'FESS UP! You know you love chains!
- PJ4 May 10, 2008 09:03 AM
Yes, we all love to act like chain restaurants are beneath us but COME ON! We all go to them and have things we love to eat there. Here is your chance to come clean in (relative) anonymity and not be afraid of losing friends, family members or clients. Tell me your favorite foods at chain restaurants and unburden yourself from the shame!
Macaroni Grill: The free rosemary bread and their new soup, Chicken Toscana.
Bennigan's: Turkey sandwich on a pretzel roll.
Bailey's: Turkey sandwich on a pretzel roll (I like hot pretzels, so what?)
Red Robin: The bbq chicken wrap... it has tortillas strips in it, yummy!
Panera: Cinnamon crunch bagel.
Chevy's: They have the best chips and salsa around. I never order, I just eat the chips and steal the corn pudding from everybody else's plate.
Ruby Tuesday: The mayo based pasta/ham/pea salad on the salad bar is the only reason I go.
Outback: Chopped blue cheese salad and, of course, the blooming onion.
Yeah, I love these too. Bacon, egg and cheese (not a fan of the sausage.) This is definitely one of those items that people either love or hate.
The only annoying thing about them is that they are called McGriddles even if it's just one of them. Is that because there are two griddle cakes that make up a sandwich?
Okay, I'll play.
Five Guys: Cheese burger and fries
Carraba's: Chicken Bryan
Perkin's: Blueberry pancakes
Subway: Tuna Salad
Carl's Jr. - Crispy chicken, bacon, swiss sandwich
Tommy's - Double chili cheeseburger with extra chili and onions.
Claim Jumper - Chopped blue cheese wedge salad.
In n Out - Double Double animal style
OK, I like this game:
MC D's McChicken add honey mustard
Burger King Whopper Double with bacon and cheese (although the new steakburger with bacon is really good with the added onion rings)
Chilis Baby Back Ribs
Ruby Tuesdays salad bar
Texas Roadhouse Ribeye steak
Panera's Another vote for the Cinnammon Crunch Bagel with honey nut cream cheese
Jack in the Box use to have a chocolate cake that I would get up in the middle of the night to hit the drive through.
McDonalds steak, egg and cheese bagel
Dennys chicken ranch melt
Big Boys Super Big Boy sandwich (with extra sauce), Beyond the bun chix sandwich with ranch dressing
Hardees Philly cheesesteak thickburger
Wendys french fries
Cheesecake Factory - Thai Chicken Pasta
Texas Road House - Yeast Rolls and Cinnamon Butter
Claim Jumper - Texas Steak Chili in Sourdough Loaf
Ruby Tuesday - Buffalo Burger
Subway - Club on Honey Oat Bread w/Sweet Onion Sauce mmmmm
Corner Bakery - Tomato Basil Soup in Bread Bowl
Panera: Veggie soup, greek salad, cinnamon crunch bagel with hazelnut cream cheese, asiago cheese bread
PF Changs: Vegetarian lettuce wraps, YUM!!
Friendly's: Vegetable fajita quesadilla (hello, hangover cure!!)
Starbucks: Venti skinny mocha, extra hot
McDonald's: Southwest Salad(I know, I know. But I'm a college kid on a budget)
Chili's: Chips and salsa, Quesadilla explosion salad sans chicken
Ruby Tuesday: Salad bar! They have pumpernickel croutons, baby bella mushrooms and edamame! YUMMM!!
Quiznos: Veggie sandwich without cheese, but extra mushrooms
Ohh to live in a place that is overrun with chains, LOL
KFC - bucket of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and biscuits (with the family in the park)
MCDONALD's - 90% of their breakfast items. best sausage gravy and biscuits i've ever eaten, and the pancakes are just amazing.
FAMOUS DAVE's - smoked salmon dip
SUBWAY - tuna salad sub with extra red onion
CHILI's - blt club tacos (also like their super thin tortilla chips; salsa needs work)
RUBY TUESDAY's - salad bar. i especially love making salads with insane amounts of beets, which freaks my mum out
WHITE CASTLE - jalapeno cheeseburger
MOE's - billy barou nachos
PENN STATION - italian sub
LONG JOHN SILVER's - straight up fish and fries, hush puppies a nice bonus, cole claw also delicious
PANERA - mostly the baked goods. in about five minutes i'm sitting down for a bowl of homemade corn chowder in one of their toasted sourdough bread bowls. i love bringing home their baguettes and bagels and tossing them in the freezer for a rainy day
First Watch - Floridian French Toast
Panera Bread - Veggie Black Bean Soup, Chocolate Croissant
Taco Bell - Taco Pizza - a guilty pleasure
Subway - Turkey Sub
Burger King - Whopper, no Onion, extra pickles
Popeye's anything (I never go though because there is ALWAYS a line at the one by my house)
KFC fried chicken snackers
Burger King's ham, egg & cheese croissant
Mc Donald's big mac
Olive Garden's salad & breadsticks
McDonalds - bacon, egg & cheese biscuit, deluxe breakfast
Long John Silvers - fish and fries, lobster bites (when they have them!)
