The American franchise known for its playfully kitschy decorations and classic American fare will get a unique new venue in Tokyo’s Gotanda area.
For expats living in Japan, a taste of home can be a little hard to come by. Sure, there are plenty of eateries serving foreign foods like pasta, pizza, and recently even Chipotle-style burritos and such, but, most of the time it’s all a little bastardized to suit local tastes and never quite satisfies those maddening cravings when all you want is a big slice of your hometown’s local pizza or even – *shudder* – Cincinnati chili.
Thus, when those pangs of longing for home start coming, most of us are forced to choose one of a number of foreign chains whose menus remain basically unchanged from their original locations abroad. You’ve got Outback, with its 7-bajillion calorie Bloomin’ Onion that I’m pretty sure is definitely not a thing in Australia, McDonald’s and other fast food chains, like T.G.I. Friday’s…
That last one has proven a hit with expats and Japanese people alike, with its relatively varied menu, big portions and, to Japanese eyes anyway, unironically “fun” “American” atmosphere.
And it’s the atmosphere that T.G.I. Friday’s is hoping to capitalize on with a new location near Tokyo’s Gotanda Station, doubling down on the Americana with a Hollywood theme that the chain says will be different from established Friday’s locations in Japan. This one will actually be built directly into a building that once housed a former movie theater, and will feature replica Hollywood film memorabilia and posters. The restaurant’s operators hope to bring families and businessmen from the area, who presumably have not seen Office Space, in with the appeal of this Hollywood atmosphere.
The Gotanda venue will share established Japanese Friday’s locations’ signature flair bartending shows, which the Japanese, noted lovers of the 1980s film Cocktail, must believe happen just spontaneously all across America. For the record, American chains may or may not also do these; at least in my hometown location they didn’t, but that may just be due to one too many mishaps of customers taking a Smirnoff bottle to the face in the past.
For expats living around the Gotanda area, this may become a standard go-to for a taste of home starting July 1.
Source and Images: Watami Group