There’s been enough beating about the bush. I think it’s finally time to tackle the biggest news story surrounding the TCU football team this week.
I’m talking, of course, about LaDainian Tomlinson’s Arby’s Steakhouse.
When news broke Sunday about this possibly real fever dream starring the greatest TCU player of all time, the reaction was, predictably, a bit mixed.
what pic.twitter.com/VNuSzVCLk5— we stan for max duggan (@itmemitch) November 4, 2019
November 4, 2019
LaDainian Tomlinson's Arby's Steakhouse is absolutely in the Fansville universe. It's almost a little too Fansville universe— JASON (@thejasonkirk) November 4, 2019
I’ve never needed to be at anything as much as I need to be at @LT_21’s @Arbys steakhouse— Mike Golic Jr (@MGolicJR57) November 2, 2019
But because we’re serious journalists here at Frogs O’ War and have pledged to bring you only the hardest hitting investigative works, we’ve gone above and beyond. I spent a whole 10 minutes today during my lunch break putting in some research into this steakhouse.
First and foremost, I urge you to check out the website for the steakhouse. (I still have absolutely no idea whether or not to call it a steakhouse, or just to call it a restaurant, or what. For appearance’s sake, and because I respect LT and any restaurant that “Has The Meats,” I’ll indulge them and call it a steakhouse.) On the landing page, you’re greeted with a smiling Tomlinson pointing toward a plate of sandwiches. The ad text below boasts of premium cuts of meat “elegantly composed into a sandwich,” and offers you the opportunity to “celebrate a special occasion” or “host an alone lunch” — one of the sadder phrases ever composed in English or any other language — at the Midtown Manhattan location today.
It’s clear that someone in the Arby’s marketing department had a little too much Horsey Sauce and came up with this idea. Credit LT for being a ready and willing player. And there are some decent jokes on the website — fake reviews complimenting the “expansive” soda selection are a nice touch.
But my investigative work wasn’t limited to visiting the website. I called the number listed on the site — that’s 1-833-99-ARBYS, if you’re curious — expecting to talk to a PR person and get some boilerplate quotes.
Instead, I was greeted by none other than LT himself, or at least a recording of the legend.
“Hi! You’ve reached LaDainian Tomlinson’s Arby’s Steakhouse,” the voice said. I was hooked immediately, even as he gave a very detailed description of where the Arby’s Steakhouse was located in Manhattan, a place roughly 1,800 miles away from me.
Then he got to the keypad options.
Press 1 to leave a message for “me, LaDainian Tomlinson!”
Press 2 to hear LT taste the Garlic Butter Steak Sandwich “using heavy football jargon.”
And so on, and so forth. Hell, you can press 5 and hear recommended soda pairings for a few sandwiches. (Try the Mello Yello with the Steak and Bacon Melt.) If you press 6, you literally just hear the sound of bacon frying. (I’ve pressed 6 quite a bit.)
Somebody at Arby’s went through the the trouble of setting up this hotline. Whoever did so, we thank them for their service, and we also deeply wonder about the inner workings of their brain.
As far as I could tell there were only two things missing from this entire setup. Firstly, I would’ve liked to have seen some sides named in honor of teams LT destroyed in his college career. I’m thinking of a nice “Hawaiian Fricassee,” in remembrance of the time he put up 294 yards and four TDs on the Rainbow Warriors in 2000.
The other thing that’s missing is any sign that this is a joke or a bit, or really any explanation at all. There’s no option, as best as I could determine, to connect with a real Arby’s representative at any time when you dial the number. And nowhere on the website is there information that breaks the fourth wall.
To be clear: I respect that very much. LT has embraced this bit, and now his face is plastered all over the landing page of a mid-tier fast food restaurant to hype up a non-existent steakhouse. I’m not mocking him in any way — I genuinely love everything about this.
It is also by far the strangest thing I’ve ever seen related to TCU, and that includes...well, everything else that’s happened over the last week.