Grillitan Diner is a shelved idea for a motion picture from Dozerfleet Productions, first envisioned in June of 2002 as Grillboys. It centers around four high school graduates that attempt to run a small burger joint during a summer of discovery in their small town. Meanwhile, several cartoons overlap the action, interpreting what could be happening around the characters as they are oblivious to it.
Wes Sankey fills in as the manager of the local area Grillitan Diner, the only diner of its type in town. He tries to keep the business going while his grandfather is recovering in the hospital. His father is in jail on false charges, and he wants to set things right. He runs it with the help of his friends Reggie Schmelding and Roberto "Bookie" Rodriguez. Understaffed, they fear they won't be able to get the diner to stay open. However, a girl from Wes' school gets a job working in construction. She is so bad at working the cement, that she's fired on the spot. She shows up at a moment when the boys are swamped, and immediately sets to work for them without realizing what she's doing. Wes decides to hire her, and immediately finds himself attracted to her. Valerie McMaline becomes a part of the Grillitan crew.
Almost immediately, Valerie makes Grillitan one of the most popular fast food joints in town. Her random, airheaded remarks inspire various marketing gimmicks, which Wes readily applies towards selling his products better. On days when the store is closed, the foursome embark on plenty of their own adventures. Valerie tries to seduce Wes, but also learn more about her missing father Ben Casling. Her eccentric mother, Audrey McMaline, is scarce on details. Wes tries to get better equipment and improve the store's license, so they can hire more staff. Reggie tries to overcome his lack of confidence in women long enough to ask a girl out. Meanwhile, he seeks to improve his street hockey skills. Bookie tries to keep the budget books at Grillitan managed, but also tries to win the heart of a girl named Juanita.
After one of their whacky adventures leads to Wes having a run-in with the oven thieves that set up his father, after they steal a Blodgett oven from the Grillitan store, Wes is able to prove his father didn't commit the theft that he was charged with and went to jail for. Wes' grandfather returns from the hospital, and helps Wes hire more staff.
While the characters go about their various antics, numerous cartoon characters can be observed doing things all around them. However, the main cast never seem to acknowledge what these cartoon creatures are doing, or even be aware of their existence.
- Gary and Anita Sankey: Wes' parents. Gary is in jail on false charges of oven theft. One of Wes' goals is to prove Gary's innocence. Anita is very nurturing, and is amused by Wes' relationship with Valerie.
- Wes Sankey: The group's token black member, and also the manager at Grillitan. He wants to prove his father's innocence in an oven theft scandal, and keep his grandfather's grill business alive. However, he is still young and wants to live his life.
- Valerie McMaline: Wes' ditzy girlfriend, who is shockingly a savant at cooking. Her red hair and near-endless smile brighten Wes' day, no matter what else happens to make wish he'd stayed asleep.
- Roberto "Bookie" Rodriguez: The bookkeeper/accountant for Grillitan Diner, and token Hispanic in the group. He's prone to dumb luck, though not as much of it as is Valerie.
- Reggie Schmelding: Wes' friend, a jock stereotype even after leaving high school. He wants to be a professional hockey player after college, assuming he ever makes it to college. About the only thing he's clueless about is how to get a girl. His parents Eric Schmelding and Cindy Schmelding seem to be too busy to notice what he gets into.
- Audrey McMaline: Valerie's eccentric mother, who wears leopard-patterned pants and rides a motorcycle. She does all she can to encourage Wes and Valerie's relationship, though she's very secretive about how she met Valerie's father.
- Bernito and Juanita Rodriguez: Bookie's parents, who badger him about everything when he's home. They don't necessarily trust Wes or any of the others.
- Oven thieves: Three bad guys who have a had a habit of stealing ovens from restaurants and selling them on the black market. They stole an oven from a place similar to Grillitan on the other side of town, and framed Gary Sankey for it. It is Wes' obsession to prove their guilt and get his dad out of jail.
- Vicki Hours: A blonde high school grad from Valerie's class. She's stuck up, and takes to tormenting Valerie at every turn.
- Bizarre Rabbit: A white rabbit with red eyes that lives in a bush near the diner. It continually spies on the Grillitan crew, and has visions of a blood-red moon. Nobody's really sure what it's doing there or what it wants. It steals a cheeseburger in one scene, and attacks the oven thieves at another point. When a customer at the Grillitan ends up being tormented by a female lawyer who's good friends with Vicki, she ends up being stalked by the rabbit. It proceeds to make her life hell for a day, then disappears.
