Chicago Eats: Saved by the Max | chicago foodie girl


Chicago Eats: Saved by the Max

From the late '80s to the early 90s, I was all about Saved by the Bell. My best friend and I watched it every Saturday morning (and later on Tuesdays and Wednesdays once it moved into syndication); after each new episode, we would immediately hop on the phone in order to dissect every moment. My heart firmly belonged to Slater, my best friend was totally a Zack girl, and we both semi hated/wanted to be Kelly and Jessie, so we were a perfect match. We each even had the SBTB board game, so we were able to cultivate our devotion to the Bayside crew outside of our TV screens. While my hardcore devotion eventually died out (Beverly Hills, 90210 stole my heart), I continued watching through the (horrible) season of the college years... and I may even still watch the occasional rerun (don't judge me!)

Needless to say, as soon as I heard about the Saved by the Bell pop-up diner in Wicker Park, I knew I had to make my way over there to live out my twelve-year-old fantasies. Saved by the Max opened last June was initially slated to run only for the month, but due to its popularity (the '90s geeks all came out of the woodwork!), the diner extended its run in Chicago twice; now, it's about to close its doors and head out on tour. Luckily, I was able to snag one of the coveted reservations... and I may have spent the entire week leading up to our dinner alternately singing the theme song and reenacting my favorite scenes from the series (of course, the classic "I’m so excited. I’m so excited. I'm so SCARED" scene topped the list!).

As soon as you walk in the door, you're greeted by your first wave of nostalgia: the well-known row of bright red Bayside lockers where the gang regularly convened. Different lockers are open to the public each day; the night we visited, we were able to explore Zack's locker, as well as Jessie's, which was complete with photos of Slater (*insert massive junior high-level eye roll*) and her famous pill bottle.

Check out Zack's pants!

After passing through the hallway of lockers, you can wander through the front corners of the diner, which are fashioned to replicate Mr. Belding's office and Miss Bliss' classroom.

The nod to the middle school years (sadly, sans Slater), which was originally packaged as Good Morning, Miss Bliss and later folded into the SBTB series when it moved into syndication.

The main part of the diner is modeled after the gang's hangout spot The Max - for any SBTB fan, walking into the dining room is like a dream come true! The designers got everything just right; from the zigzagged shaped door to the jukebox to the video game corner to the bright colors and glossy seats, Saved By the Max is almost an exact replica of The Max.

Bayside Telemanagement Services!

While the original diner was alcohol-free, Saved by the Max offers a range of boozy drinks, including the All in the Malt with almond Jameson, Avion Espresso Liqueur, and spiced chocolate ice cream.

Mac & Screech

Snow White and the Seven Dorks tangy wings

Senior Prom Salad with pork belly, black kale, and warm mustard vinaigrette

Poutine Engel with mushroom Halfwit Coffee red-eye gravy and Tasso Ham

Snack Attack Sundae with Twinkie ice cream and strawberry feuilletine

Dinner was also served with a souvenir pack of SBTB cards!


While I'll never truly know what it was like to walk the halls of Bayside High, Saved by the Max brought me as close as I'll ever be to living out my inner twelve-year-old's fantasy of being a part of the crew. A few tickets are still available for the final seating this week, so make sure you snag them today! Saved by the Max: 1941 W. North Ave. Chicago, IL. 

It's alright 'cause I'm saved by the bell...

ETA: This restaurant has closed. 

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