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Thread: Old folks' restaurants

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Old folks' restaurants

    Here in Kansas City, there's a chain of family-style restaurants called Waid's. The times I've gone there for breakfast or lunch, I was struck thatr, excepting me, all the customers were senior citizens. Most were much older than the minimum AARP membership age limit, too -- they appeared in their 70s and 80s.

    In my travels, I've noticed that sertain restaurants seem to be popular with the elderly, for some reason, while you don't see the elderly in others. The Village Inn near me is another favorite of the elderly, but in other cities the patronage at a Village Inn is more diverse.

    I've heard "price" used to justify the popularity of certain restaurants, but Waid's is no cheaper than other diners or family-style restarants, like Denny's or Perkins, that has a customer base spanning different age groups. Go to Chili's or Applebee's, where the prices are similar to a restaurant favored by the elderly, and you hardly ever see oldsters eating there, unless they're with younger relatives.

    So ... what are the old folks' restaurants in your area? What do you think makes them attractive for the elderly? Why do young people avoid such places?
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  2. #2
         
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    a sense of community?

    Perhaps they're attracted to those places because it's the hip, happening place to be. You know, get some good mac & cheese in a place where you're surrounded by other people your age.

    I'm not a senior citizen, but I can imagine that sometimes it's nice for them to be able to take a few hours, sit down for a bit and not feel the need to be zooming all over the place in places like Applebee's and Chili's, where turnover is key. (all the 'elderly places' I can think of are cafeteria-type eateries.)

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    It's an interesting question. My first thought is that there are two types of seniors. Some really don't act like 'seniors' in that they are willing to seek out new places, try new foods, measure how good a restaurant is not by how big the portions are, and pay more than $5.95 for a meal without complaining about how expensive it is. Then there is the Old Country Buffet crowd. There is a certain crowd that hangs out in a greasy spoon in most communities. Funny how they seem to think change is bad and pine for the fifties.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    Cracker Barrel.

    I honestly know elderly people who plan their stops on vacations around Cracker Barrel locations. And every one I've ever been in has been swarming with members of the blue-hair brigade.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Golden Corral. Yuck, pseudo-meat.

    Ditto for Cracker Barrel. I think their food is disgusting. I ate there twice and it was all salty (I guess for those whose taste buds are all worn out) and mushy, like it had been pre-digested.

    Any cheap Chinese buffet.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Runner's avatar
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    Definitely Cracker Barrel! I suspect itís the traditional menu and layout. Add in the old time gifts and, as earlier stated, the sense of community and you have a sure fire format for success. We actually enjoy the food and it's a good place to go out to eat with our parents.
    Cheers,
    UrbanRunner
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  7. #7
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    4PM at Old Country Buffet. Stand back or you'll be crushed by the blue hairs in walkers.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Originally posted by Michael Stumpf
    Then there is the Old Country Buffet crowd.
    Heh, that reminds me of my grandfather, he always called the place "the feed troth".

  9. #9
    Member Sue's avatar
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    cracker barrel

    Alright. I could never figure out why sooo many cars stoppped along the highway at cracker barrel. Believe it or not, I always thought it was a cheese shop til I moved out west. My friends in virginia always talked about as nothing much, then I move out here and there is one on the highway. When ever I comment about it.......NO ONE CAN BELIEVE I DON"T KNOW IT'S FAST FOOD!
    I still have NEVER been in one! Do they even have crakers and cheese? Don't tell me, I'd be too disappointed to find out at this point.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Add me to the list of people that have never been in a Cracker Barrel.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian jmf's avatar
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    There are a few restaurants around here which offer seniors' portions of most items on the manu at a reduced price, like a kids' menu only different. I know that brings them in!

  12. #12
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Bill Knapps.

    There were tons in MI and probably in the rest of the midwest as well. My grandma always wanted to go there for her birthday because they would give a discount on your meal that was equal to how old you were (80 years old - 80% discount). Never mind that we always paid, and were willing to pay full price.

    About 2 years ago they started this 'trend' where they were trying to attract a younger crowd and they changed the menu, the actual restaurant style, etc. It was NOT very successful at all, and they are now out of business.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    In NC the old folks were out en mass on sundays but here in DC im not sure if there are that many old folks or if they have left the area. You just dont see many blue hairs on the roads (thank god the roads are scary enough) but I cant think of any old folks type places to eat.



    hummm must think on this one
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    Buffet Style

    Here's a list of "home cookin'" buffet style joints where I've observed a mature patronage.

