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While researching independent restaurants along Powers Boulevard for this week's feature story, I reached out to a couple chain restaurants for information. The highlight of this endeavor came with a call to Gunther Toody's Diner.

The scarily boisterous, young female voice greeted me with a polished, lightning-speed "Howdy doody, thanks for calling Gunther Toody's, the American classic, home of the Nickel Burger, this is Dixie, what's shakin', bacon?"

Only after an awkward pause spent mentally processing (Did she just call me swine?) did I manage to state my business. After the call, I of course recited the salutation to the best of my ability to three co-workers. Then I endured the shame of realizing that I'd probably just perpetuated some slick marketing guy's master plan: for people to be so amused by this degrading, campy greeting that they'd actually tell friends. Free advertising. Genius prick.

The experience left me, personally, as resolute as ever to sidestep chain establishments, if for no other reason than to avoid supporting the type of people who turn seemingly sweet girls like Dixie into automatons. And if you detect an undertone of chain-bad/indie-good in my story, you're on target.

Speaking as a traveler and foodie, what makes the world great is diversity, not familiarity in far-off places. Long live the independents!

  • Reaching out to some chain restaurants helped set the tone for this story.

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