What if Kingston…

Kingston restaurants
Today’s “What if Kingston” question was sparked by a conversation I had last night with a friend who’s a violinist, professional riverboat gambler, and nomadic traveler…let’s call him Geoff. Geoff is currently taking up refuge in a HoJo on the outskirts of Tampa Bay, as he makes his way down the eastern seaboard, across the gun-totting south, and back up the friendly west coast to BC. While recounting his adventures thus far, he consistently mentioned the normalcy of oversized fast food portions, and his inability to locate vegetables that had not been deep fried. This reinforced the message derived from Morgan Spurlocks quest to eat McDonald’s for a month, but it also got me fantasizing about the future of Kingston’s culinary landscape. So without further ado, what if Kingston had more American-based franchise restaurants?

To begin, let’s start with restaurants under the category of fast food, specifically burger joints. I don’t know how many times we’ve talked about about making the trek to White Castle (nearest location is in upstate new York), but certainly the Harolds and Kumars of Kingston would appreciate a closer outlet to get their fix of mini burgers and crinkle-cut fries. In case you’re more of a fan of the oversized burgers sold by the likes of Paris Hilton, perhaps a Hardee’s, Jack in the Box or Fatburger would be more to your liking. I should note that Hardee’s will never exist up north due to a trademark dispute that was won by Canada’s own Harvey’s. That said, there is nothing stopping their sister franchise, Carl’s Jr, from opening in Kingston.

Now onto more diverse selections within the realm of fast food. If stranded on an island and given only one food option for the rest of time, it would undoubtedly be pizza. Kingston has its share from Domino’s to Pizza Hut, Pizza Pizza and a ton of smaller and independent pizzerias. That said, the pizza market is anything but saturated, so perhaps a Papa John’s would work in the Limestone City. For the mexican in you there’s Del Taco, while Chick-fil-A could be a viable alternative to Mary Brown’s and KFC. Local fishermen might even rejoice with a hardy “Yaaarrrrr” if a Long John Silver’s sailed into town.

Let’s move slightly away from the deep fryers, and towards Canada’s favorite pastime…drinking coffee. After a quick look in the phone book, there are nearly a dozen Tim Horton’s around this city, while Starbucks, Second Cup, Country Style and all the rest also help in keeping Kingston caffeinated. But just like the abundance of pizza parlors, there’s probably room for more java outlets. Although Krispy Kreme has seriously failed in their foray into Mr. Horton’s neighborhood, I’d welcome the opportunity to have their fresh crack-laced donuts close by. Perhaps a more realistic option for Kingston is Dunkin’ Donuts, who is Timmies biggest roadblock to achieving success in the States.

Last but not least are some of the most desirable, casual sit down dining establishments. I have never experienced the Olive Garden, but after seeing their commercials for unlimited pasta dinners, I am confident that they would rake it if they catered to the university and downtown crowds. Similar to Kelsey’s and all the rest, an Applebee’s, Outback or Boston Market would also be welcome additions to Kingston’s culinary landscape. And although the BC-based Earls, and Toronto’s 24-hour Fran’s are Canadian, they’re at the top of my most wanted in Kingston list. Either could easily fill the void that TD Bank left when they moved from the corner of Brock and King.

Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

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