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80s Popular Restaurants

by Mackenzie

The 80s were a decade of excess, where oversized everything was in vogue. It was a time where flamboyant colors and over confident lines ruled the fashion and entertainment world. The style of clothing, music, art and architecture reflected this theme as it went from conservative to outrageous. Across the country there were restaurants that remained open during these changeable times. Some became staples for their continued service and food quality while others fell victim to high rent prices or changing trends. Here are five iconic restaurants from the 80s that might be overlooked or forgotten today (but in fact, they are more popular now than ever!).

Pizza Hut

Headquartered in Wichita Falls, Texas and founded in 1958, Pizza Hut is famous for sliding down the roof of an airplane pizza being delivered to your front door by a guy wearing a red baseball cap with wings on it. Pizza Hut is everything good about American culture rolled into one slice of deliciousness. They cut out the pie-cutting part and make you a personalized pizza party in about 3 minutes flat. The only thing that constitutes an “error” is when someone places their order for two pies and gets a dozen. We all know the feeling of being left with nothing but two slices of pizza to eat, right? It’s just not fair!


Headquartered in Dublin, Ohio and founded in 1962, Wendy’s is famous for its frosty drinks and burgers. Wendy’s was basically built on the idea of making America’s favorite fast food fare as boring as possible by giving it no personality or character whatsoever. They’ve taken this to heart. It’s all about the Frosty, man. If you’re a fan of Wendy’s, you really have to go out of your way to try something new at the restaurant because their menu is ridiculous.

Ponderosa Steakhouse

Headquartered in St Louis, Missouri and founded in 1967, this restaurant is famous for its steaks and boring decor. Ponderosa was one of America’s first American-influenced steakhouses in St Louis and for a good reason – it was delicious! The ribeye was just out of this world! The menu is pretty boring these days, but they have a great wine list.

El Pollo Loco

Headquartered in Los Angeles California and founded in 1962, El Pollo Loco is famous for its chicken and salsa chicken. El Pollo Loco is a popular Mexican-style chicken chain that started in the South Bay area of San Diego when “Hector” (the founder) decided to open up a few restaurants in his neighborhood by using his brother’s house as part of the restaurant itself! They use a lot of chicken in their dishes (because of all the meat they’re serving up) and if you don’t like that, then you probably shouldn’t be eating Mexican food.

Carrabba’s Italian Grill

Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida and founded in 1983, This restaurant is famous for its classic Italian-American cuisine. Carrabba’s was founded by Mario Carrabba in his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida. He wanted to go out on his own and start his own restaurant which would be authentic and feature classic American-Italian cuisine so everyone could enjoy it. They make the best hand-made pasta and they have an excellent wine list.

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