- Smiley Cleaner: A yellow smiley face that flies around keeping dishes clean. Nobody in the regular cast seems to be aware of him as a cartoon creature, thinking he's just a generic cleansing spray used to keep the pots and pans clean.
- Grease Depositor: A narcissistic imp that goes around making dishes collect grease from the air. Everything he touches turns greasy as well. His archnemesis is Smiley Cleaner, whom he runs from in panic. At one point, his gets his own song and dance number.
Several songs have been sampled as an idea for what could be a main song for Grillitan. One song that qualified was "Suckers," as performed by Reel Big Fish on their Cheer Up! album. While there was a song titled "Valerie" off the same album, it was ruled as not appropriate. Grillitan Valerie and Reel Big Fish Valerie are too different in characterization.
The Grease Depositor is to get his own song at one point in the story, though it has not been written yet. However, a few lines from it were sampled in AOF 303 at Lansing Community College in February of 2003, for the ARTS 102 class with instructor Brian Bishop. Brian soon regretted hearing the opening jingle, saying it was "way too catchy."
Tie-ins with other works
Grillitan was inspirational enough to warrant an idea for a sequel, though its production seems even less likely. The Grease Depositor number and other features inspired an assignment for ARTS 102 class at Lansing Community College in the spring of 2003. Instead of a "doggy bag," the bag decorated to look like one for that assignment was labeled the Grillitan "Eat-It-Later Bag."
Vicki Hours' surname is shortened from "Hourvitz." Originally, she would have been "Vicki Hourvitz," but the name was changed to avoid needless confusion with Merle Hourvitz from Ciem. This comes from the fact that both characters were given the surname, as both were created with the Tombstone of Life and Death in The Sims 2 before they were given formal first names and roles.
In addition, the Grillitan Diner in this story eventually becomes the name of a chain of restaurants across the nation. Grillitan Diner 2 deals with the hilarity of the growing pains that the original diner staff deal with as they begin franchising their chain, all while they continue to pursue their personal and family goals. The original diner takes place relatively around 2006. By 2019, there's a Grillitan inside of the Hazy Eighties Bowling Alley in Ciem.
Atavera, a former Mod The Sims light mesh creator, produced a neon sign for his Sims 2 lighting collection, sculpted to look like the Grillitan sign. He was unable, however, to get the sign to glow the appropriate color of pink.
The story's comedy of includes many things happening which are not canon to Classic Gerosha, including the never-ending feud between Smiley and the Grease Depositor. Bizarre Rabbit isn't canon either. The diner's existence alone, however, is canon. In spite taking place in Classic Gerosha, no other Classic Gerosha franchises are referenced in Grillitan or its sequel. By contrast, the 2006 version of Path of the Ming-Cho was very much in tune with what was happening in Ciem 2.
A Grillitan ad was planned to feature in Pekins as a mural that Cad, Krumple, and Lana waddle past. However, the sign never makes it clear if the restaurant or the movie is being advertised. Cad and Krumple's quest for Hollywood fame is not canon to The Gerosha Chronicles, so this sign is the closest that Pekins comes to hinting at the possibility that it, like Grillitan, shares a universe with Ciem.
Comprehensive Gerosha doesn't acknowledge the Grillitan Diner as valid. It remains to be seen if a Grillitan restaurant chain will exist in Cataclysmic Gerosha, but the events of this story will not be canon to it.
Some years after the original story, Wes and Sankey have married and are expecting a child named Jessica. Reggie got his girl, Jenny Kay. Bookie and Angie Jeffress marry. They all seem like one big happy family, but their diner is too small. After an arsonist starts a fire, the six protagonists buy a larger plot of land, and plot how to make the new Grillitan work.
More whacky hijinks ensue as babies are on the way and the diner tries to adjust to life as a big time restaurant. When Wes' grandfather dies, he bequeaths his fortune to Wes and Valerie; and they use it to improve the diner's chances.
There was a desire since the first Grillitan that a sequel of some sort should exist. In 2005, the plot began to solidify slightly around a new diner. This was enhanced by creating the new diner in The Sims 2, which was a response to the fact that the original diner wasn't forming properly in the original. The new diner was offered as a download for Utterly Sims until the cancellation of that brand in 2012.
It was submitted in 2006 to Mod The Sims for approval, but was ultimately rejected due to its inclusion of extra bedsheets and other customized items not desired by MTS staff. When DzMD came online, plans were halted for a release of the second diner.