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What's Cooking

Two brothers give customers a great environment to relax and just hang out in.

This story appears in the April 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Richie Cunningham had one; so did Jack Tripper. One of the mostpopular elements in TV history has been the "hangout."Much like that classic haunt, , the idea for Hard TimesCafé was to create a place where everybody knows yourname.

A former graphic designer, Fred Parker never had a place to hangout . . . so he created his own. In 1980, with no background in therestaurant , he and his brother Jim became co-founders ofthe Hard Times Café by matching their family's chili withsome good beer and . The result was a bonafide hit."It became incredibly popular," says Fred. "We'dhave lines around the block. It was so successful we had to buildothers."

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