- "It's one of those nostalgia places but not done very well."
- —Doc Brown to Marty
The building 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 $50 a bottle as Pepsi Perfect.
There was a Wild Gunman video arcade game on the left side of the Café, and a Pac-Man arcade game (bearing a sign reading PRICELESS ARTIFACT — DO NOT TOUCH) on the right side. The counter with the Pepsi logo was inspired by Japanese design; when Marty McFly ordered a Pepsi Perfect, the bottle rose up in a clear plastic tube from within the counter into the center of one of the large circular recesses bearing the Pepsi logo on the counter top; the tube then descended after Marty removed the bottle. The walls of the cafe were covered with memorabilia, including an American flag next to a flag of the USSR to symbolize the Cold War which reached its height during the early-to-mid 1980s. A wall of television monitors showed re-runs from some of the most popular 1980s television shows: Taxi (1978-1983), Family Ties (1982-1989), Oprah (1986-2011), Miami Vice (1984-1989), The Smurfs (1981-1989), and many others.
As a reference both to the cafe's time as Lou's Aerobic Fitness Center in 1985 and the returning popularity of trends from the 1980's, there were two exercise bikes, on which a man and a woman — whom Griff Tannen orders "Keep pedaling, you two" after throwing Marty Jr. over the counter — were working out. Sports memorabilia from the 1981 and 1988 World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers and Super Bowl XXIII champion San Francisco 49ers and issues of Sports Illustrated adorn the walls, alongside photos of NASA astronauts and Space Shuttle mission patches.
It would appear that Cafe 80's was an international chain, as there was also a branch in Moscow. However, according to the Newsline column on the front page of the October 22, 2015 issue of USA Today, this had closed due to the Russians not being nostalgic about 1980s USSR or Leonid Brezhnev.
The items seen on the menu of the Cafe 80's, and their prices, were as follows:
- Gorbachev Goulash Rambo — 7$
- Fawn Hahn Slice Ollie North Platter — 6$
- Reagan Scramble Salad — 4$
- Princess Di Spud Cake — 3$
- Liberace Fruit Salad — 5$
- Pepsi Perfect — 2$
- 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 and the Pollo de Pope John Paul II.
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 Tannen, 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., 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 in Staffordshire, England in 2015.
- Cafe 80's is a parody of Cafe 50's, due to being in the future.