I know you've been there, fellas. Your buddy calls you, texts you, emails you - he wants to go to lunch. When ladies go to lunch with each other it's generally because they want to eat something and then talk for a long time. When guys go to lunch with each other it's because one or the other is hangry (hungry+angry) or somebody got a gift card to some restaurant for their birthday. I know I'm perpetuating gender stereotypes, but that's one of the things I do best.
The thing about mandates is that it's always a little awkward to know where to go. Fast food seems too cheap, you know? I don't want my friend to think I'm cheap. I want my friends to think I make a lot of money and that I eat out every day! I won't suggest Wendy's (although you can.) And what if I choose a place that is kind of girly? Then it feels like a date. Choosing a venue is really a crucial part of a mandate. Here are some places you should avoid.
1. Mimi's Cafe. First of all, your mom decorated this place. The service is generally slow, and they literally bus in geriatrics from the local Heaven's Gate Retirement Center. You and your friend have to sit in some "jazzy" booth and pretend you are in the Big Easy? Sippin' a spritzer from a straw? No thanks.
2. Golden Corral. I don't know if they have these outside of Utah. But don't go there. There is poop all over everything. I can't confirm this, but it's a giant buffet and nobody washes their hands. They ring a bell when hot rolls are up and there's a giant stampede and it's all hands, hands, hands. I'm not kidding. If you go here with your friend your friend will think you are gross, or that you have a deathwish.
3. Sushi is great as long as the establishment is seedy and dark. If the establishment is well lit and fancy, you look like a tool. You look like you are showing off to your friend. You look like you wear yoga pants. This would be a nice place to take a lady. Take your friend to the most underground sushi place in town. There's probably poop all over everything there, too, but at least you seem adventurous and not just trashy.
4. Don't go to a romantic place, even if you like the food. Don't put your friend through that. Do you like your friend "more than a friend?" Hmmmmm, ok. But even then you shouldn't go to a romantic place. If someone is playing old standards on a grand piano DO NOT GO INSIDE. Your friend will be frightened. Plus, the food will be so expensive! You don't love your friend that much. And I promise you'll run out of things to talk about (while a waiter lights a candle at your table. Ugh)
Here are some ideas:
1. Go to a sandwich place. Everyone loves a sandwich! I like to go to Sensuous Sandwich even though the title is awkward and my favorite sandwich is the Stimulator (so I have to go ask for an 8 inch Stimulator.) I like it because they slap the food together in front of you and the sandwiches are fat. There's a lot of noise in there as well as competitions to see who can eat the most. People write on the walls and ceilings. I like how I don't have to entertain anyone at Sensuous. There's a lot already going on. If my friend is telling me a boring story I can pretend to listen but also watch some fights break out at other tables.
2. If you have to do fast food, do In-and-Out Burger. It's still kind of classy and they fool you into thinking that the food is fresh and healthy. I buy into these kinds of things easily. You see all types of folks at In-and-Out, and management puts scriptures on the bottom of the drinking cups to remind you that you are on holy ground. DO NOT get the shakes at In-and-Out Burger. They have one flavor: SHAKE.
3. Chili's and/or Appleby's and/or Olive Garden. Because there's a lot of food on your plate and it tastes moderately ok. And it's the same everywhere. These are the places you go to when you can't think of any other places. And they are not romantic at all. Unless you think dime store Indians are romantic (maybe!)
4. Noodles & Company. It's delicious!
Those are my suggestions. Go get 'em, gents!