Back before the suburbs were littered with Starbucks, there was really only one place for teenagers in my town (Cresskill, NJ) to hang out after school - Friendly's in Tenafly. Technically, it is only one town over - but close enough. Last night I met up with some friends from high school at our old haunt; I really wanted to go there because the chain doesn't exist on the west coast.
It's pretty much the same, with some updates in the upholstery and carpeting. When I was a teen I could only never afford an actual dinner unless I came with my family, and that was always so traumatizing, I'd try to order the quickest thing so I wouldn't be seen with my parents. The horror! Not that it helped, Friendly's always has the SLOWEST service.
Things moved pretty quickly last night - and I could finally buy myself a full meal!
This is their patty melt, which comes with grilled onions and swiss. I asked for no cheese but it came anyways. That's Friendly's for ya. I subbed the meat for a Boca Burger.
The fries aren't very crispy or well-seasoned but that's nothing some salt and two big globs of ketchup couldn't fix.
Friendly's really isn't about the food, though. It's all about the dessert! So many nostalgic options, from Fribbles to their infamous Happy Ending sundaes (I believe this signature sundae was named before the X-rated massage term was coined). I didn't see any Watermelon Rolls (their popular sherbert cake) in the freezer case - just this Lemonade one, which didn't exist back in the day.
Feeling ultra nostalgic, I order the Cone Head off the kiddie menu. Two scoops of Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, a hot fudge-dipped sugar cone, whipped cream "hair," and Reese's Pieces candy eyes/nose.
I love catching up with my buddies from high school. My friend Guy Olivieri has written a book too, So You Wanna Be a New York Actor? I remember when we used to be in The Pajama Game together!