TGI Fridays - green bean fries, ancho chili wings
Friendly's - fronions, BBQ chicken supermelt
White Castle - jalapeño cheeseburger, french onion cheeseburger, clam strips
Pizzeria Uno - Chicago deep dish original, Rhode Island style calamari
In N' Out - double double with cheese - animal style, neapolitan shake
Taco Bell - Mexican pizza, Chalupa
IHOP - pancakes with butter pecan syrup
Perkins - raspberry cream muffin (back when they had them!)
Carls Jr - BBQ chicken sandwich
KFC - snackers, honey BBQ wings
Boston Market - creamed spinach, apples & cinnamon
(This *is* dangerous - I just made a list of my pregnancy cravings! God - give me strength!!)
KFC-original recipe thighs & biscuits
Carraba's - the hot bread & oil & the fried calamari
Firehouse subs - the Hook & Ladder
Houstons - the cheeseburger
Cheesecake Factory - BBQ Ranch chicken salad & Chinese Chicken Salad
Perkins - buttermilk pancakes
Maggiano's - Italian pot roast & veal & mushroom raviolis
I like local chains more...
That being said, national chains:
Burger King milkshakes (honest-to-goodness REAL milkshakes)
California Pizza Kitchen's Jamaican Jerk pizza
PF Chang's lettuce wraps
McDonald's Asian salad
A&W frosty root beer and coney dogs and hamburgers
PF Chang's lettuce wraps and pin noodle soup
Hardee's Bacon Cheese Thickburgers
Sonic's Chili Cheese Dog and Cherry Limeade
Five Guys Spicy Fries
Mc Donald Sausage Egg and Cheese McGriddle
Carrabas Mussels Marinara
Outback - Bleu Cheese Chopped Salad, and Seared Ahi Tuna
Penn Station Subs - Italian Sub
Denny's Grand slam breakfast with hash browns and pancakes
Panera's broccoli cheese soup and a hunk of baguette, and another vote for the cinnamon crunch bagels
Glory Days Vermonter Sandwich (ham, apple slices, cheddar on raisin break) sweet potato fries and the chili, too
Alright this sounds like fun:
Go Roma: Margherita pizza...yum!
Panera: Asian Sesame Chicken Salad
Wendy's: Spicy Chicken Sandwich
McDonald's: hamburger ketchup only and fries
Potbelly's: Turkey sub on wheat
Cheesecake Factory - factory nachos and mud pie.
Taco Bell - chicken quesadilla, cheesy beefy melt, and bean and cheese burrito.
Carl's Jr. - criss-cut fries
Subway - veggie delite on wheat or chicken breast on wheat
Starbucks - for all my coffee needs and the lowfat apricot blueberry muffin
The formerly ubiquitous "Host of the Highways" is sadly down to its last two restaurants (one in NY and one in Maine, I think), but let us pause to remember Howard Johnson's Tendersweet Fried Clams. With fries, cole slaw and a vanilla shake, they rock! I might just drive up for a nostalgic last dinner from a bygone era.
McDonald's - Fries and SW salad
Panera - French Onion Soup in a bread bowl
Texas Roadhouse - the bread and cinnamin butter!!!
Panda Express - chow mein noodles
White Castle - burgers (I am carving one now!)
Subway - veggie delight with honey mustard and pickles.....
Long John Silvers - chicken planks!
The one chain I do have real affection for is Sonic. My wife and I will (again) drive cross country this summer with our dog. I'm on oxygen (a portable concentrator that runs off of the 12 volt plug in the car) and at Sonic, we can pull in, leave the car running and stay put. We don't have to worry about leaving the dog in the car alone while getting food and I don't have to worry about wrangling the concentrator about and we can get a wide variety of fairly decent to downright delicious food. The tater tots and coneys are great. My wife likes the chicken. I've never had an egg sandwich I didn't like.
Tijuana Flats- chicken taco salad, blackened chicken burrito with black beans & rice on the side
Quizno's- Baja chicken sandwich
Sonic- powerade slushie, cherry limeade
Zoe's- Mediteranian Tuna, grilled chicken pita, cherry limeade
Tropical Smoothie- Buffalo Chicken wrap
Arby's- chicken tenders
McDonald's: Egg McMuffin and (thank goodness i'm incognito here) those double cheeseburgers on the dollar menu......must be the "white-bread" kid from the 70's in me.
Chipotle: chicken quesadilla
Pollo Loco: their chicken and those pinto beans-love those!
