Brow Beat

The Good Place Lives On, in Menu Form

The Food Place lovingly compiles the show’s culinary references. Its creator explains why.

Cartoony images of frozen yogurt; a pot with a ladle; three eggs, one of which is cracked open with the message "I love you" on a piece of paper poking out; and a hot dog in a churro bun tied with Slim Jims.
Images courtesy of Lynn Fisher. Illustration by Slate.

Among the many fanciful frozen yogurt flavors The Good Place has served up over the years are Vanilla Fudge Ripple, Clothes Right Out of the Dryer, and, appropriately enough, Satisfying TV Finale. Those flavors and nearly 150 others are now available to order at the Food Place, which compiles every food or food-adjacent item from the show into one epic menu for a (sadly fake) restaurant. Lynn Fisher, a designer, developer, and artist from Phoenix, took notes and scoured screenshots to create an epic Good Place menu that includes Bad Place snacks like antimatter and shoe sludge alongside some of the show’s standout meals, from Chidi’s Nihilism Chili to an Interdimensional Hole of Pancakes–themed breakfast to Double Trouble, a combined body spray and energy drink.

Such is Fisher’s attention to detail that even little throwaway jokes about food—like Jason literally comparing apples to oranges—find their way into item descriptions. (Apples: You eat their clothes. Oranges: You don’t eat their clothes.) Each dish’s price is set based on the season and episode in which it was mentioned, and cute illustrations of lemon bars and spaghetti discs complete the menu look. Slate spoke to Fisher about the creation of the Food Place, her favorite meals from the show, and how the final season’s cuisine stacked up against seasons past. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Marissa Martinelli: Where did the idea for a menu come from?

Lynn Fisher: I create these weird, overly specific websites about things that I like. They’re kind of like glorified fan sites, I guess. I have a Top Chef stats site, which catalogs a bunch of statistics across all the seasons. I knew I wanted to do something like that for The Good Place.

[Writer] Megan Amram tweeted out a big list of the food-pun restaurants that she’d considered for the show, and that got my brain going. There’s so many cool little details and fun writing choices, like the episode early on in the series with this huge backdrop of fro-yo flavors. I know that people were pausing it to track down what all of them said. Unique food things were consistent across all the seasons, so I started cataloging those.

How did you keep track?

I would watch the show once straight through as it aired, and then I’d go back and rewatch it and catalog the food in this big spreadsheet. There were some foods that were included only as visual gags where I’d have to take screenshots and zoom in. Others were foods that were just mentioned, so I’d watch with the closed captioning on to catch all the jokes. I’m sure there are still some I’ve missed or gotten wrong.

I’m impressed you were able to catch so many fro-yo flavors.

I just took a bunch of screenshots and zoomed in, and any that were legible I put into the site. It’s funny, as I was looking at it, there actually were some duplicates on the list, I guess to fill out that big flavor board.

How did you go about updating the menu for Season 4, which just wrapped last week?

There was a lot of food this season, which was cool. I like that there’s a lot to work with it. One thing I wanted was for the menu to feel like it was laid out intentionally, as if it really was a restaurant and they had a graphic designer or someone working on it, making sure the columns are even. Sometimes there would be a bunch on one column but not another. Like, the clam chowder kind of ran its course in the first season. This season there were a lot of candy references, so I was able to break out all the desserts into a little candy bar.

Menu listings for "Mall Churro Dog," "Chidi's Indecision Sampler," "Chidi's Nihilism Chili," "Fruits de Mer," "Our Famous Clam Chowder," "Eggs," and "Cocktails and Spirits."
Highlights from the Food Place’s menu. Images courtesy of Lynn Fisher. Illustration by Slate.

Were there any other food trends you noticed from season to season?

At the end of Season 3 into Season 4 the fun trend that I saw was Derek and his cocktails, these kind of silly Martinis. First he had a glass full of olives, and then it was a lemon, and then in Season 4 he had a whole onion. That was a fun running gag. There’s lot of things, like doughnuts, that run throughout the entire show, and the Lonely Gal Margarita mix. It was much more shrimp-heavy in Seasons 1 and 2.

You have a key at the top of the menu with some items marked “Recommended,” which include “Tahani’s Maple Butter Scone” and “Four Oreos From Heaven.” What’s the distinction there?

I originally started with the “Recommended” being the things that stood out as being representative of the show, so like the “Big Party Cocktail Shrampies.” But then I went through and decided that maybe they could just be ones that I like. I also think it’s funny that on real restaurant menus, the things that they recommend aren’t necessarily the things that everyone orders, so I was playing around with that a little bit.

That one is a little more random than the “Bad Place Specialty” designation. That one is specifically items that are introduced in or mentioned in the literal Bad Place—not the fake Good Place, but the actual Bad Place.

You, like Eleanor, describe yourself as an “Arizona trashbag.” What did you think of the show’s Mall Churro Dog, an “Arizona delicacy”?

That’s hilarious. I definitely can appreciate all the Arizona punches they take, and I totally see that being a thing. At our Diamondbacks games, our baseball team, they have ridiculous stuff like that, like two-foot-long corndogs full of nacho cheese. They do have something like a churro dog, but it’s not an actual hot dog. It’s a churro in a halved Long John doughnut with fro-yo on it. It’s a good joke. We would totally have something like it.

What is the line for you between food and not food? One of the menu items, Fruit by the Foot That’s Gone Bad, is actually electrical tape that Jason tried to eat off the roll.

If it’s close to not being food, but it’s presented in a way that someone’s gonna eat it, I included it. I also put in as part of this last update the web series that they did in between Seasons 3 and 4 called The Selection. Those ones are all gross-out things in relation to ordering takeout that are mostly not edible.

How excited were you to finally see the inside of Jason’s favorite restaurant, Stupid Nick’s, in this final season?

That was amazing. I kind of went back and forth on whether to include that. The inside is cool, and on the show you can see glimpses of the menu, but I couldn’t decipher most of it from screenshots. The show’s set decorator actually tweeted out really nice quality shots of what the signs actually said. It wasn’t viewable in the show, so I wondered if it was technically canon, but it was too good not to include, so I put a little section in there that describes the sauces for the wings.

You can’t not include flavors like “diet lard” and “contains mercury.”

Totally.

If you could order any fro-yo flavor from the Good Place menu, which would you choose? You can make it a swirl.

Some of them would probably be gross as actual fro-yo, but I would probably do a New York Pizza Slice and Fast Wi-Fi combo, because those are the things I live on. Maybe some Sriracha on top. Oh, or Recognized Actor’s Voice From Commercial Voiceover.