Restaurant That Serves TV Dinners

Status: Real
Daniel Folk writes in with this question: I was watching TV not too long ago and saw a little advertisement about a restaurant in New York that only has TV dinners (Swanson, Lean Cuisine, etc...) on their menu. Supposedly it is a real upscale restaurant and these TV dinners are outrageously priced ($40 - $50). I tried to do a quick Google search for this restaurant but with no success. Have you heard about this restaurant and do you know the name of it?

I've never heard of such a thing (nor has my wife, who's a devoted viewer of the Food TV channel), and I couldn't find anything in a Google search either. Honestly, it sounds like an urban legend. After all, why would someone want to go to a restaurant and pay $40 for a frozen TV dinner? But on the other hand, there are restaurants out there with weird gimmicks (such as that restaurant where meals are served in total darkness), so I wouldn't say that it's definitely not real. Anyone heard of such a place?

Update: Maegan found a restaurant called Ike, located on Second Avenue in the East Village, that serves Swanson's TV dinners, at twice the price you'd pay for them in the store ($6, though not $40-$50). So I've changed the status on this to 'Real'. (It should also be noted that the restaurant doesn't only serve TV dinners.)


Posted on Thu Jan 12, 2006


If Daniel Folk saw a little advertisement for this place himself, as he claims, where does he get the information about "Supposedly it is a real upscale restaurant and these TV dinners are outrageously priced ($40 - $50)"?
I don't think that would have been included in the ad. If he got it from someone else, where did THEY get the information? This sounds like it could have been a fake ad on SNL or MAD-TV or something like that. Or a mis-interpretation of a real ad.
Posted by Matt  on  Thu Jan 12, 2006  at  01:18 PM
This reminds me of the Unwrapped segment I recently saw about $100 Philly Cheese Steak in NY (I think). And people order it. Idiots.
Posted by Joe  on  Thu Jan 12, 2006  at  02:08 PM
Posted by BRENDA  on  Thu Jan 12, 2006  at  02:19 PM
I think I heard of this TV dinner restaurant (maybe on the radio?), but I don't remember any details. I guess it's for people nostalgic for Mom's cooking (if their Moms served TV dinners) who don't want to prepare their own food-- not even to the extent of sticking a frozen dinner in the oven.
Posted by Big Gary on cloud eight  on  Thu Jan 12, 2006  at  04:36 PM
Man, if one of these doesn't really exist, I'm more than willing to open one and sell Hungry Man dinners for $75.
Posted by Chowhound  on  Thu Jan 12, 2006  at  04:48 PM
They have a place like this in Charlotte. They don't serve you commercial brand dinners, rather it is their own "themed" dinners served in a stainless steel trai.
Posted by zeropanic  on  Thu Jan 12, 2006  at  06:03 PM
ooo, just like prison :lol:
Posted by Chuck  on  Thu Jan 12, 2006  at  07:20 PM
I think Chuck is onto something here. Open up a theme restaurant called The Slammer and serve prison food from a cafeteria-type line. Patrons would sit on the bolted-down seats that they used in real jails.

I've had prison food once (don't ask); the bacon was literally more fat than meat. I think it was USDA Okey-dokey grade. The profit on stuff like that would be enormous.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Fri Jan 13, 2006  at  01:44 AM
Maybe they made the food up special for us (as visitors) but the prison food I had wasn't too bad. Just bland.
Posted by Tru  on  Fri Jan 13, 2006  at  08:00 AM
There was a segment on the food network a couple of years ago about a restaurant that did just this very thing. Only they didn't serve "Lean Cuisine" or any of the trendy meals, they served good old fashioned TV dinners, they also had simple mac and cheese, as well as other easy to fix comfort foods from our child hood. From what I remember though the prices weren't that high, I think they were close to double what you would pay for them in the store. It was a pretty cool concept.
Posted by samriklown  on  Fri Jan 13, 2006  at  08:33 AM
At the zoo in Columbus Ohio, there's a big food court building, and they have a couple of restaurants in there. There's this one restaurant..I forget what it's called, but it's the very first restaurant. It's based on companies that make TV Dinners..and I think they base the food they make off their TV dinner dishes. I could be wrong, though. Maybe they just make normal food.

Well, whatever they do, the food isn't $40-$50. More like..$4-$5.
Posted by Sakano  on  Fri Jan 13, 2006  at  09:53 AM
Ah ha! I looked it up. The site just says Stouffer's/Lean Cuisine, but I could have sworn the restaurant's full name was Stouffer's/Lean Cuisine's American Diner. Don't take my word for it, though.
Posted by Sakano  on  Fri Jan 13, 2006  at  10:12 AM
I found this:
Posted by Maegan  on  Fri Jan 13, 2006  at  10:22 AM
I have heard of restaurants that were exposed for serving food (at over-inflated prices) that was originally a frozen food product, but passed off as a dish prepared by the chef. I heard this by word of mouth, but from a relatively reliable source who had seen it on a British TV show.
Posted by Pixie  on  Fri Jan 13, 2006  at  11:18 AM
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