In 1972, Houlihan's first opened its doors in Kansas City with a progressive, eclectic menu and energetic bar scene. Ferns hung throughout, artifacts cluttered the walls and tapestries made by San Francisco hippies formed the ceiling. Caviar burgers, roasted duck, foot-long hot dogs and fresh carrot juice were just a few original menu items so ahead for its time. It was hot.Before long, there were a lot of 'casual dining' restaurants opening and call us crazy, but they looked a whole lot like us. We tried to be flattered. Some grew really big, and by the '90s, the whole 'casual dining' landscape was pretty me-too. Instead of watching the consumer, the industry seemed more worried about what competitors were doing. Casual dining lost its way, and in doing so lost its edge.