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Just got back from business in Orlando, where a gracious and well-meaning client decided to celebrate a job well done by taking me and my colleagues to a no-holds-barred din-din at … Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville.

Margaritaville is at Universal City Walk, which is some sort of weird combination of half-rides and half-stores, full of sour young men prowling the grounds like watchful soldiers on combat patrol and raucous young women in the coarsest state of drunkenness, complete with shrieks of delight at their comrades’ falling-down antics.

I thought Margaritaville would be a refuge from the noise but no, it was even louder inside this … well, I don’t know if the word “restaurant” applies. It was more like a gigantic pin-ball machine and we poor humans the pummeled and knocked-about orbs.

The din was incredible. Thundering voices, braying hillbilly laughs, police whistles, popping balloons, televised sports events, and underneath it all, the faint but constant strains of one Jimmy Buffet standard after another.

Every square inch, floor to ceiling, was covered with some doo-dad or gimgrack, be it a float plane or a surfboard or an alligator’s head or brightly-flashing lights. As if the interior decorator came from the three-ring circus school of design, and lived in dread that the customer’s eye might find rest and relaxation during the course of “dinner.”

But worst of all were these – well, I don’t exactly what they might be called – but there were these men on stilts – stilts! – prowling about the “restaurant” like Tripods from War of the Worlds. At first I thought their function might be to make balloon animals for the child guests but no, their greatest and grimmest joy was to discover a hapless guest who might be celebrating a birthday, for then this news was bellowed out to the “restaurant” at large in the harsh and angry and menacing voice of a Marine drill instructor, while an accusatory finger was pointed at the mortified “guest.” This was followed by the piercing blast of a police whistle, to no purpose.

Many balloons were blown up and many a balloon popped with a sharp crack. This went on throughout the “evening,” and I was reminded of that scene in Boogie Nights where the central characters go to make a phony drug deal and their victim’s Bennie Boy is continually lighting off firecrackers in the background, driving everyone up the wall. Same exact deal here.

And looming over all, on jumbo football-stadium style monitors, was Mr. Buffet himself, sittin’ on his front porch swing and strummin’ his six-string, one famous music video after another, celebrating the (well, duh!) joy of sticking one’s toes in Caribbean sand and having a good, stiff drink. The dichotomy between this sentiment and what was going on inside his “restaurant” was about as sharp as piping jolly Christmas carols into an execution chamber along with the cyanide.

Food. Well. I had the coconut-fried shrimp, and it was sort of like a super-crunchy and super-sweet Almond Joy with a dab of some meat-like substance at its center. The drinks were at least honest. The Margarita I ordered had plenty of bite, I’ll give it that. But what I really wanted was a Mohito, and the waiter was only too happy to inform me that drinks not on the menu were forbidden. Why, I could only imagine. Perhaps if they made an off-menu drink then Orlando would burst into flames, the men would be bound into slavery, and their wives would be made into whores. That’s the only logical explanation I could come up with.

Good news dept: there was not one single tiki or moai anywhere. And I thank God for that. I really do. I don’t know if I could’ve taken such a desecration with any sort of grace.

I hope I’m not coming across as a snob, but that’s not for me to judge. To tell you the truth, I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t like big fancy dinners at big fancy restaurants, however nice they are. For me a memorable dinner is two or three tasty things straight off the grill from a street vendor in Bangkok, consumed at a rickety plastic table while a monsoon rain thunders just outside the stall. That’s what I call tall eatin’.



Don't get on the ship! Don't get on the ship!

[ Edited by: Satan's Sin 2005-11-26 18:10 ]

F

I dislike the new big chain restaurants. I don't get it. They're always full. Full of mostly obnoxious people. I get the same type of meal out of my grocer's freezer. I just don't put it on a plate and fluff it up. They're killing the unique places. The places where food, service and atmosphere mattered, or didn't, either way... the world is going to hell in a hand-basket.

