Welcome back to #TrendingTuesday, and my apologies for not sending out the newsletter last week—I fell incredibly behind and needed to take a little mental breather. But, nevertheless, let’s jump right into one of the hot topics that was trending last night on Twitter.
“Do you know what a SIZZLER was and where did you grow up?”
The question prompted a lot of feedback. But quick, a shoutout to author Anne Helen Petersen, the user who sent out the tweet (@annehelen).
Petersen manages her own newsletter, Culture Study, where she tackles a similar challenge that I try to do here at The Learning Curve—regularly presenting readers with questions, tips, advice and other unique topics that she finds interesting. The link to Culture Study is right here!
Okay, but what is a Sizzler and where, geographically, can you find one?
After some digging, it appears that the general consensus across all social media platforms is that Sizzler is a restaurant that started January 27, 1958, according to the company website, and was primarily located in eastern and western states such as New York, New Jersey, California and Oregon.
Originally called “Sizzler Family Steak House,” it was opened in Culver City, California by Del and Helen Johnson. The restaurant was regularly advertised as a “restaurant within a restaurant,” giving customers the choice between being served at “the grill,” or serving themselves at the buffet.
Some of the tweets responding to Petersen’s question, however, argued that a “sizzler” was actually a “type of short dress with matching panties,” one Twitter user responded. She said that during her adolescence in the 1970s, the outfit was quite popular for little girls. others
Others chimed in, agreeing with the dress outfit being coined a “sizzler.” Some of the women stated the outfits were worn for roller-skating, while other noted their parents would never let them out of the house in such attire.
So, where, geographically, did users say they were from?
The majority of responses advocating for a “sizzler” being known as an outfit came from the Midwestern states.
I’m not shocked by this. Having grown up in Lafayette, Indiana, the first thing that came to my mind while reading the “Sizzler” description was the restaurant Golden Corral. Who’s with me?
Ohio, Michigan, Kansas—sorry, but I don’t think Petersen was referencing your cute skate outfit.
But, my fellow Midwesterners, don’t be disheartened, because you may have heard the restaurant referenced in one of your favorite movies—White Men Can’t Jump.
As one Twitter user pointed out, he only knew about the infamous restaurant within a restaurant because of the scene in the Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes film where Snipes’ character, Sidney Deane, makes a basketball shot to win a bet.
The movie takes place in Venice Beach, California, which, actually still has a Sizzler open to the public.
According to a 2020 news article from NBC-Miami, the chain filed for bankruptcy in September, 2020, amid the Covid-19 pandemic. While, the restaurant used to be found along the east and west coasts, it appears the bankruptcy limited them to operating solely on the western side of the U.S. (except for one random Sizzler still open in Kissimmee, Florida, for some reason).
I called a few of the western locations to be sure the phone-lines were still connected and, sure enough, they’re sizzlin’!
The last thing I’ll mention before wishing y’all a happy Tuesday is that there is a, damn near, five-minute-long commercial from 1991 advertising the steakhouse as the “restaurant for the American people.”
Yep—you heard me. The “restaurant within a restaurant” gives people the choice to be served, or serve themselves. And that is the American Dream… right?
Wholesome American cooking, fresh fish, a variety of salads, wonderful hot appetizers, tantalizing combination platters—oh, and friendly service!
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