If you've been to The Cheesecake Factory, you've probably wondered, "What the heck is going on in here?" for a couple second before diving into a slice of cheesecake and forgetting about it. Twitter user @MaxKriegerVG could not forget. In an incredible thread, they outlined everything that's not quite right about the chain eatery, and the level of detail in their analysis will make it impossible for you to ever look the same way at a Cheesecake Factory ever again:
If you want a fully immersive "postmodern design hellscape" themed dining experience I highly recommend dinner at The Cheesecake Factory— max sledroom ❄ (@MaxKriegerVG) November 17, 2017
from a design perspective that place is fuckin wild and I'll talk a little bit about why pic.twitter.com/0RHFDjKsuo
The Cheesecake Factory essentially grew out of a Los Angeles bakery business. Then, in 1992, they brought on hospitality designer Rick McCormack and shit went off the rails— max sledroom ❄ (@MaxKriegerVG) November 17, 2017
We're talking VICTORIAN-EGYPTIAN-ROCOCO OFF THE RAILS
The interior is a world of aesthetic chaos that feels like a mix between a Fry's Electronics, an overgrown Panera, and a laser tag arena. It's /sensational/.— max sledroom ❄ (@MaxKriegerVG) November 17, 2017
Palm trees sit aside 2000's-chic glass lighting fixtures, French limestone floors, mosaics, fresco-like murals... pic.twitter.com/kRgFHQh0zw
Pseudo-Egyptian faces top columns with hybrid palm frond/lotus blossom designs and pseudo-heiroglyphics. It's unchecked white exoticism/orientalism run amok w a huge budget. Some elements like the face's "third eye" and the Sauron-like sconces borderline on occult flavor. pic.twitter.com/gXIxT4yfr4— max sledroom ❄ (@MaxKriegerVG) November 17, 2017
TCF blasts you w/ a "luxury dining" aesthetic while cutting some /bizarre/ corners.— max sledroom ❄ (@MaxKriegerVG) November 17, 2017
They serve you water in tankards, seat you in wicker chairs at marble tabletops.
Then you realize your tankards are plastic, your wicker is plastic, and your table is vinyl-lined particle board. pic.twitter.com/5sxUl4I8Fj
Both ostentatiously gaudy and consistently cheap, from the fake plaster walls to the fake wicker chairs, TCF is almost reminiscent of a theme park. The more you stare at this and see elements like the tacky booth cushions and glass dividers slowly emerge, the more surreal it gets pic.twitter.com/9c802tJ0H4— max sledroom ❄ (@MaxKriegerVG) November 17, 2017
The unchecked frenetic design doesn't stop there. Look at the goddamn menu.— max sledroom ❄ (@MaxKriegerVG) November 17, 2017
Or should I say FOUR MENUS - menu, "skinnylicious", drinks, cheesecakes (not desserts, that's different!)
It is the most intentionally obtuse culinary document I've ever seen. It wants to DISORIENT YOU pic.twitter.com/8kOIzhc2XO
-"Quick Bites"— max sledroom ❄ (@MaxKriegerVG) November 17, 2017
are all separate sections. there is no rhyme or reason to them. this menu is not your friend. it is actively trying to mislead you.
mid-menu advertisements for the RESTAURANT YOU HAVE ALREADY CHOSEN TO DINE AT are frequent and deliberately make you lose track of your spot— max sledroom ❄ (@MaxKriegerVG) November 17, 2017
here's one, w/ an entire page of flavor text
this thing feels like a god damn playbill. all the tcf's a stage, and we are but its players pic.twitter.com/loS7e3AUYe
after wandering the menu a while, helplessly, you order and the food arrives. it's good. not bad, not great, but good. better than an applebee's, better than a friday's. i wanted to say i hated it, but in truth, i couldn't. that was probably the most disappointing part of all.— max sledroom ❄ (@MaxKriegerVG) November 17, 2017
And then, at the end of it all, in a cold lonely counter cooler, the cheesecake.— max sledroom ❄ (@MaxKriegerVG) November 17, 2017
my location placed it near the lobby/exit, far from the dining area. alone.
The namesake dish feels utterly inconsequential by the time you reach it.
Perhaps it meant something once. pic.twitter.com/Sau8s5QQa7
To conclude:— max sledroom ❄ (@MaxKriegerVG) November 17, 2017
There is nothing more quintessentially "American capitalism" in flavor than The Cheesecake Factory
Wealth run wild. Chaotic visual fantasies realized w no aesthetic discipline. An obsession with appearance of luxury. Gross excess that excels at feigning its quality
It feels like a relic of another era, one where such a vision was sold to the American public as a utopian concept. It, like the brief period of neoliberalistic prosperity that made it possible, is a fever dream made manifest. Enjoy it while you can.— max sledroom ❄ (@MaxKriegerVG) November 17, 2017
This thread blew up, because it rang so true for readers:
this place looks like the houses i build in the sims or my planet coaster parks— taciturasa (@taciturasa) November 17, 2017
As an non-American this helps me understand why Trump won.— Michael Kill-iher (@nedicus) November 17, 2017
The Cheesecake Factory is America.