The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Monday, January 05, 2004  


I learned this morning there’s at least one little town in America where Taco Bell is taken very seriously: Green Bay, Wis.

Ahead of this weekend’s match between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Green Bay Packers, William Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News writes about the village by the lake (“Bring it on, Cheeseheads!”):

So why do 70,000 cheese-headed folks -- 70 percent of the town (don’t call it a city - pul-leeez) -- show up at Lambeau Field on any given Sunday? Why has pro football succeeded here and failed in places with a few more folks, like, say, Los Angeles?

It’s not because the people are made of hearty midwestern stock. It’s because THERE’S ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ELSE TO DO THERE!!!

Well, actually, there’s one other thing to do in Green Bay -- drink. Under the heading of “Entertainment,” the Green Bay Press-Gazette’s Web site doesn’t have “Nightlife” but there’s a massive section for “Taverns” -- as if there’s a difference between the Buck Stop Inn and the creatively named Watering Hole Tavern.

You’re certainly better off drinking than eating. The “Restaurant” section lists all nine of Green Bay’s Taco Bells under the heading “ethnic.”

Ethnic. That’s so cute, isn’t it?

This reminds me of a trip to Minneapolis more than 10 years ago during which everyone I met expressed great concern for my well being because I had my first dinner in that city at a Caribbean restaurant: “Oooo, are you alright? I hear the food there is so spicy.”

And do you know what? It really wasn’t. Spicy? Yes. “So spicy”? No. Topic-of-conversation spicy? Definitely not.

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