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Suburban Chain Italian Restaurant

from Metric System by Robbie Ellis

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I’m tired of hipster cities, though Edison bulbs are pretty.
The latest restaurant fads cause me disquiet.
This place does only keto? I say, nuh-uh, I veto
That fashionably paleo stone-age diet.
I do not see a future in oat milk and kombucher,
And snarfing tasteless kale can’t be the best way.
If you’re sick of West Loop trends, I encourage you, my friends,
To grab your keys and drive out the expressway.

There’s a place that’s boomer chic,
Free parking seven days a week,
And a white-shirt high school senior’s the maître d’.
Your server may bring on
An eggplant parmigian’
With non-ironic hospitality.
You’ll be offered mighty fine
Montepulciano wine,
Though they’ll serve domestic light beer if you want.
Cheap stucco on the wall
At a typical strip mall:
It’s a surburban chain Italian restaurant!

They will sit you in your seat,
Oh, are you in for a treat
When they bring you out that basket of bread sticks.
This restaurant has the knack
Of salty glutenous crack,
But they haven’t used up all their bag of tricks.
You have filled all up on bread
And your stomach starts to spread.
They serve more lasagne than your loudest aunt.
You are putty in their hands
As the shape of you expands
Across the suburban chain Italian restaurant!

Just say no to the salad.

You’ve cleaned your plate and drained your cup;
Your whole body’s swollen up
Like that girl in Willy Wonka’s factory.
Your meat sweats ache and hurt,
But they grin and ask “Dessert?”
You decide your stomach has a small space free.
Oh your eyes grow wide, you grin,
As you read their menu in
The planet’s most untrendy ugly font.
(That font is Papyrus!)
They will roll you out of there,
Literally roll because you turned into a perfect sphere
At a suburban chain, Amalfi Coast painting,
Sinatra on the speakers, moderate Republican,
Suburban chain Italian restaurant!


from Metric System, released November 4, 2022
Robbie Ellis · lead vocals, piano, bass guitar
Airan Wright · alto, tenor and baritone saxophones
Tage Larsen · trumpets
Gastón Rodella · trombones
José Ciccone · bass trombone
Leonardo Laya · mandolin
Jono Sawyer · drum kit
Chip Aucoin, Alyssa Bailey, Keenan Camp, Jack Chylinski, Louie Cordon, Matt Keeley, Will Nicholson, Jennifer Stuart, Weston Williams · crowd vocals

Music, lyrics and arrangement © Robbie Ellis (APRA) 2020-2022 .

Vocals and trumpets recorded by Matt Griffo at Chicago Recording Boutique.
Crowd vocals recorded by Julia A. Miller at Delmark Records, Chicago.
Bass trombone recorded by Gastón Rodella.
Piano recorded in the Fay & Daniel Levin Performance Studio, WFMT Chicago.
Drums recorded by Louis Bernstone at Ellamy Studios, Auckland.
Edited by Robbie Ellis.
Mixed by Matt Griffo at Chicago Recording Boutique.


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Robbie Ellis Chicago, Illinois

Chicago-based New Zealander Robbie Ellis makes comedy songs. He also composes concert music; is a music director for improv and sketch; and presents classical music radio.

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