This week, I took my kids to AJ Bombers for the first time and they were absolutely enthralled by the free peanuts and how it was customary to toss the shells on the floor.
There are thousands of peanut shells on the floor at Bombers, so when you walk around, it makes a delightful crunching sound.
My kids were dramatic with their shell tossing. At one point I had to remind them that shells were not confetti and they could not be thrown in the air. After that, they mastered a system that involved eating peanuts until they had a pile of shells, and then casting them by the handful onto the ground, always with big smiles and at times with sound effects.
This experience reminded me of being a kid and going to the Ground Round on Port Washington Road. I wondered what happened to the Ground Round, and so I did a little research.
Turns out, the chain still exists – there are 30 locations in 13 states – but there were more than 300 locations in the '80s. At that time, the Ground Round was known for playing silent movies, having a mascot named Bingo the Clown, a pay-what-you-weigh night and, of course, the peanut-shelled floors.
Today, the remaining Ground Rounds have a slightly more upscale atmosphere and are not as kid-focused. They no longer serve free peanuts.
Does this mean Bombers is one of the only eateries in the country that encourages shell tossing? Of course, people discard shells on the ground at stadiums, but what about restaurants?
In an age when so many parents are teaching kids not to litter and stressing the importance of recycling, the act of throwing shells on the ground is particularly refreshing – even freeing – for kids from the usual rules. I'm all for it.
As long as it's clear that the behavior starts and ends at Bombers.
The former Gay bar, THE WRECK ROOM, building in the Third Ward that recently had a fire (and currently MATC"S studient union) always had plates of peanuts. Of course, there were shells every where on the floor. One night i arrived at the bar shortly before closing and 3 guys grabbed me and took off my clothes! There i was laying on peanut shells stark naked. Will never forget that!
Texas Roadhouse gives you the little tins for peanuts, but plenty throw them on the ground, it's perfectly fine. Five Guys also lets you do it.
There are plenty of bars that have peanuts on the floor; they say the peanut oil is good for hardwood floors.
Loved the Ground Round. Used to go to the one in Brown Deer as a kid. Pay-what-you-weigh was always a good time. When I was "of age", I was going to the one on Hwy 100 and Bluemound, where Mo's Irish now sits. Their reverse happy hour from 10pm-close was even more fun than pay-what-you-weigh was as a 8 year old.
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