I was travelling with some friends and we stopped at a Hooters (I had no say in the matter). I went in and was astounded. Hooters marketing must really work. Like your experience, I couldn't hear myself think. A gazillion TVs blasting every different sport you could imagine. Conversation was difficult at best. A lame menu, 90% of which you could find on any of the other chain restaurant menus. Or in your grocer's freezer. What really got me was the crowd. Of course there were the guys, guys you would expect to find there. But wait! There's guys bringing their dates there (which I don't get), there's groups of girls there. To be where the guys are maybe? Senior citizens, husbands and wives. The topper: A family brought their 6 or 7 year old son there for his birthday party and of course, invited all the relatives. Everyone seemed to be having a great time.

For a long time, I've wondered... is it just me? I just went X-mas shopping and I'm coming to this sad conclusion: it may very well be.

T

On 2005-11-26 22:14, foamy wrote:
I dislike the new big chain restaurants. I don't get it. They're always full. Full of mostly obnoxious people....




On 2005-11-26 22:14, foamy wrote:
the world is going to hell in a hand-basket.

Amen, brother.

Oh yeah - don't forget...

Where is Margaritaville?

Its in your mind, in your heart, and in the music of the islands...

[ Edited by: Chip and Andy 2009-06-05 17:11 ]

More bad news...with insurance, the cost of employess, fire-Marshall inspections, Board of Equilibration fees, gas and electric, any advertising you do just to stay afloat...it's going to be a world of HOOTERS and MARGARITAVILLES in the future.

I think the thing that bugs me about it is the lack of spontinaity...like the singing employees at Cold Stone..."This must be fun because they say so"

After horsemeat stir-fry in African kiosks in Paris, Fruit Bat in Timor, or Cuy (Big Rodent) eaten on the roof of a bus driving thru the Andes I don't consider the "Associate" at Chili's asking if I wanna "go wild" and choose the spicy sauce particularly memorable.

On the other hand, I'm a sucker for home made Tacos, and Tamales...they always taste best when a lactating stray dog or chicken is underfoot watching for anything you spill.

Truly frightening. I actually get scared when I encounter places like this. At least people who I'd rather not run into will have a place to go.

Don't look now, but Buffett has a 'Margaritaville' channel on Sirius Satellite Radio. Pardon my French but, whatta DOUCHE!!!!!!

I think I'd rather listen to an all Rick Springfield channel before listening to Buffet and his lame tropi-country garbage.

It's seems like more and more restaurants are going for the atmosphere of eating in the middle of a loud nightclub. What ever happened to dinner conversation with low volume music in the background. Now you have to have a dinner yelling match across the table to be heard. I recently went to some Japanese restaurant in Westwood where the lighting was dim and the look was somewhat upscale, but still they had the blaring music. Not that I don't like my music loud once in a while, but I can always go to a nightclub later for that where I can actually dance to it. Not to mention, it's not really conducive to proper digestion. I just won't even go into a restaurant now if that's the atmosphere they have.

So far, a great thread.

I particularly like the J. Peterman-style self validations when criticizing the other places. "I've eaten gourmet yak pee tea cakes on the Mongol plains..."

For some reason, it reminds me of that blonde robot at the end of Blade Runner kvetching about what it is to be human..."I have eaten meals in places the rest of you can't imagine..."

How about something really scary? How long until NASCAR comes up with a Tiki themed car? :wink:

[ Edited by: Geeky Tiki 2005-11-28 08:59 ]

D

How long until NASCAR comes up with a Tiki themed car?

I'm sure it won't be long before there are NASCAR cafes, if there aren't already. There is already the ESPN Zone (ESPN cafe) in Times Square. Which reminds me of a little story...

I was in Tuscon, AZ a few years back and went to a Best Buy (because there was nowhere else to go) to get some CDs for my drive up to the Grand Canyon. The cashier asked me for ID and saw that I was from New York. He got all excited and said 'Damn! I wanna go to New York! I always wanted to go to the ESPN Zone!!'

