Riese’s Team Pick: TGI Fridays Invented Restaurants or Something

Here I am again with another team pick which I’m tempted to introduce by explaining my bizarre attraction to completely random types of information. This time, it’s an interview with Alan Stillman, the guy who invented TGI Fridays because there was no place for single men and women to go and meet each other and drink. The interview is called A Cocktail Party in the Street.

Did you know they like invented the concept of those bar/grill type restaurants? I did not! They invented the waiting list, or something. This guy sold his 15 eventual stores for a million bucks in 1971 and then it became this other thing, and spawned imitators.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3180 articles for us.


  1. Riese, I think you have a thing for chain restaurants. That’s what I’m picking up here.

  2. Alan Stillman sounds like a pretty cool guy. To bad his idea has turned into something I am loath to go to.

  3. i’ve never ever been here. i feel like maybe i’m missing out on something, but then again, not really.

    • Manymanymany years ago I met a girlfriend at one, the waitress sat down in our booth and chatted like it was some type of speed dating/dining. She was very bubbly and would not stop talking/asking questions, (including our menu choices). Literally had to ask her to leave and had a good laugh about about which of us she was hitting on.

      Upon leaving, my friend asked –her red-faced reply was that management had implemented a ‘friendly experience’ for customers and she was forced to do so and ask those questions at every table. We tipped well and left quickly. Awkward.

  4. I was procrastinating and read the whole interview. This whole time I saw TGI Fridays as just another crappy corporate chain that decided throwing random shit all over the walls made restaurants seem fun and cool. An interesting back story, to be sure. But if I had to pick from all the chain bar/grill places, Chili’s is No. 1.

    • Chili’s back story isn’t No. 1. I don’t know their back story. I just like their food the best, was what I meant. Mmm, black bean patty burgers. Endless chips and salsa and margaritas. Mmmmm.

  5. one time in high school i was so high that i puked in a TGI Friday’s parking lot (we inexplicably hung out there a lot). that is all.

  6. I vaguely remember having clown icecream sundaes at TGI Fridays with my dad when I was a very very little girl, before he lost interest in being a father and moved on. That’s the only association I have with TGI Fridays.

    • Aren’t the clown sundaes a staple of Friendly’s? I don’t recall them ever being at TGI Fridays. Friendly’s peanut butter sauce is amazing, FYI.

    • That is the saddest comment I’ve ever seen. I kind of want to hug you right now.

    • that was friendly’s and i love you too and it’s my favorite sundae and i still sometimes crave it, if you want i’ll send you a giftcard.

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