My niece CJ and I recently went to Saved by the Max—the Saved by the Bell-inspired pop up diner in Chicago to celebrate my recent recovery from surgery and the end of seven months of physical therapy. The first time I did physical therapy in 2014 (which took nine months) things ended with a whimper. The day before my last day of PT, I called my cousin Shelly and CJ and asked if they wanted to come over the next day to watch the new documentary on the New Kids on the Block debuting on TVGN. They said yes. However, both of them fell asleep when they came home from work. And I fell fast asleep after coming home from PT; it was lights out for me. This time around, we planned our celebration months in advance, which was important since tickets to The Max sold out in minutes. I have learned about the importance of celebrating milestones when it comes to chronic illness, no matter how small they may seem or how uncertain the future is. If anything, the uncertainty that we live with everyday should give us more reason to celebrate.
Vintage Everything You Can Imagine
There were oodles of photo-opportunities. Virtually every customer wanted a picture with the pay phone—this thirty something couple next to us used it to explain to their two toddler-aged children what a payphone is. Also, there were a couple of vintage arcade video games. And check out the lockers complete with white KEDS shoes hanging, a George Michael photo, and a poster above asking, “Will you go to prom with me?” Everyone remember KKTY 98.6 FM, Bayside’s radio station? There’s even a booth with a DJ spinning records and a KKTY sign above it. They played songs from the show including intro and outtro music; I felt like I was a character in an episode!
Attention To Detail
The attention to detail is astonishing. The neon pick signs, black and white tiled floors, and bright counters with the hanging white lights. Also, the candy colored walls were a thing to behold—it’s as if the opening credits of Saved By the Bell came to life. Amazing, especially when you consider that Saved by the Max will be leaving Chicago after December. When I stepped into The Max, I was immediately transported to a simpler, less cynical time when we weren’t constantly plugged into our gadgets and you actually called people on the phone. Can you imagine if they did that infamous Zack and Kelly breakup episode today? Instead of Zack and Kelly breaking up at the school dance while Jessie and Slater sang How Am I Supposed to Live Without You, Zack wouldn’t hear from Kelly for a few days. Eventually, he’d get a text from Kelly saying it was over. I know several people who have been broken up with via text message—these are adults in their thirties and forties, by the way.
Being at The Max, you are reminded of a time when you passed notes in class, carried a Trapper Keeper, and called up your friends to go out—instead of sitting at home staring at pictures of food on Facebook.
The Food Was Delicious
Equally impressive as the furniture, was the food. I thought when I came to The Max it was going to be nostalgia with a side of fries. But it was so much more than that. I had the Mac & Screech for my appetizer, which was filling. Even the appetizers had generous portions. For my entrée, I had the Bayside Burger, which had two patties with a side a Mr. Belding’s Fries. The burger was juicy but I saved room for dessert, and I am so thankful I did.
My dessert, the Snack Attack was amazing! I’ve never had anything like it. The Snack Attack had bubble gum mochi with fresh strawberries, vanilla wafers, whipped cream, and Strawberry Feuilletine. I had no idea bubble gum mochi even existed. Also, CJ was bowled over by her entrée, Torie’s Fried Chicken, a chicken and waffles concoction that she enjoyed. If you have the opportunity to go, do yourself a favor and get the Snack Attack for your dessert.
At the end of the day, it’s about family. I had a hard time planning an event to celebrate the end of PT. As many chronically ill people know, planning stuff is hard when you’re dealing with fatigue. Sometimes, you lose friends when you get sick. If you were “the planner” in your relationships before illness, it gets lonely when people around you don’t adjust and still expect you to plan everything. I am so grateful for CJ’s initiative and enthusiasm in making this possible! CJ posted this picture with her caption on instagram:
Sorry (not sorry) if I ask you within the space of a minute if you’re fine, if I tell you that I love you on repeat, and crazy enough to thank God in advance for healing and good reports! You are so strong and so beautiful in the darkest times. I am in awe of you. Until you’re healed (and after) I promise to dress up as 90210 or Mad Man with you, do photoshoots everywhere we go, provide endless snapchat fun, and hugs constantly. Oh yeah – about this photo…2 versions of Kelly Kapowski: Preppy Kelly and ‘Take me out Zack’ Kelly. Ha! #savedbythebell #dream
Stay Tuned! Kelly Kapowski Fashion Coming Up
In my next post, I’ll be discussing how to dress like Kelly Kapowski—hair, makeup, and wardrobe. You don’t want to miss it! Make your reservations at Saved By The Max here.
–Your Stylist, Jessica Gimeno