So that's what it comes down to now. When people in other parts of the country think of New York City and all that it potentially has to offer they think of the the ESPN Zone. ....Damn shame

By the way WHY did NASCAR become so popular? Because Dale Earnhardt died. Before that it wasn't nearly as popular. What the hell????

you realize that this entire thread could be condensed into 2 or 3 'zippy the pinhead' strips :) now there's some kveching for you :P

By the way WHY did NASCAR become so popular? Because Dale Earnhardt died. Before that it wasn't nearly as popular. What the hell????

I heard that they got the idea after seeing "The Jim Croce" story on TV and then they went out and cut Dale's brake lines.

However, if it were that easy, then Blind Lemon should be riding the crest of a popularity wave.

I heard that they got the idea after seeing "The Jim Croce" story on TV and then they went out and cut Dale's brake lines.

Wierd...I heard they got the idea after seeing 'The Grace Kelly Story' on TV. Hmm guess you can never rely on those sources..

By the way, I'm confused. When you said 'Blind Lemon' did you mean Blind Melon the band, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Lemon Pie, The Lennon Sisters, or John Lennon?

he was probably referring to how blind melon, blind lemon jefferson, blind lemon pie, the lennon sisters, and john lennon all were seen drinking at margaritaville :P

Dang, I was sure I was error free...

Thank you, I meant Blind Melon!

Hats. I forgot to mention hats. A hat on a man in a restaurant really gets my goat. Baseball caps, especially. There were many offenders at Margaritaville, and the only thing that's worse (in my book) than an empty-eyed young man sitting at table, elbows astride the plate, grimly working his way through the sorry job that is dinner is an empty-eyed middle-aged man who should know better.

I wish I knew why I take such violent umbrage at this. It is a mystery to me. But like Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer, there is one thing I do know: whenever I see a man wearing a hat in a restaurant I think "well, why not go to the bathroom at the table as well? If taking your hat off in a restaurant is somehow high-falutin' then should we not also abandon the fancified custom of seeking privacy when we relieve ourselves? I mean, monkeys and dogs at the circus wear funny hats and they certainly aren't shy about calls of nature. Why not go whole-hog, o sullen hat-wearer, thou?"

Loved your "review", SS. You should send that to Zagat's. V-Girl makes an excellent point: It is like eating in the middle of a nightclub. Why would people want that, you ask? We are bombarded by noisy, trashy media everywhere we go. Every bar has the big game on...loudly. Every tv show, especially the "variety" kind, is a nonstop monstrosity of quick cuts and loud soundtracks. Hell, we were watching a cake decorating competition on Food Channel and it was cut to within an inch of its life with bubbly narration, swinging, zooming and tilting camera work, and every kind of manufactured drama possible - a cake decorating contest!

I think that restaurant owners believe that the noisier it is, the more casual and family-friendly it becomes. Quiet = stuffy, and nobody wants stuffy. People live their lives going from blaring drive-time DJs to blaring headphoned music to outrageous commutes to screaming kids to squabbling reality shows to noisy nightclubs - why should dinner be any different? I think it's akin to the change in behavior in movie theaters. People now treat the theater like it's their own living room, and I somehow doubt those same people sit quietly and eat at the dinner table every night. They want a restaurant with the same energy (however fake) and noise level as the rest of their lives. I admit, I often choose a restaurant based on noise level, and sometimes I, too, want that festive, racous atmosphere. But I can get that at any number of good restaurants and would never resort to a Margaritaville.

K
Kono posted on Mon, Nov 28, 2005 5:08 PM

Those types of restaurants are noisy because they don't want to encourage conversation. A large part of the reason that they are so noisy is because the acoustics are poor, lots of reverberation due to plenty of flat hard surfaces. Add the loud music and what are you gonna do, relax and share quality time with the family? No, you're gonna eat and drink and get the hell out so you can think straight and they can seat someone else. Turn 'em and burn 'em! It's all about the volume (of sales). If you do hang around you're likely to drink more booze since you can't talk to anyone anyhow.

