Allen Iverson is extremely skilled at two things: scoring a basketball and spending money. Iverson is 25th on the NBA’s All-Time scoring list, but he might be No. 1 on the league’s all-time spending list. Matt Barnes, Iverson’s former teammate, once said he dropped $30-40,000 every time he went to a strip club. Iverson denied the claims, but there was no doubt his spending was rampant during his playing days. It wasn’t limited to strip clubs, though. Some of Iverson’s largest indulgences were much simpler, including his affinity for TGI Friday’s. Iverson spent so much money at the TGI Friday’s in Philadelphia that it became the fourth-most profitable chain in the entire country.
Allen Iverson spent a ton of money at TGI Friday’s
Iverson admitted his love for TGI Friday’s during an interview with Complex in 2016. He said the restaurant was his go-to stop after almost every practice and game. Iverson was asked what makes the chain so special to him.
“Just that it’s not too uppity. It’s not bougie,” Iverson told Complex. “It’s a down to Earth restaurant. I like doing things like that. Unless I’m like taking my girl out. I’ll take her to the real expensive, you know, exotic restaurants. Other than that, when I’m hanging with my friends, we just like to go to a spot where we can chill out. And we like the food there, so it’s always been love at Friday’s.”
Many professional athletes only dine at the finest steak houses or cafes, but Iverson isn’t your average professional athlete. All he cared about when he went out to eat was to “get full and have fun.”
Allen Iverson turned TGI Friday’s into “Club Friday’s”
It wasn’t a normal dining experience whenever Iverson rolled up to the TGI Friday’s in Philadelphia. It was a party. He would bring friends and teammates and turn the restaurant into what was known as “Club Friday’s.”
Iverson said the employees at the chain became some of his best friends. The Philadelphia natives who also dined there made it feel like a family experience every time Iverson stepped foot in the restaurant.
TGI Friday’s helped Iverson connect with the city, and, in turn, Iverson helped Friday’s by making it one of the most popular restaurants in the city and across the country.
“I’ll always be attached to it because I remember a lot of the people in Philadelphia were real when they were greeting me at Friday’s. They always made sure I was comfortable. By me going there, it ended up being the No. 4 Friday’s in the country. So, I did a lot for them too,” Iverson said.”
A.I.’s favorite dish at Friday’s? The Philly cheese wrap, of course
Iverson told Complex his favorite meal at TGI Friday’s was always the Philly cheese wrap. And why wouldn’t it be? Philadelphia is famous for its cheesesteaks, and Iverson was as passionate as anyone about the city and its culture.
Beyond the Philly flavor, though, Iverson frequented TGI Friday’s so often because he loved the camaraderie. The employees and patrons were real Philadelphians, just like Iverson. It was his second home.
The TGI Friday’s on Citi Ave. in Philadelphia is simple and authentic, so it reminded Iverson of himself. Iverson probably thought he was just dining at his favorite restaurant, but his fame and power in the city of Philadelphia created one of the most successful chain locations in the entire country.