Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant” is, famously, not really about a restaurant. It’s a pro-counterculture, anti–Vietnam War song that tells the story of Guthrie’s draft induction, with the famous line, “[Y]ou want to know if I’m moral enough to join the Army, burn women, kids, houses, and villages after bein’ a litterbug?”
Today, when the word counterculture more often brings to mind coffee shops, maybe no one will be surprised that Guthrie has helped open an Alice’s Restaurant at Hard Rock Park, a theme park from the folks who brought you the Hard Rock Café. The park opens May 9 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
The bricks-and-mortar Alice’s Restaurant will seat more than 100 people, and feature a comfort-food menu that includes fried green tomatoes, crab cake poppers, and New England clam chowder. The menu is a collaboration between Guthrie and the restaurant’s chef, Tim Head (insert head shop joke here). And, yes, it will be open for Thanksgiving Day (which plays a big part in the song).
“Most theme park food isn’t really cuisine, but they’ve created a nice space here,” Guthrie tells the Georgetown Times. He also says, “And it’s nice to see real foods—you know, stuff that comes from a critter.”
One journalist, Meridith Ford at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, musters up a little sellout outrage, writing, “My how times have changed.” It does seem like a long, improbable path from the Chicago Seven trial to Hard Rock Park, but then, Jerry Rubin became a stockbroker.
All I know is, the waitstaff is sure to get sick of people joking about getting anything they want. I hope there’s a “no substitutions” clause on the menu.