D

Hey folks, newbie here (although I did my homework and I'm well-acquainted with the anti-Buffett sentiment running rampant here at TC). Just wanted to chime in and say that I've been to Margaritaville in Orlando twice and had a great time. The baseball caps and elbows on the table didn't bother me at all - it's casual and it's part of what I'd expect at a Buffett-themed restaurant. Of course, it helps if you're a Buffett fan. :wink:

Demerara, welcome to Tiki Central, and I hope the next time I'm in Orlando we can buy each other a drink.

I wouldn't say people weren't enjoying themselves at Margaritaville, and heaven knows the tables were full to overflowing and people were elbowing their way in. I certainly wouldn't mind receiving the monthly check Mr. Buffet gets from this venture.

But my God. My dear sweet God.

D

I wish I knew why I take such violent umbrage at this. It is a mystery to me. But like Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer, there is one thing I do know: whenever I see a man wearing a hat in a restaurant I think "well, why not go to the bathroom at the table as well? If taking your hat off in a restaurant is somehow high-falutin' then should we not also abandon the fancified custom of seeking privacy when we relieve ourselves? I mean, monkeys and dogs at the circus wear funny hats and they certainly aren't shy about calls of nature. Why not go whole-hog, o sullen hat-wearer, thou?"

From one cynic to another your 'violent umbrage' is inspiring. There are so many offenders on so many levels out there it's disgusting, and places like Margaritaville, Hooters, Hard Rock Cafe, Planet Hollywood and others only perpetuate the crime(s). In an earlier post someone mentioned a kid's birthday at Hooters. Unfortunately, that's not the first time I've heard of something like that. I mean that is just beyond ridiculous. Hooters, which for starters is slang for tits, is basically a softcore T&A gauking theme restaurant. I hope those parents are proud of themselves. What did they give their kids as a birthday gift? A subscription to Hustler?

At the cost of sounding self righteous here, I hafta say that I am not offended by foul language or tits, or anything like that. Adults should all have their fun in their adult worlds at their adult times. Please don't get me wrong, I am not campaigning for squeaky clean family entertainment 24/7. But the way I see it, it's not really those adult things that are offensive, it's the context. I think too many people think that by doing things a-la Howard Stern or Opie & Anthony that they are taking some artistic risk, or perceive themselves as some sort of bold button pusher which in reality is just so weak. Pure schoolyard stuff. People just don't have the class they used to have about things in the adult world. Now it's all Stern-a-fied. Penis this, and vagina that, 'whip em out Wednesday' and all that. I mean c'mon! Kids especially have too much access to this stuff, and I've heard people make the "what's the big deal" argument about that subject believe me. Like I said there is a time and place for adult stuff,however, kids just simply ARE NOT mentally capable of comprehending Janet Jackson's tits on TV. How can you go from Elmo to 'wardrobe malfunction' without being totally confused? Most of us here grew up in the 60s and 70s, not the most conservative eras in US history by any means, and stuff today makes those days look tamer AND classier.

So why the violent umbrage?? Because it IS offensive, but that's the world we live in and from where I'm sitting it just looks like it's gonna get worse and Margarittaville or whatever it's called, fits right in.

[ Edited by: donhonyc 2005-11-28 22:47 ]

You guys make some great points.

The images you create are vivid and made me stop and think about Tiki.

One of my favorite things about Tiki is that in Tiki bars or restaurants, I can chat with my companions. Those new loud places prevent that - I had never been smart enough to figure out the churn and burn part, but what an eye opener!

To wax snobbish for a minute, I always thought the engineered noise and pandemonium was purely to distract people in a way the does not encourage interraction - like those places make it so everyone is in the place together, but they're actually kind of all alone, too. The noise isolates the diners. Could it be that some people consider the noise a good thing in that way? It allows them to feel part of an event or something but not "on the spot" to be present in any more personal way?

