When I was a kid in the ‘90s, nothing was more exciting than going to a fast-food restaurant. And although I had fun at all the big chains, like McDonald’s, Burger King, and Pizza Hut, none of them compared to Scrimby’s.
Years before the first Scrimby’s opened in my hometown, we had been seeing commercials for them on TV, but all the locations were in other states I had never heard of, like Texassissippi or East Virginia, or Main. We could only marvel at how delicious their food looked in the ads, and wonder what the chocolate cheeseburgers, vanilla fries, and root beer-flavored root beer tasted like.
Our years of waiting came to an end, however, when they finally opened the first Scrimby’s in our state. It seemed like the whole town came out for it. The line stretched from the door all the way to the next closest Scrimby’s, which was a few states over in Alaskachusetts.
It’s hard to explain exactly what kind of food they served at Scrimby’s, since the menu was always changing with all kinds of specials and fun promotions. My favorite was probably the Double Cheeseburger or maybe the Double Pizza or maybe it was the Double Steak Tartare.
What made everything special was Scrimby’s patented Secret Sauce. Even now, years later, no one knows exactly what herbs and spices went into the sauce, not even the staff. They found the sauce in nature, and they always said they would have to close up shop once the cave they mined it out of dried up, or if whatever that big thing that was moving around in the back of the cave came out.
A night out at Scrimby’s was always a special treat. Usually my parents didn’t let me have soda at home, but when we were at Scrimby’s, I could drink as much Moot Beer, Dr. Pepsi, or Spud as I wanted.
Just like McDonald’s and Burger King, the kids meals at Scrimby’s came with a fun collectible toy. A lot of them were tie-ins to movies I hadn’t seen, like The Pelican Brief, Kramer vs. Kramer, or Ikiru.
But even if I didn’t recognize them, the toys were always really fun to play with, and were usually even more delicious than the food.
Some of them seemed like they were great collectibles, and would end up being worth a lot of money in the future. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to save as many of them as we hoped. Every time I shut the lights off and went to school, the figures would be in a different position when I came back home, and a lot of them disappeared forever without a trace. The few that we were able to save ended up costing us money when we tried to sell them online.
My friend Gary even had his 11th birthday party at Scrimby’s. Unfortunately, the staff messed up and thought it was actually our friend Richie’s birthday, so Rich ended up turning 11 instead, and Gary had to stay 10 for another year. He didn’t seem to mind it, although it must have been tough being the youngest kid in class after that.
We loved climbing up the poles or going down the slides in Scrimby’s Play Zone area, which was a lot more fun than their Sleep Zone and especially their Work Zone, where we all had to get jobs in their kitchen or build new locations.
One thing I always wished was that Scrimby’s had a mascot, like Ronald McDonald or Colonel Sanders. Unfortunately, the staff explained that they were still dealing with the fallout from the last time they revealed what Scrimby looked like, and the generation of children who saw the commercials with him was finally starting to blink again. Thankfully, they were expected to be able to blink both eyes at the same time before they graduated college.
Needless to say, we all loved Scrimby’s. That’s why we were so disappointed when they shut down after a big outbreak of “Scrimb Poisoning” affected the whole town. We’re not totally sure what caused it, but it most likely came from the day they forgot to turn the ovens on.
Funnily enough, as a memento, I still have one box of fries I’ve never touched from Scrimby’s. I save it in the back of my freezer. I doubt I’ll ever actually eat them, they’re more sentimental than anything, but each time I check on them, they look fresher and fresher. Last time I checked the box, it was just a potato.