Sean Beckwith: Fast Food Fantasy Island
Welcome to Fast Food Fantasy Island, a competition to find the best fit for a quick bite in Aspen. With the closing of Taster’s and pending end of Domino’s, there will be no large-scale chains in town or cheap order-out pizza, thus forcing locals to drive downvalley for their greasy pleasures.
Although the city of Aspen is allergic to Dollar Menus and other pillars of hangover cures — convincing City Council that fast food won’t corrupt the youth/ruin Aspen’s small town appeal is like trying to tell them that more bike lanes won’t get people out of their cars — it’s more likely that an Arby’s will pop up than an affordable dive bar. Investing in anything but a minimum $75 prix-fixe restaurant is a not-so-secret sauce recipe for turnover. The only option left for affordability is a deal with the McDevil, the Angel of Deepdish, the Cheesy Gordita Demon, Satanic Spicy Chicken or the Cold Cut Killer.
That’s right, Aspen, you’ve finally broke me. Angry food guy is now turning to the dark meat side. I’m now lobbying for the food equivalent of Big Pharma. (It’s proven science that introducing a person to Oxycontin is the same as introducing someone to Chick-Fil-A.)
OK, let’s meet the contestants: Ba-da-ba-ba-bah, I have heart disease (McDonald’s); Pizza Smut (Pizza Hut); Anti-gay, Closed on Sunday Chicken (Chick-Fil-A); Barely Beef Tacos (Taco Bell) and Shoot-First Safari Sandwiches (Jimmy John’s).
Ba-da-ba-ba-bah, I have heart disease
This is the most realistic candidate because they actually had a location in town for years. It was the low key Paradise Bakery closing of 2016. There’s nothing like grabbing a big bag of double cheeseburgers and fries before heading into work to prolong the copy desk on Sundays.
Pretty sure the collective X Games audience had a vigil when they heard that WacArnold’s closed. Personally, I prefer rodeo cheeseburgers from Burger King but after a few rough nights purging BBQ sauce and onion rings, it’s probably better McDonald’s comes because I rarely went there anyway.
The reason why I’m pro Pizza Hut is because I worked at Domino’s in college and if your best pizzas aren’t classics like pepperoni but rather specialty pizzas with white sauce or slices of American cheese instead of sauce, then you don’t make good pizza. Their original crust has the texture of wet cardboard and presumably tastes like it, too. Also, I’d just rather not know the intricacies of the butter paste that’s going on the garlic bread.
Yes, I feel depressed and gross after a grease-filled delivery of pan pizzas and cheese sticks but that’s how you’re supposed to feel when you shut yourself in your house and have someone deliver food to your couch.
Anti-gay, Closed on Sunday Chicken
There’s only one other place I would abuse more than if a Chick-Fil-A came to town. Also, I have to mention they’re closed Sundays, which is a big downside for the hungover crowd, because they’re religious fanatics, which is a big downside for the LGBTQ crowd who likes chicken sandwiches but doesn’t like contributing money to bigots.
There’s also the airport factor to take into account. What’s the airport factor, you ask? Well there’s usually only one Chick-Fil-A per airport terminal and its line never fails to be the longest. I waited 30 to 40 minutes in the Charlotte airport once just for a chicken sandwich and waffle fries. How does that apply to Aspen? Well, like Aspen, everything is crazy expensive at the airport so people flock to the best option as far as value (cost value, not ethical values). So if Aspen got a Chick-Fil-A, I can only assume the lunch line would have similar wait times as the Entrance to Aspen during peak seasons because normal people don’t do sit-down Champagne and caviar lunches.
Barely Beef Tacos
Me staring down the discount meat section or a quick trip to Taco Bell would be dangerous. I would just have to face the reality that my digestive system would be messed up indefinitely. A couple crunchy tacos, a chicken quesadilla, fire sauce and a small Mountain Dew that is still 32 ounces. That’s not even a sentence; it’s my Taco Bell order.
However, I don’t think a Taco Bell would go over well with current “Mexican” restaurants because it would instantly become the best Mexican-related food in town.
Shoot-First Safari Sandwiches
Unfortunately I worked for both Subway and Jimmy John’s in college so I couldn’t pick according to my bias and had to do a normal evaluation. Also, Jimmy John’s would clean up in Aspen. Imagine Grateful Deli but with shorter wait times and deliveries until 2 a.m.
Sign me up for that today. They’re not even that good of sandwiches; they’re just cheap and fast. Also, the smell of their bread doesn’t give me flashbacks to mayonnaise-covered lunch rushes. When other races make fun of white people for excessive use of mayo, I can attest that it’s not a stereotype. Try something else, please. Maybe mustard or oil and vinegar? Not ranch, though, that’s just mayonnaise’s seductive cousin (also, white people, don’t sleep with your cousins).
So which outlet gets the rose and a sit-down with Chris Harrison? Unfortunately, I’ve taken all these establishments to the fantasy suite. The only real winner would be job stability for heart doctors. But if I had to choose, packet of fire sauce held to my eye, it would be Taco Bell. It was always Taco Bell. Viva la indigestioñ.
Sean Beckwith is a copy editor at The Aspen Times. Reach him at email@example.com.
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Proposition EE isn’t a silver bullet against fighting teen smoking or finding funds for public schools, but it is a good start.