The "happiness" in those places frequently seems forced, or anxious, with people seeming to need to be told to be happy. More like a nervous happiness (like your nervous aunt who's always trying to make sure everyone is "happy" at events.)

I don't mind the hats and elbows, either - we have our own "uniforms" we wear at Tki functions, so I figure I better not yell about hats when I am often completely happy sitting between two mates wearing straw Chi Chi hats.

So, thanks for all the thought provocation.

Noisy Bars are for a reason - the less time your mouth is used for talking the more likely it is to be used for Drinking. Same thing with uncomfortable seating, they don't want you to settle in and not want to get up to go to the Bar.
Milk and Bread at the back of supermarkets, warm colours in fast food joints, the marketing forces have most people sussed.

Hey! Somebody dissing Nascar? Put up yer dukes!;)

I do have to agree with just about everything said here though. But I look at it this way...its so darn crowded just about everywhere nowadays...thank God for places like these to take a large volume of people and shoehorn 'em in and give 'em somewhere to go....so that places like my favorite little mexican restaurant stays just the way it is.

I'm sure it won't be long before there are NASCAR cafes, if there aren't already.

Here's a shocker. NASCAR Cafe!

http://themeparks.universalstudios.com/orlando/citywalk/dining_restaurants.html

Here's my only problem with this thread - You went to a Theme Park for dinner at a Themed restaurant! Not to mention it is in the epicenter of Tourism.

F

Hey AS, it's the same all over. Theme park or not.

JT, I'll get on board with your "bright-side" view point.

AlohaStation, not to be argumentative, but I'd like to point out that I was taken to this wretched place that has so offended my tender sensibilities. Unlike a suggested trip to Hooters by my peers, which I easily and good-naturedly declined, Margaritaville could not be denied, proffered as it was by an otherwise-very nice client.

I wish the incredibly-great Mad magazine of the early 60s could have had a satirical go at this place. That's what I'd like to see.

Like I said there is a time and place for adult stuff,however, kids just simply ARE NOT mentally capable of comprehending Janet Jackson's tits on TV.

Sorry to go OT for a second, but have you seen Janet lately?

Pray there is never another wardrobe malfunction.

D

but have you seen Janet lately?

Looks more like a dining malfunction....

TM

Dang Satan, that was one of the funniest rants I have read in a while!!!

You are no snob. It is perfectly fine to hate, detest, despise and feel sick from all things buffet.

Heck, I won't even drink a maragarita, and I don't care if they are pretty good or not. Tequila is NOT TIKI!!!!!!

On 2005-11-28 11:08, Satan's Sin wrote:
whenever I see a man wearing a hat in a restaurant I think "well, why not go to the bathroom at the table as well? If taking your hat off in a restaurant is somehow high-falutin' then should we not also abandon the fancified custom of seeking privacy when we relieve ourselves? I mean, monkeys and dogs at the circus wear funny hats and they certainly aren't shy about calls of nature. Why not go whole-hog, o sullen hat-wearer, thou?"

I want to buy the T-Shirt that says this at the Satan's Sin Gift Shop!

Lucas and Zebra, thank you for your kind words.

I am always trying to figure out how to get rich, and I will give The Gift Shoppe of Satan's Sin some serious thought.

I can't believe people took their kid to Hooter's for a birthday party? Does Centerfolds have a tot's birthday room? Larry Flynt's Hustler Room? if so, we'll have baby pineapple's 1st birthday there! I can see it now, he'll be in a frenzy the whole time, boobs everywhere... I've never been to margaritaville, hard rock, but I will say, both sides of the extended pineapple family thinks Olive Garden is fancy. We're snobs too!

GT

On 2005-11-30 16:18, lucas vigor wrote:

Heck, I won't even drink a maragarita, and I don't care if they are pretty good or not. Tequila is NOT TIKI!!!!!!

Wow, are you Tiki only?

I admire your Tiki asceticism!

Here in Vegas, I'd starve or go thirsty if I didn't partake of non-Tiki fare.

