V.15 No.44 | 11/2/2006
Fighting Ferns with Raw Fish--Years ago, a friend taught me a new word for those ubiquitous, family-oriented chain restaurants that proliferate near freeway exits. You know the type. Places that are decorated by The Big Metal Turn-of-the-Century Reproduction Sign Company. Places that pour foot-high, neon cocktails with embarrassing names like the "Chattanooga Chocolate Twister." Places where the food is reassuringly bland, Americanized and uncomplicated. She called these places "fern bars."