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Food on Television

Top 10: Fictional TV Food Establishments

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Tue, May 25, 2010 at 11:00 AM

Even though The French Chef premiered in 1963, the rest of American TV land wasn't exactly keeping up with Julia in that decade. Nor would it catch up in the food department any time soon. But that's fine, because restaurants on television don't focus on the food. Until the non-fictional TV world gets the upper hand, the imagined eateries are more about giving characters unpretentious hang outs, often with the added bonus of down-to-earth employees who embody values of hard work and honesty. (Not that Julia didn't do that either.) Keep reading about our favorite fictional food establishments on television through the years, and check back later for our list of Top 10 over-21 joints.

10. Mel's Diner, Alice

No wonder we often mistakenly refer to the show by the protagonist's place of work instead of the main character herself. Single mother, part-time student and East Coast transplant Alice wasn't the most interesting employee at Mel's greasy spoon in Phoenix. We'd rather swap stories over crappy coffee with the cantankerous cook and boss, or have some Southern waitress tell us off.

9. Edna's Edibles, Facts of Life

Mrs. Garrett put in so many years of hard work managing adolescent hormones at that fancy prep school in Peekskill that she deserved to finally follow her bliss and go into the food business. She parlayed her life experience and cooking lessons in Paris into her own gourmet shop and bakery called Edna's Edibles -- with her loyal girls living next to the store and peddling Carr's water biscuits and such in the shop.

8. The skyscraper restaurant in It's a Living

Back in the era when all of three major networks dominated the airwaves, a show that catered to stereotypes of temperamental chefs, ditsy waitress and sleazy lounge singers could last multiple seasons. How the both restaurant and television industries have changed. But thankfully, the Bonaventure Hotel featured in the show's opening still has its rotating restaurant and bar at the top floor.

7. Peach Pit, Beverly Hills, 90210

In addition to giving the over-privileged kids of Beverly Hills, 90210 a place to hang out, owner Nat Bussichio offered something even more important: hearty doses of perspective learned through dedication and resolve. So they better have been tipping this failed actor at least 20%. The retro simplicity of the Peach Pit provided comfort as Brandon, Brenda, Donna, Andrea, Kelly, Dylan and crew navigated the ups and downs of growing up in fast paced, high pressure Beverly Hills.

6. Arnold's, Happy Days

A great jukebox, successive affable and quirky owners, ample parking. What's not to love? Having an indoor home away from home is also key to surviving those long Milwaukee winters. The Shotz factory could not have been nearly as comfortable for Fonzie's pals, Laverne and Shirley, although Mr. De Fazio's Pizza Bowl looked alright.

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