TM

If it is even remotely related to Buffet in any way, shape or form...I can't do it!

Honestly, I have tried, but Buffet has ruined my life. The man is such a terrible, terrible musician.

GT

Dude, I'm faced with it every day...all over town he's got his name on every cafeteria style dining experience there is.

Chinese Buffet

All You Can Eat Buffet

Seafood Buffet

Buffet-style dining

It's murder.

Seriously, though, if you shun tequila because he mentions it, I hope for your sake he never sings a song about blow jobs! :D

Sweet Jeezus, Satan's Sin, I practically laughed-up a lung reading your initial post!

All those atrocities and more are present at the Margaritaville Cantina in Las Vegas including visibly uncomfortable, singing waiters who herald the arrival of a half-naked young girl, who suddenly slides from the rafters down the side of a smoldering volcano into a Giant Blender!

After splashing about for a few moments, she's dragged from the fluorescent liquid only to be suspended drenched and wriggling over the dining room on a giant gleaming fishhook.

This display coaxes the roaring approval of the restaurant's predominantly male customers despite being repeated almost every fifteen minutes.

J

On 2005-11-27 08:43, Chip and Andy wrote:
Why don't we get together and build a 'Mai-Tai'ville, or Zombie-a-rama, or some other silly version of a good drink name.....

Something like that sorta already exists. http://www.kahunaville.com/index2.htm

I've never been there, but the pictures on the website makes it look like a Rainforest Cafe, but with tikis in it rather than jungle animals.

On 2006-01-13 13:50, joefla70 wrote:

...never been there, but the pictures on the website makes it look like a Rainforest Cafe, but with tikis in it rather than jungle animals.

I don't know where those Tikis are but they certainly weren't at the Kahunaville in Las Vegas when I went. I was jonesing for tiki and apparently missed the one hour per year when Taboo Cove is actually open so ended up at this awful meat market out of blind desperation. Lousy premade slushy drinks in giant dispensers were the "specialty" served in a throbbing Caribbean meets disco ambiance.

Avoid this place at all costs.

I'd have had a far better time pulling on the locked doors of Taboo Cove until my fingers bled.

There is now a Margaritaville at Universal City Walk in Hollywood, CA.

Theme Park Adventure: Margaritaville at Universal City Walk

It is appropriate that they are playing Billy Joel's "Still Rock and Roll to Me". Psuedo rock and roll at a psuedo tiki bar.

[ Edited by: king bushwich the 33rd 2017-02-20 17:19 ]

T

“Seriously, though, if you shun tequila because he mentions it, I hope for your sake he never sings a song about blow jobs! “

JIMMY BUFFETT LYRICS
"Why Don't We Get Drunk"
"Barmaid, bring a pitcher, another round of brew
Honey, why don't we get drunk and screw."

There goes drinking beer and er screwing.

H

:lol:

What about Pina Coladas, rain and cheeseburgers? Are they all off limits???

A theme park inside of a theme park. Pot, meet kettle.

I know I'm early but I wanted to make sure I wished you all a happy...

Grand Opening event March 30th with special performance by Jimmy Buffett

Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville at Universal CityWalk in Hollywood, CA

You have been warned!!

On 2017-03-01 12:24, King Bushwich the 33rd wrote:
Grand Opening event March 30th with special performance by Jimmy Buffett

Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville at Universal CityWalk in Hollywood, CA

You have been warned!!

We should get a Tiki Central group together for this joyous occasion....

T

Jimmy Buffett to Open Margaritaville Retirement Communities....
http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/jimmy-buffett-to-open-margaritaville-retirement-communities-w470492

Could you even Imagine a Tiki Central Retirement Community!
OMG the infighting only the coolest would be able to go to dinner first, Damn it would be a fight a minuet.
There would be seminars about the best tiki diapers, how to make tiki drinks with prune juice, ect....

Everyone there would kill each other in a month just like they did on Easter Island!

I'm in!

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