at a chain restaurant because I have never been to one except for that time I was on a road trip with my parents and we had to stop at an Olive Garden because there was literally nowhere else to eat. I mean, we searched for three hours for a local diner, but found nothing. We must have been in a flyover state. Fucking rubes.
7:14 p.m. Tanisha asks if we want her to put in another order. With blog science in mind, we agree.
Plate Three: How Could Anyone Eat So Many Boneless Wings!?
7:16 p.m. I notice the ketchup.
7:17 p.m. We all share a laugh because why is there non-organic bottled ketchup on every table? What is this, Indiana?
7:20 p.m. Mike drops his cell phone on the floor. He picks it up and there is a piece of lettuce stuck to it. It doesn’t appear to be locally grown. We all puke.
7:23 p.m. A youth sports team comes in. They must be from Idaho.
7:24 p.m. I am kind of full.
7:25 p.m. Two more plates of boneless wings arrive. One for me, one for Mike. Thinks are looking bleak.
7:27 p.m. Someone brings up Tammy again. There is vomit everywhere.
7:28 p.m. I’m trying to eat more wings, but I am seriously full now because I’ve eaten like 40 of them in the last ho-ly shit we’ve only been here like 45 minutes. We did not pace ourselves. Mike is mopping his brow with the floor lettuce and I am starting to dip boneless wings in my lemon water like I think I saw Joey Chestnut do one time on YouTube. I think I have to go to the bathroom, but when I was in this same TGI Friday’s on Monday the men’s room was flooded. Now I’m confessing things I shouldn’t be. I am 20-minutes from my house what if I poop myself in the car? This was the worst idea we have ever had. Why did I eat so many wings so quickly!? I mean they are still kind of tasty, but there are diminishing returns at this point and…
7:29 p.m. Look at the size of this boneless wing! It’s as big as a piece of celery!
7:30 p.m. I take a picture of my giant boneless chicken wing. Tanisha comes over and says, “How are ya’ll doin’? Oh, you’re taking a picture of your food, I’ll come back.
7:32 p.m. Tanisha comes back and asks if we want boxes for our leftovers. “Yes, please.”
7:34 p.m. I have to poop.
7:35 p.m. Tanisha returns with our boxes and asks if anyone saved room for the Oreo Madness.
7:36 p.m. I puke on the employee who is cleaning up the previous puke.
7:40 p.m. Tanisha brings us our bill. Turns out her name is not spelled how I imagined. Instead of going back and changing all mentions in my running diary, I decide to protect her identity. Despite not giving my wife the soup she ordered, she has allowed us to take leftover boneless wings home in a doggy bag. I bet this goes against the fine print of the “endless appetizer” rules and regulations. Thank you, Tanisha.
7:42 p.m. The final bill for my meal of 2 Bud Lights, 20 celery sticks and an endless amount of boneless chicken wings is $17.28 with tax included. The retail value of the three plates of boneless chicken wings that were given to me was $29.80. I will use my savings to buy new seat covers in my car.
7:50 p.m. We are driving home. Mike and I do not feel well. I shouldn’t be writing while driving, but that’s the kind of confidence that two 8oz Bud Lights inspire.
Boneless Wings Hangover
10:46 p.m. I decide to go to bed. I sleep for 12 consecutive hours.
11:14 a.m. Heat up leftover boneless wings for brunch.
11:30 a.m. Begin hot wing fast.
- Number of plates of boneless wings that potentially could have been ordered: ∞
- Number of plates of boneless wings actually ordered: 3
- Number of times I lied about puking for comedic effect: 3
- Number of boneless wings that potentially could have been eaten: ∞
- Number of boneless wings actually eaten: Like, 20-something?
- Number of tummy aches: 2
- Uncollected Hugs from Mike Cardillo: 1