    Bonanza
    Golden Corral
    Furr's Cafeteria
    Western Sizzlin'
    Old Country Buffet
    Lubby's Cafeteria

    etc.....

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Went to my first Cracker Barrel in Londonderry, NH (excellently planned by NHPlanner) last weekend. Mostly old people and mostly very WASPy looking old people. It was like being in a stereotypical Mid-Western country restaurant - down to the non-ethnic looking customers. I don't know if they were locals or fellow tourists attracted to the country vibe. Their veggies were all mushy like Zoning Goddess wrote but otherwise it was fair.

    My grandparents like the local old people restaurants like Greggs and the Crow's Nest. I think what attracts them is the bland "American" food and critical mass of seniors.

    Will Starbucks be the old people cafe when we're old?

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    The seniors also love Culver's. They wanted to rezone a part of a PCD from medical and professional office to "sit-down" restaurant (with drive-thru). The Plan Board turned down the request. It was the only time I can think of that the Common Council overruled them. The Culver's ended up on another site anyway, though, and this one now has a medical office on it.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Maybe I am 29 going on 80, butÖ I like most all these restaurants (but not buffets, nasty) .

    The fried ochre & dumplings at the Cracker Barrel is pure comfort food. For all you all you have never been or donít like. I am sorry that you are missing out. I am not big on chains, but this one I stop at a lot when in the road.

    Did you know you can get a book on tape at one and return it at another down the road? This is a nice road trip tool.


    My 2 cents.
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  18. #18
    My grandparents like the Bob Evans, Cracker Barrel, and this place in Florida called Stacy's Buffet. I think that old people like these places because they have traditional hometsyle food like chicken, mashed potatoes, chicken fried steak, etc. Places like Applebees have food that is smothered, sauteed, glazed, and marinated in sauces that old people are probably scared of. Now if Applebees could come up with something like Prune Glazed Chicken or Fiber crusted salmon, maybe they would get more old people in there.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    I forgot the "chicken and shells" places like Wright's Chicken Farm and Savini's where you get an infinite amount of chicken, shells, fries and salad for a bargain price. There are lots of them where I work which has the highest percentage of seniors in the state.

    Certain chowder and clamcakes places are big too. The good ones by the shore are too far for many seniors though and attract more beachgoing families.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian ecofem's avatar
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    Bob Evans
    Bill Knapps
    Cracker Barrel

    Any place with Early Bird Specials.

  21. #21
    maudit anglais
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    There is always at least a couple of seniors sitting in a Tim Horton's when you walk in. I think they enjoy it even more that Timmy's has branched into soups/sandwiches/etc.

  22. #22

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    Stucky's
    Bob Evans "Down at the Farm"

    Out here in the west, we have another unique subgenre of the blue hair restaurant. In this case, I would call it "a steel gray buzz cut restaurant. Fairfield's "J. J. North's Grand Buffet" is the highest grossing restaurant in the chain-because the food apparently is identical to military base cuisine. Given our big air force base, the tough old ex-pilots love that buffet!

  23. #23
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Originally posted by Seabishop
    Went to my first Cracker Barrel in Londonderry, NH (excellently planned by NHPlanner) last weekend.
    Thanks, but I can't take credit for that one....it opened a few months before I started here. The conservation commission was key in getting the pond re-established as part of the site development. It was practically dry 4 years ago.

    I'll echo the sentiments on Cracker Barrell and Bob Evans as blue hair havens......
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Originally posted by NHPlanner
    Thanks, but I can't take credit for that one....it opened a few months before I started here. The conservation commission was key in getting the pond re-established as part of the site development. It was practically dry 4 years ago.
    Unfortunately, that shopping plaza was all I saw of the town. It was extremely hot that day and as planner I hold you responsible for the bad weather . I did see my first segway later in Manchester (their birthplace).

  25. #25

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    Never eaten there, I but TOTALLY appreciate the Cracker Barrel for the opportunity to rent a book-on-CD and return it somewhere else. Saved me from chewing nails or plotting global destruction on a long road trip.

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