casual dining In the 1980s, casual dining shed its old-fashioned image in favor of something a bit more trendy. Updated menus and light, airy interiors made restaurants like Chili's and Houlihan's popular with families and young adults. Parrots, palm trees and bright neon colors transformed the average seaside restaurant into a thriving beach club. The "Irish pub" theme could be found at eateries like Bennigan's.
pizza Another new trend in the 1980s was the kid-friendly pizza place. At these restaurants, the dining experience included pizza, puppet shows, ball pits and video games. Many kids held their birthday parties at places like Chuck E. Cheese and Showbiz Pizza.
fine dining & trendy spots In the 1980s, upscale dining was all about innovation and freshness. The menu items were light and simple, the decor was understated yet trendy. New gourmet favorites included vegetarian dishes, designer pizzas, southwestern cuisine and blackened seafood. Each meal was exquisitely arranged on a large white plate and paired with the perfect wine. On the west coast, this fresh approach to dining became known as California Cuisine.
Before the main course arrived, hungry diners enjoyed appetizers that were every bit as good as the meal. Especially popular were beer nuggets, pizza puffs, buffalo wings, mozzarella sticks, breaded mushrooms and onion loaf. Yum!
shopping trends There was a time when local retailers could hold their own against the chain stores. By the 1980s, this was no longer true. Shoppers were saying farewell to small specialty shops and spending their money at trendy malls and nationwide chains. In the 1970s, you bought your cute outfits at Tree House and your stereo equipment at Hi-Fi Hutch. In the 1980s, you visited Casual Corner and Silo, just like everyone else.
In the 1980s, it became a standard practice for malls to move their quick-service eateries into a single location, where they could share a common dining area. The concept of the food court had been invented.
California's Sherman Oaks Galleria opened in 1980. This trendy mall was the center of Valley Girl life during its heyday in the 1980s. The mall scenes in Fast Times At Ridgemont High were filmed there, and Moon Unit Zappa's 1982 song Valley Girl also mentions going shopping there.
grocery Shoppers saved money by bagging their own groceries at stores like Omni, Aldi and Cub Foods.