These days it seems like we’ve grown numb to shocking headlines. But the news that Cheesecake Factory is opening a restaurant here in Chattanooga cut through the clutter and affected me in a way that no other recent headlines have. I was sickened. I was outraged. I was motivated. That’s why I created this petition on Change.org in hopes that if enough concerned citizens like myself join together, we can convince Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke to reject Cheesecake Factory’s attempt to build a restaurant here, thereby salvaging the dignity of the Scenic City.
For those of you too culturally enlightened to recognize the name Cheesecake Factory, you’re lucky. Cheesecake Factory is a chain restaurant. If that wasn’t enough to make you hate it already, this particular chain is known for serving obscenely huge portions of familiar favorites like hamburgers, sandwiches, and fried side dishes. Disgusting.
I know what you’re going to say… isn’t that pretty much what every fancy restaurant on Southside serves too? While yes, it’s true that you can get many of those same basic dishes at upscale Southside dining concepts like Feed (sloppy joe and tater tots), Kenny’s (meatball sandwich and fries) or Main Street Meats (fried bologna and pork rinds), those restaurants distinguish themselves in two major ways: they cost more and the portions are much, much smaller. That creates an air of exclusivity and elitism around what’s basically kids food. It’s not rocket science.
But that’s not what’s happening at Cheesecake Factory, where morbidly obese families from distant planets like Ooltewah and Ringold flock to stuff themselves full of diabetes before returning to their trailer parks to pop pharmaceuticals and watch Fox News.
So if you enjoy locally sourced, hand-made, farm-to-table dining concepts with polished concrete floors and colorless walls, your community needs you now more than ever. Only by joining together can we hope to stop Cheesecake Factory from sullying the reputation of a city that’s worked so hard to establish itself as boujee.