Big Bad Guru Daddies
Snide Remarks #120
"Big Bad Guru Daddies"
by Eric D. Snider
Published in The Daily Herald on August 11, 2000
I'm currently facing a moral dilemma such as those that plagued Socrates, Sir Thomas More, and Marcia Brady that time when she had two dates to the big dance.
The dilemma is over a new restaurant in Provo called Guru's. It's one of a chain of semi-fast food establishments started by Utahns with the goal of serving quality fare at a reasonable price, while still maintaining an atmosphere of stifling pretentiousness.
And therein lies the quandary. The food at Guru's is great. I've eaten there three times in the last two weeks, making it second only to Wendy's in terms of how much of Eric D. Snider's money it gets. But as much as I love the food, I hate the place, which is so full of itself, it's a wonder it doesn't choke.
The first sign of pretentiousness is when you walk in the door and see a huge picture of Gandhi on the wall (Gandhi of course being well-known for his hearty appetite). Under Gandhi is a quote from Gandhi, which says something like, "Whatever you want to change about the world, start with yourself, 'cause you're not exactly perfect, either, Mr. I-Want-to-Change-the-World." (It is possible that I have projected my own sarcasm onto Mr. Gandhi, for which I apologize, although what's he going to do, beat me up?)
Then you see the menu. There are four major food categories, which are as follows, and which I am not altering in any way: "Ignite the Fire" tacos and burritos; "Stir the Soul" rice bowls; "Self-Fulfilling" pastas; and "Enlightened" salads. There are also beverages to "Quench Your Inner Thirst," as opposed, one assumes, to your outer thirst, which you quench by pouring the beverage over your body. They also have desserts -- very tasty ones, I might add -- which do not have a New Age moniker ("Enlarge Your Butt" is my suggestion).
When I first heard about the place, and how they make their employees do an hour of community service a week, and how the job applications have questions like "What are your lifetime dreams?" and "What are you passionate about?," I naturally expected the food to be vegetarian and for the place to be crawling with hairy-legged waitresses. The fact that the food is good (i.e., non-vegetarian) and the waitresses are normal (i.e., non-hairy) frustrated me. I despise pretension, which oozes through Guru's front doors out on to Center Street; yet I like the food. Do I continue supporting a restaurant that I think is too big for its britches? Or do I ignore the pompous corporate philosophy and just enjoy the tasty vittles? Furthermore, can I go on saying "vittles" when the word is actually spelled "victuals," even though no one pronounces it that way?
Actually, it's all irrelevant, because I will soon have chased Guru's out of business altogether with my own chain of non-pretentious Utah restaurants. The name of these restaurants: The Steak Center ("Where There's Never a Dry, Boring Meating!"). Each Steak Center will have one enormous dining area with basketball hoops at either end, and folding metal chairs and long tables covered in plastic tablecloths. The waiters will be 12- and 13-year-old boys wearing white shirts and their fathers' ties, and at the end of the night, the customers will be asked to help fold up the chairs and tables and vacuum the floor. The main menu items will be the Porterhouse Rockwell Steak, the Primary Rib and the Poor Wayfaring Pan of Beef (all garnished with Parsley P. Pratt), but we'll also have, when it's in season, Eliza R. Snowcrab, and a whole line of "And It Came to Pasta" (including Kraft Moroni & Cheese). Additionally, we'll have breakfast items (including Pearl of Puffed Rice and Frosted Minivans, as well as Adam-ondi-Omelettes) and "In Our Lovely Desserts" (including Fast Sundaes, Gadianton Cobbler and the sinful Laman Meringue Pie).
On the wall, a quote from Gandhi: "Mm-mmm, love that steak!"
Copyright © Eric D. Snider.
This work may not be transmitted via the Internet, nor reproduced in any other way, without written consent from Eric D. Snider.