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max sledroom ❄️ @MaxKriegerVG
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If you want a fully immersive "postmodern design hellscape" themed dining experience I highly recommend dinner at The Cheesecake Factory

from a design perspective that place is fuckin wild and I'll talk a little bit about why
The Cheesecake Factory essentially grew out of a Los Angeles bakery business. Then, in 1992, they brought on hospitality designer Rick McCormack and shit went off the rails

I mean check out this exterior

greco-roman cornices, seashells above the pseudo-arched doors, topped with a dome airlifted from fucking st. basil's
The interior is a world of aesthetic chaos that feels like a mix between a Fry's Electronics, an overgrown Panera, and a laser tag arena. It's /sensational/.

Palm trees sit aside 2000's-chic glass lighting fixtures, French limestone floors, mosaics, fresco-like murals...
Pseudo-Egyptian faces top columns with hybrid palm frond/lotus blossom designs and pseudo-heiroglyphics. It's unchecked white exoticism/orientalism run amok w a huge budget. Some elements like the face's "third eye" and the Sauron-like sconces borderline on occult flavor.
TCF blasts you w/ a "luxury dining" aesthetic while cutting some /bizarre/ corners.

They serve you water in tankards, seat you in wicker chairs at marble tabletops.

Then you realize your tankards are plastic, your wicker is plastic, and your table is vinyl-lined particle board.
Both ostentatiously gaudy and consistently cheap, from the fake plaster walls to the fake wicker chairs, TCF is almost reminiscent of a theme park. The more you stare at this and see elements like the tacky booth cushions and glass dividers slowly emerge, the more surreal it gets
The unchecked frenetic design doesn't stop there. Look at the goddamn menu.

Or should I say FOUR MENUS - menu, "skinnylicious", drinks, cheesecakes (not desserts, that's different!)

It is the most intentionally obtuse culinary document I've ever seen. It wants to DISORIENT YOU
-"Quick Bites"
-"Super Foods"
-"Skinnylicious" (???)

are all separate sections. there is no rhyme or reason to them. this menu is not your friend. it is actively trying to mislead you.

mid-menu advertisements for the RESTAURANT YOU HAVE ALREADY CHOSEN TO DINE AT are frequent and deliberately make you lose track of your spot

here's one, w/ an entire page of flavor text

this thing feels like a god damn playbill. all the tcf's a stage, and we are but its players
after wandering the menu a while, helplessly, you order and the food arrives. it's good. not bad, not great, but good. better than an applebee's, better than a friday's. i wanted to say i hated it, but in truth, i couldn't. that was probably the most disappointing part of all.
And then, at the end of it all, in a cold lonely counter cooler, the cheesecake.

my location placed it near the lobby/exit, far from the dining area. alone.

The namesake dish feels utterly inconsequential by the time you reach it.

Perhaps it meant something once.
To conclude:

There is nothing more quintessentially "American capitalism" in flavor than The Cheesecake Factory

Wealth run wild. Chaotic visual fantasies realized w no aesthetic discipline. An obsession with appearance of luxury. Gross excess that excels at feigning its quality
It feels like a relic of another era, one where such a vision was sold to the American public as a utopian concept. It, like the brief period of neoliberalistic prosperity that made it possible, is a fever dream made manifest. Enjoy it while you can.
wow uh

this blew up huh
while you're here check out my new video game coming out on monday

i hope that it surpasses even my most creatively perfect work: the time I went ham on The Cheesecake Factory at midnight on a Thursday

ALSO! If you're interested in reading more about the actual design history of The Cheesecake Factory, this article does a far better job than I did at breaking it down!…
alright yall the mentions are too much, I'm flipping the switch! If you wanna contact me for any reason drop me a dm or mention me in another tweet
Hello, good people. There has been an update to this story.

hi. i wrote this.

i am returning to the cheesecake factory to finish what i started, and i'll be livestreaming it for all of you via Periscope.

december 15th, 6:00 PM

live q&a.

please support my absurd quest for self-promotion.
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