9 Things You Didn’t Know About Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

This ‘Forrest Gump’-inspired chain is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year

The first Bubba Gump opened in 1996. 

In the (very limited) pantheon of chain restaurants that were directly inspired by a movie (is Goodburger still a thing?), Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. is in all likelihood at the top of the heap. This touristy chain is obviously a spinoff of the 1994 smash Forrest Gump, and even if no visit to Times Square is complete without a Run Across America Sampler, we bet that there’s a lot you don’t know about it.

9 Things You Didn’t Know About Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. (Slideshow)

The first Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. opened two years after Forrest Gump was released, in March 1996. With a name taken from the fictional shrimp company founded by Gump in the film, the concept must have been a no-brainer for the company behind the chain, Viacom Consumer Products. The emphasis there is on seafood with a Southern twist, with popular dishes including shrimp gumbo, shrimp po’boys, “Jenny’s Catch” (tilapia) with lobster butter sauce, Lt. Dan’s Surf and Turf, and Forrest’s Seafood Feast (fried shrimp, fish and chips, and Seafood Hush Pups).

As you might have noticed, the chain’s affiliation with the movie is anything but subtle. On top of menu items being named after characters and dialogue from the film (Bubba’s After the Storm “Bucket of Boat Trash” is an actual dish offered), employees tend to be well-versed in Gump trivia, and each location has a gift shop where guests can purchase themed gear and memorabilia like t-shirts, hot sauce, and even ping pong paddles (of course).

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Today, the chain is no longer affiliated with Paramount Pictures; it was purchased in 2010 by Landry’s, which also owns chains including Claim Jumper, McCormick’s and Schmick’s, Morton’s The Steakhouse, and Rainforest Café. There are about 30 locations worldwide, as well as outposts in London, Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines, and Indonesia. The theme restaurant shows no signs of slowing down, which can only mean one thing: People must still really love Forrest Gump