Southern Life

The idea was to get together with some old chums, colleagues from that place with the printing press where we all once worked. My friend Bolly took care of the logistics and the plan was to meet at a Macaroni Grill – boring, bland, but certainly predictable – out here in the northern ’burbs.

The problems – and fun, I guess – started when I arrived at the designated spot and found that the ho-hum Italian restaurant had been replaced with something called The Tilted Kilt! A moment later I spotted my friends standing next to the Kilt’s greeter, everyone waiting for me. Bolly, Butch and Charlie were wearing a smile. The greeter was wearing, well, not much.

The Tilted Kilt, it turns out, is what happens if you take a neighborhood pub and smash it up with a soft-core gentleman’s club. It features an assortment of fried goodies, sandwiches and salads – the ubiquitous fare available at dozens of other chains. What sets The Tilted Kilt apart is the nearly nekkid wait staff.

Waitresses, btw, are called cast members! Go figure. They walk about in plaid halter tops and micro mini-skirts, girl-school stockings and Mary Jane shoes. Along with the tang of fries, chili and beer, sex hangs heavily in the air.

Check out the pub’s website and you learn that the restaurant is in the business of selling “fun” and an “effortless escape” for all its guests. It must be a generational thing, but I thought restaurants were in the business of selling food. And if I want an “effortless escape,” I’ll go to a movie or take a walk.

Randy or Brandy or Candy was our cast member/waitress. She had long blonde hair and blue eyes that sparkled when she smiled. She also had a dragon tattoo that wound itself around her belly, across her back, then dipped into regions I’ll never explore. I was embarrassed for her.

I ordered a house salad and a cup of chili. The food was okay, as was the service. The only real problem came when it was time to leave. I didn’t know if I was suppose to leave a tip on the table or fold up a few dollars and stuff it all into her stockings.

I’m thinking the next time I get together with my friends that we have lunch at Sweet Tomatoes, a soup and salad franchise in our little corner of the world. The only thing at all sexy about the restaurant is its name and the all-you-can-eat dessert bar. A brownie, topped with ice cream and chocolate syrup, is the sort of “fun” I’m willing to pay for and about the only “effortless escape” I’m interested in when eating lunch.

Ron Feinberg’s This&That blog

Ron Feinberg

Ron Feinberg

Ron Feinberg is a veteran journalist who has worked for daily newspapers across the Southeast, including the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville, Fla. and the Charlotte Observer in Charlotte, N.C. He recently retired from The Atlanta Journal Constitution where he had been an editor since 1979. He was the news editor for The Atlanta Journal before it was folded into The Atlanta Constitution in the mid-1980s, then news editor for The Constitution. In the mid-1990s he helped create the AJC's Faith & Values section and served as its first editor