Months after the announcement of its impending arrival, the highly anticipated Saved By the Bell-themed Saved By the Max pop-up diner officially opens tomorrow. Luckily, we were able to pop in a bit early and check it out before madness ensues. The space is every bit the nostalgia bomb you might have expected it would be—mini jukeboxes are scattered around the cafe, arcade games are nestled in one corner, and bright red lockers line the entryway. And while the throwback ambience and decor are the diner’s main draws, the food and cocktails don’t just play supporting roles. Chef Brian Fisher of Michelin-starred Chicago restaurants Schwa and Entente has created a menu of diner classics that are worth a visit in their own right, even if you aren’t a Saved by the Bell fan. From Korean fried chicken to a twist on the Monte Cristo sandwich, Saved By the Max would make the preppies proud.
Beat Valley Buttermilk Pancakes
“Buttermilk pancakes studded with Niman Ranch bacon and bananas topped with peanut butter pancake syrup and whipped cream. Fuel up for your next match against our collective sworn nemeses, Valley.”
“Rum your fingers through your hair, smirk, and raise those eyebrows with a banana daiquiri in hand. Martel VS, Plantation Pineapple Rum, banana, lime, and a bitters.”
Tori’s Fried Chicken
“Coconut milk waffle with Korean fried chicken and spiced maple syrup. Harley not included.”
“Dreaming of Stansbury, the Harvard of the West. Martel VS, passion fruit, almond, lime, coconut, Groundwork Green Tea, and bursting boba. High S.A.T. scores not promised.”
“Feel the cool draft of this charmer, Cucumber Plymouth Gin, Suze, lime, and tonic. On draft, earlier pun intended.”
The Kelly Kapowski
“Monte KAPOWski Cristo. This homecoming queen of a sandwich features Niman Ranch prosciutto, gruyere cheese, Kewpie mayonnaise, and whole grain mustard on Baker’s Kneaded Levain dipped in Goose Island batter and griddled with spiced maple syrup and your choice of side.”
“Spring Break’s finest Paloma, our style, on draft. Herbed Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, carrot, lemon, Chartreuse, soda, and salt.”
“The Max’s diner burger, an American classic, topped with American cheese, Kewpie mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, and red onion on a sesame seed English muffin with your choice of side. Vegetarian? Try our Impossible Bayside Burger!”
The Albert Clifford
“A sleeveless classic! Olmeca Altos Plata, pineapple, avocado, jalapeño, lime, agave, and a chile-salted rim all come together to make this margarita.”
Surprise! If the stars align, you might bump into Ed Alonzo, the original cast member who played the kooky, magic-loving owner of the Max. Alonzo will be making surprise visits throughout the diner’s opening week.
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