During your childhood, was a trip to the mall an exciting all-day thing for other people besides me? From shopping to entertainment to all of the things you ate at the mall in the '90s, going there was something we actually planned. My mom would enter the room and quietly inform me, "We're going to the mall." A hush would sweep over us. We'd need to pick out a cute outfit and practical footwear, make sure we were stocked up on Kleenex and hand sanitizer, and perhaps most importantly, start thinking about what we'd want to eat later. "Go to the bathroom before we leave," Mom would remind me. She'd grab her fanny pack and with that, we were off.
Mall food was its own little adventure in the '90s. Restaurants and cafes were trying to play to children's interests, promising parents they'd keep their little ones happy and satiated. As a result, none of the food was ever that healthy. And also as a result, we were happy as pigs in dirt. I can remember so many of the family outings we had at our local mall, and all of the tasty meals and treats we feasted on. Those were the days. Remember these?
1. An Enormous Slice Of Pizza From Sbarro
Let's be honest: It wasn't so much a slice of pizza as it was a grease-soaked paper plate with a little bit of pizza resting on top. Did that stop us from loving it? HA! No. My mom never wanted to take us there because the grease was so intense; but I still dropped by with friends every once in a blue moon. And to this day, whenever I pass a pizza joint that even reminds me of Sbarro, I imagine face-planting into a cheesy slice of pepperoni. Nom nom nom.
2. The Magic Of Dippin' Dots
My sister loved these, while I remember being weirded out at the thought of eating ice cream balls. Then, one day, I gave the balls a chance. They were other-worldly, beyond delicious. We are not worthy. Now, whenever I pass the single-serve Dippin' Dots in the freezer section of my local grocery store, I have to force myself to run away.
3. Wetzel's Pretzels
The pretzels of the gods. Some people loved to dip these in mustard (I mean, why?); others loved the cinnamon-sugar variation. I myself preferred the traditional, plain pretzel. It was the size of your face, had giant chunks of salt on it, and was dripping in butter. My arteries are hardening just thinking about it.
4. A Giant Sack of Gummies From The Sweet Factory
Anytime your parents asked where you wanted to go for dinner, the first words to fly out of your mouth were "Sweet Factory!" Who cared that it wasn't actually a food court option? To our young minds, candy was a totally acceptable meal replacement. You'd gnaw on those gummies until your teeth were about to fall out, and you'd feel such happiness.
5. Orange Julius
Orange Julius started as a blended drink that included oranges; but by the '90s, we were drinking the Creme Supreme and their refreshing fruit smoothies. We love our Jamba Juice and Tropical Smoothie fare these days, but Orange Julius will always hold a special place in our hearts.
6. Panda Express Gourmet Chinese Food
We never really knew for sure what we were eating; but we knew it was delicious. We also knew that it would send us into one epic food coma that upon awakening from, we'd eat whatever was left of our Panda Express take-out. Orange chicken for the win!
7. Dave & Buster's or Chuck E. Cheese
This place was a BFF to parents everywhere, because they'd feed your kids and keep them busy with games for hours on end. Leaving at the end of the night was always so depressing. You'd mutter one last pathetic "Bye bye, Dave and Buster" over your shoulder and pray you'd be back next week.
Sonic has been around since the '50s, but I can clearly remember it being a '90s mall staple. Their food is dangerously good, and they're always coming out with these creative new snacks. Darn you, Sonic!
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