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Jan 1, 2007 05:11 PM

Need your favorite recommendations for sit-down chains

Work is going to take me bouncing across the country in various locales, some of which will be non-cosmopolitan (at least food-wise).

I'll also be on a tight travel schedule and won't have much time (or energy) to explore all the nooks and crannies that places have to offer.

Which leaves me with chains (e.g. Denny's, Carrow's, etc.).

So, I need to know if there are hidden gems you can recommend at any and all chains?


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  1. Ipsedixit, To avoid risking your Chowhound status I suggest you pick up a copy of Jane & Michael Stern's "Road Food". That way you can eat at actual Chowhound destinations.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Leper

      Why are you giving this answer on a board devoted to chains? You're not helping the OP at all. Ipsedizit's Chowhound status will be secure no matter where he/she eats whilst on the road.

      My suggestions:

      Outback Express-their salmon w/rice & veggies is good
      California Pizza Kitchen-I like the pizza w/goat cheese & roasted veggies, and their apps are good too
      Romano's Macaroni Grill-it's been a while since I've eaten there but most everything is good*
      The Cheesecake Factory-their salads are huge and very good
      Mimi's Cafe-I like their onion soup
      BJ's Brewery-I like their Field of Greens Salad. Get a macadamia nut or oatmeal raisin pizookie for dessert!

      *I had a service issue (very slow service!) the last time I was there, and the manager comped the whole check on the spot. A very gracious and quick response to my complaint. Usually the service is very good.

      I have to note that I'm also a Weight Watcher, so I tend to stick to low cal/salad items (except for the CPK pizza!).

      Good luck, and please let us know where you end up eating.

    2. If at all possible, avoid Dennys. As a Chowhound and a Weight Watcher, I've noticed it's close to impossible to eat healthy and satisfactorily there - cheese-drenched side salads and soups with bizarrely high calorie/fat counts. I avoid going there even on long quiet stretches of highway.

      Good luck - I'll be traveling on business frequently this year, so I'm going to keep an eye on this thread.

      1. I don't know about "hidden gem" but Ruby Tuesday's doesn't use trans fats while the others do.

        1 Reply
        1. re: chowser

          Silver Diner is also trans fat free. You can get breakfast all day there, which is another benefit.

        2. Bone Fish grill seems to be spreading - I have consistently had good meals there -

          1. We enjoy Texas Roadhouse. If there is one along your trip, stop by, good ribs, decent prices.

            1 Reply