I’ve taken the liberty of breaking down my idea of how restaurants are organized in the above graph. The following is an in-depth look at each tier. Enjoy!!!
Street Vendors: Street vendors are the lowest level on the totem…pyramid. These would include hot dog vendors, pretzel pushers, and (at some amusement parks) gigantic turkey leg mongers. Their food usually isn’t bad nor is it great. It is what it is: fast, cheap, and usually wrapped in tin foil.
Fast Food: Everyone knows fast food. McDonald’s, Burger King, basically anywhere with a drive through. Another clear indicator is if the menu is numbered. Nobody ever ordered a #5 hold the mayo at Che Ritz. These usually provide a large range of cuisine at reasonable price.
Semi Sit Down: These are your Panera Breads, your Chipotles, your Noodles and Company. Anywhere where the restaurant experience is entirely optional. These are almost always delicious and almost always overpriced. Sanitation here is very rarely an issue as the decor is nice enough that things are usually kept neat and clean while, as most are usually part of a larger chain with big bucks to lose, a sanitation reputation is essential.
Sit Down: These can range from diners to steak houses. Anywhere where you are seated at a table and your food is delivered to you. These are usually nice and pleasant venues with good food and happy staff members. However, you’re at a much bigger risk of getting sick here. Unless part of a larger chain, sit down places don’t usually keep track of what meat is being recalled or what’s being pulled for salmonella or have rigid sanitation standards. When I worked in a sushi restaurant, I was forced to pee in the kitchen sinks to avoid disrupting the dining experience of the guests. I also have a friend who was stricken with a debilitating stomach flu in Colorado after a diner ignored a meat recall. More often than not, you’re going to be just fine. But if a place doesn’t strike you as clean, it’s probably not.
Fine Dining: This is (one would hope) a date night location. Places that aren’t part of a chain and go the extra mile to ensure guest comfort. A good indicator of such a location would be a short menu that may change on a nightly basis or if a sommelier (a wine expert) makes an appearance at any point in the evening. In short, places that I don’t often go to.
Super Fly! Restaurants: This is the adult version of a Chuck-e-Cheese. These are the places you go for birthdays or anniversaries. Ladies, if your boyfriend plans on bringing you here, you better expect to walk out with a ring or else you may end up paying the bill. These restaurants may feature celebrity chefs, an exotic menu, or the infamous six-month waiting list. You will almost certainly be doling out cash in the triple digits to get a table at these joints.
For the most expensive meal ever eaten: http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/story?id=2865908&page=1#.UC2nht2PWxM
For some pretty amazing Super Fly! locations, visit the following links.