- "It's one of those nostalgia places but not done very well."
- —Doc Brown to Marty
- "Marty walked quickly to the Café. The door slid aside to let him enter. Doc Brown had called this 'one of those nostalgia places'. The walls were painted in pastel pinks and greens straight out of that new cop show — Miami Vice. But a lot of stuff here Marty didn't recognize at all, or it somehow looked wrong. / He supposed some of it could have come from after 1985. That was weirder still, when he thought about it. He was in a nostalgia place for stuff that hadn't even happened yet! Like what were all these weird yellow squares pinned to one wall, squares that said stuff like 'Baby on Board' and 'Dead Wife in Trunk'? Why would anybody want to use that sort of thing?"
- —From Back to the Future Part II by Craig Shaw Gardner (quote, page 27)
The cafe was located on the site formerly occupied by Lou's Aerobic Fitness Center in 1985, Lou's Cafe in 1955, Sisters of Mercy Soup Kitchen in 1931, and the Palace Saloon in 1885, and which would become that of the Bistro Twenty/15 in 2035.
- "The food counter in the place looked a lot like fast food places Marty was used to in 1985 — but he guessed that was the idea — with a big wall display overhead, complete with pictures of the burgers and other stuff they served. Every seat in the place, though, had a small video screen in front of it, sort of like a 'Watchman', and all the screens were showing images from the 1980s — news clips, movies, rock videos. The sound system was pounding out a song about heaven being only one step away, or something, that Marty thought sounded vaguely familiar. At least there was some good guitar work in it."
- —From Back to the Future Part II by Craig Shaw Gardner (quote, page 27)
The building had architecture inspired by Ettore Sottsass' Memphis Milano design and was painted with pastel colors inspired by Miami Vice. Ronald Reagan, Ayatollah Khomeini and Michael Jackson appeared as Max Headroom-style video waiter simulcra on a television monitor advertising the day's specials; Jackson's hit "Beat It" was also one of the songs used for background music. Pepsi was sold there for "2$" a bottle as Pepsi Perfect.
There was a Wild Gunman video arcade game on the left side of the cafe, and a Pac-Man arcade game (bearing a sign reading PRICELESS ARTIFACT — DO NOT TOUCH!) on the right side. When Marty McFly ordered a Pepsi Perfect, using a $50.00 bill given to him by Dr. Emmett Brown to pay, the bottle rose up in a clear plastic tube from within the counter into the center of one of the large circular recesses bearing the Pepsi logo on the counter top; the tube then descended after Marty removed the bottle. The walls of the cafe were covered with memorabilia, including an American flag next to a flag of the U.S.S.R. to symbolize the Cold War which reached its height during the early to mid 1980s. A wall of television monitors showed reruns from some of the most popular 1980s TV shows: Taxi (1978-1983), Family Ties (1982-1989), Oprah (1986-2011), Miami Vice (1984-1989), The Smurfs (1981-1989), Dallas (1978-1991) and many others.
As a reference both to the cafe's time as Lou's Aerobic Fitness Center in 1985 and the returning popularity of trends from the 1980's, there were two exercise bikes, on which a man and a woman — to whom Griff Tannen ordered "Keep pedaling, you two!" after throwing Marty Jr. over the counter — were working out. Sports memorabilia from the 1981 and 1988 World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers and Super Bowl XXIII champion San Francisco 49ers and issues of Sports Illustrated adorned the walls, alongside photos of NASA astronauts and Space Shuttle mission patches.
It would appear that Cafe 80's was an international chain, as there was also a branch in Moscow. However, according to the Newsline column on the front page of the October 22, 2015 issue of USA Today, this had closed due to the Russians not being nostalgic about 1980s USSR or Leonid Brezhnev.
The items seen on the menu of the Cafe 80's, and their prices, were as follows:
- Gorbachev Goulash — 7$
- Rambo Roughy — 7$
- Fawn Hahn Slice — 6$
- Ollie North Platter — 6$
- Reagan Scramble Salad — 4$
- Princess Di Spud Cake — 3$
- Liberace Fruit Salad — 5$
- Pepsi Perfect — 2$
- Mandarin Orange Slice — 2$
- Biff — 5$
- Egg & Bacoon [sic] — 4$
Note: All dishes and prices shown here are as they were on the genuine prop Cafe 80's menu, including the pricing style — e.g. 7$ instead of the more familiar $7.
Other menu items advertised around the Cafe 80's were the Hostage Special, the Cajun Style Grilled in a Meat Marilyn, Mesquite-grilled Sushi, Pollo de Pope John Paul II, the Springsteen Strudel, the Reagan Scramble, Barbara's Bush Pie, the Sweet Madonna, Noriega Snow Peas, the La Bamba Tortilla Pita, the Tuna Tip O'Neil, and the Huevos ala Charro.
It is unclear as to what the menu item Biff is. Whether this dish was named after Biff Tannen — maybe because he was a longtime regular customer at the Cafe 80's — is perhaps best left to personal preference.
While visiting 2015, Marty intercepted Griff Tannen and his gang to prevent a terrible disaster that would unravel his entire family. He declined an offer to participate in an illegal "opportunity" in place of his son, Marty Jr., thereby completing the original intention of the trip to 2015.
While at the Cafe 80's, Marty encountered Biff, now aged some thirty years from the version seen in 1985 and walking with a cane which had a metal fist as a handle. Thinking he was talking to Marty Jr., Old Biff gave a gloomy foreshadowing to Marty's future saying that Marty McFly was "the man who took his life, and flushed it completely down the toilet."
Immediately afterward, Griff began a disruption that lead to a chase, much like in 1955 with Marty and Biff, but this version being on hoverboards.
Behind the scenes
- Elijah Wood, who would later become famous for portraying Frodo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings (2001 - 2003), is seen in the Cafe 80's scene as one of the two boys who decline a game of Wild Gunman because it was "like a baby's toy."
- According to an early script for the movie, the Cafe 80's is owned by Biff's future son, Biff Tannen, Jr. However, this is never confirmed in the finished version.
- In the actual 2010s, many 80's themed restaurants have opened up — and events like "80's Nights" are increasingly common in many cities.
- A real life Cafe 80's restaurant, complete with the logo from the film (albeit with the shapes reversed), a similar color scheme, and props from Back to the Future Part II, opened in Hanley, Staffordshire, England in 2015.
- Cafe 80's is a parody of Cafe 50's, due to being in the future.
- Back to the Future Part II
- Back to the Future Part II & III
- Super Back to the Future Part II
- Back to the Future: Untold Tales and Alternate Timelines
- ↑ Special "front page wrap" for real life October 22, 2015 issue of USA Today (see 'External links' below)
- Special "front page wrap" for real life October 22, 2015 issue of USA Today
- Free printable copies of the genuine prop Cafe 80s menu
- Automated Waiters - Back to the Predictions
- Cafe 80's Prices - Back to the Predictions
- Hands-free Video Games - Back to the Predictions
- "Keep Pedaling You Two!" - Back to the Predictions
- Woman in the Cafe 80's - Back to the Predictions
- Pepsi Logo - Back to the Predictions
- Pepsi Perfect - Back to the Predictions
- Pepsi Perfect Limited Edition - Back to the Predictions
- Pepsi Perfect may be Imperfect - Back to the Predictions