If you think people are slovenly, gluttonous and obese now, you were obviously asleep through most of the late 80s and early 90s wave of food products. From the gargantuan Great Biggie size at Wendy’s to the twice-fried (in transfat!) french fries at McDonalds, most Americans were never without a gallon-sized jug of sugary cola and something salty to go with it.
I used to ride my bike to elementary school every day in the fourth and fifth grade and, despite my attraction to troll-shaped Farley fruit snacks, I would save a portion of my lunch money to spend elsewhere after school. A few friends and I would pedal our Schwinns up our towns main street to one of the many eateries littering our small suburban town. My most vivid memory of the after school fatfest was at Wendy’s, where a mystical beast of culinary perfection called the SuperBar was born.
If you’re too young or too fat or too dead to remember, Wendy’s once held far more magic than Frosty’s and baked potatoes. It held a white trash buffet of epic, delicious, and cheap proportions. The SuperBar held a veritable United Nations of cuisines from America’s finest cultures. While much of it was a paint-by-numbers salad bar, no one was really there for that nonsense.
In addition to all that green bullshit, the SuperBar held more intriguing secrets behind it’s dusty sneezeguards. For $2.99 you had access to an assortment of Italian and Mexican delights that engulfed the senses.
The Italian portion of the belt-busting buffet was affectionately called “Pasta Pasta” and, you guessed it, held two types of pasta and the choice of a tomato-based or alfredo sauce. The best part, by far, were the garlic breadsticks. Essentially just hamburger rolls slathered in butter and garlic salt, the 9-year-old version of me could crush stacks of these things.
The colorful “Mexican Fiesta” rounded out the trio with an assortment of authentic Mexican dishes like nacho chips with mystery meat, refried beans, and a taco building station.
For dessert, you had your choice of lukewarm chocolate or vanilla pudding that had been sitting at room temperature for 48 hours.
I used to wonder why they got rid of it, and then I remembered how kids like my friends and I would always cause a ruckus, make a mess, and waste 75% of the food we took. It must have been a royal pain in the ass to keep the thing clean and stocked in the face of such pre-teen mayhem.
Charging $2.99 for all you can eat probably wasn’t the best business model either. I can’t imagine, even at that time, that it was very profitable. In fact, I can almost guarantee that quite a bit of money was lost on the SuperBar.
Oh well, it was great while it lasted and still stands as a wonderful memory and reminder of the reasons for my Diabetes and obesity. To simpler times!