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St. Louis, MO - Maggianos vs Macaroni Grill [moved from Midwest board]

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I received a gift card for Christmas with my choice of either restaurant. Do STL Chowhounds have a preference? Thanks!

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  1. Find one of those magician's coins with two heads on it. Flip it. Call tails. Both are owned by the corporate giant Brinker of Chili's fame and other culinary delights. You could always re-gift it and go to a good place, of which I'm imagining there are a few in St. Louis...on "the hill"? is that what y'all call that neighborhood....I know Providence RI has a "hill", but it seems like St. Louis does also... of course, if you like sugary tomato sauces and cheese dollopped in all manner of places where it shouldn't be, then go for either. I'm sure they will be equally satisfying, just like their corporate handbook dictates....

    4 Replies
    1. re: sambamaster

      Flip a two-headed coin and call tails: I like it! And, alas, I have to agree. Maggianos (on Brentwood: don't know if they have more than one) would get a slight nod from me (but re-gifting sounds like the best idea).

      1. re: sambamaster

        Oh, don't be so snobbish! Look, I know they're chains and not haute cuisine but now you're going to scare away anyone who has a definite choice of the two.

        1. re: marymac

          The Chowhound site portends toward something beyond chains, we're supposed to look for the unusual, the spectacular, not the cookie cutter. But I don't think I'm allowed to actually say that. I've eaten at Romano's, it's terrible. I can cook about one million times better Italian with my eyes closed. Would never go back. How could another incarnation of the same idea, sprung from the same womb, be much different?

        2. re: sambamaster

          You should get together a group of people and go to Maggiano's to do the family-style dinner thing that they do - it will still be the same chain-food but a bit of a different experience, which is something....

        3. I've been to Maggiano's in Chicago and Charlotte and enjoyed them both - I say give it a chance!

          1 Reply
          1. re: jbyoga

            My vote goes to Maggiano's as well. Try the "family style" for lunch or dinner. It's a great way to try it.

          2. I have been to Macaroni Grill on the recommendation of a friend who grew up in an Italian family in Brooklyn. I liked it.

            I am not sure, but I think that Macaroni Grill is less expensive, and you stand a better chance of your gift card covering the cost of your meal...

            1. The original comment has been removed
              1. Well, I wouldn't say they are both crap, but given the great Italian places in St. Louis, why would you bother with either one? Romano's used to show a little bit of originality but not anymore. Maggiano's is OK but not great either. I would say Maggiano's but going back to the re-gifting idea, do that and go someplace decent.

              2. The original comment has been removed