If you’re chino and crop-top memories of Saved by the Bell were clouded in recent years by Screech’s sex tape or Lisa Turtle losing it, we have good news. Fans of the ‘90s teen sitcom can now experience a taste of the show in real life thanks to Saved by the Max, a pop-up restaurant modelled after the gang’s after-school hangout. The space, which comes complete with a jukebox, lockers and a payphone, recently opened in Chicago to plenty of fanfare. If you can’t make it to the Max, however, here are five more goofy-but-great theme restaurants where you can indulge your inner dork.
The Trailer Park Lounge & Grill, New York City
No tacky detail was left unturned at this sensory-overload spot in Manhattan. Upon entering the screen door, New Yorkers are transported to a trailer-trash galaxy far, far away, where hard-living mannequins dangle cigarettes from their mouths and the display features books by renowned authors such as Kathy Lee Gifford and Dolly Parton. The menu sticks with Americana basics like sandwiches, burgers and fries while the drink list has cocktails with names like Kiss My Frigid Woo-Woo (it’s made with vodka and peach schnapps), cans of PBR, bottles of Bud Light and pricing for Dom Perignon available upon request. Hey, you never know when that scratch-off is going to hit.
Café Jack, Los Angeles
While this boat-shaped ramshackle restaurant is technically focused on the 1997 blockbuster Titanic and Leo DiCaprio’s protagonist Jack, the secondary theme is total wackiness. Interior décor toggles between Titanic memorabilia, movie stills, random nautical items, murals and the occasional Curious George poster, while diners can sit in private “cabins” and order from a menu of sushi rolls, seafood pastas, chicken katsu and an extensive array of coffee drinks and medicinal teas…just like they did in the movie! (Oh, wait.) There’s also nightly karaoke, tarot card readings and fortune telling, which ironically would have come in quite handy for poor old Jack.
ABQ , London and elsewhere
Based on Walter White’s infamous RV from the beloved series Breaking Bad, this cocktail “lab” named after Albuquerque’s airport code has found serious success in London. After all, who wouldn’t want to don those cool yellow Hazmat suits, concoct “chemically pure” libations in beakers with dry ice and down rock candy made to look like Walt’s coveted crystal blue? Oh, and they also hawk Los Pollos Hermanos chicken out front. The RV recently left London for a world tour of sorts, with Paris as its first stop. How do you say meth in French again?
The Airplane Restaurant, Colorado Springs
This place wins the award for most straightforward name; the restaurant sits inside a fully intact Boeing KC-97 tanker that was built in 1953 to refuel aircraft around the world. While it also includes a brick-and-mortar component—which can seat more than 200 people and features tons of aviation memorabilia and photos on display—42 diners can dine inside the actual plane and feast on aviation-themed fare like Air Tower Nachos and the Philly Flyer sandwich while washing it down with an Arctic B-52 made with Canadian whisky Yukon Jack and, somewhat confusingly, Southern Comfort.
Heart Attack Grill, Las Vegas
If you think that a hospital-themed restaurant that serves disgustingly unhealthy food, rewards patrons over 350 pounds with a free meal and has been the site of couple of actual deaths is too over-the-top to actually succeed, well, you’d be as wrong as a 10,000-calorie meal. The place is still going strong after 11 years. Its current location in Downtown Las Vegas features waitresses in sexy nurse uniforms (and occasionally you’ll see the unapologetic and incendiary founder Jon Basso dressed in a doctor’s coat) hawking a menu of “prescriptions,” including half-pound coronary hot dog topped with chili and cheese, flat liner fries cooked in lard and butterfat vodka-optional milkshakes boasting the world’s highest butterfat content. There’s also an escalating roster of “bypass” burgers, topping out at the $23 “octuple” version, which can arrive topped with 40 slices of bacon for a few extra bucks. As for the vegan menu, it’s got one item on it: cigarettes.