Carl's Jr: Chicken club sandwich and fried zuchinni with ranch
Jimboy's Tacos: Fish tacos (the regular beef tacos if it's at the stand next to Denio's)
I can honestly say that I don't love chains (not the big ones anyway), but here are a few examples where I've had surprisingly pleasant experiences:
Arby's - the fish sandwich is generous and tasty and they serve mozzerella sticks with decent marinara.
Pei Wei, especially their spicy Korean style shrimp
Panera - this is my go to spot for bagels and I like their salads
Ihop- used to love this place for breakfast and recently had a very pleasant brunch here
Original Pancake House- like this place even better for breakfast.
Burger King- no other fast food chain does onion rings quite like BK, but that's the only thing I like.
Wahoo's fish tacos- consistently good food
And though I don't visit these regularly I do love me some:
Krispy Kreme donuts (oooh yesss)
Ben and Jerry's
I can find something to eat at various drive in style chains when travelling. Sometimes, though, I want to sit down and have table service. Then things get a bit dicey. Now that my old standby, the garlic shrimp Caesar, is off the menu at Applebees, I'm lost.
BKing- jr wopper with cheese extra pickles
Wendy's- spicey chix sandwhich
UNO's-pizza skins pizza at
cosi moz tom basil sammy and the signature salad
CARABA's - chix with the tom, and the bruschetta
Olive Garden - salad and breadsticks
Sonic - cheeseburger bacon toaster sandwich and cherry limeade
Newk's - grilled steak sandwich and Newk's favorite salad
Arby's - chicken salad wrap
Cracker Barrel - country fried steak
IHOP - cheese blintzes with strawberries
Waffle House - Texas cheesesteak sandwich and hash browns
Macaroni Grill - Penne Rustica
Wendy's - chili
McD's - Sausage McMuffin hold the egg, fresh french fries.
Burger King - Double cheeseburger, onion rings with spicy dipping sauce
Subway - Meatball sandwich
Pizza Hut - Barbecue pizza on crispy thin crust
Mazzio's - Salad Bar
Quizno's - Black angus sandwich
Arby's - Ham and cheese sandwich and mozarella sticks
Panera - Cinnamon Crunch bagel with hazelnut cream cheese
Sonic - Cherry slush or diet coke with cherry and their fabulous rabbit pellet ice
Looking up, its pretty much a list of everything I can't eat until November since I've started training for my first 1/2 marathon and need to drop some weight.
Dairy Queen -- peanut buster parfait
Outback - Victoria filet and the bread. Oh.... the bread.....
The peanut buster parfait is the best! I can't eat that much anymore and one day I mentioned it to the person at the counter and she said to just get a hot fudge sundae with the spanish peanuts. I never thought of that! Perfect size.... You pay a little extra for the peanuts though but it is worth it!
McD: sausage biscuit (no egg or cheese) and hash browns (my hangover cure)
Cheesecake Factory: jambalaya (over pasta)
Chili's: boneless shanghai wings
Oh dear...I second all the Sonic-love...the first thing I wanted when I came back to Texas was a chili cheese coney.
Taco Bell: chicken quesadillas, ranchero chicken soft tacos, beef meximelts, cheesy gordita crunches, and can they PLEASE bring back the zesty nachos with the baja sauce on top? oh yes.
Red Lobster: cheesy garlic biscuits.
Long John Silver's: cod...in THAT batter...with lots of malt vinegar
Cotton Patch: Shiner-batter fish & chips
Posados: queso...on everything.
Ivar's fast-food joints: clam chowder
Olive Garden: endless salad, breadsticks
McDonald's: sausage egg McMuffins with cheese, breakfast burritos, and I really miss the breakfast bagel sandwiches
Whataburger: taquitos after everything closes
Panera: sun-dried tomato cream cheese, Greek salad
Carino's: that olive oil and bread
Starbucks: passion tea lemonade, the sammiches
Red Robin: three cheese cheeseburger
Krispy Kreme: the original glazed doughnuts
Popeye's: spicy chicken
Cheesecake Factory: white chocolate raspberry truffle cheesecake, Godiva cheesecake
Jack in the Box: breakfast sandwiches
Chili's: southwestern eggrolls, spinach and artichoke dip, quesadilla explosion salad
Ninfa's: the Ninfarita...oh boy.
Claim Jumper - blue cheese wedge
Chili's - Chicken Enchilada Soup
Houston's - Couscous
Carl's Jr - $6 burger, low carb
McDonald's - Egg McMuffin, Hot Fudge Sundae
I don't mind admitting I like chains. Some of the food is pretty good!
Cheesecake Factory - Luau Salad and Thai Lettuce Wraps and that dark honey wheat bread with butter
McD- Southwestern Salad and McGriddles with bacon, egg and cheese
Bertuccis - rolls and eggplant pizza
Panera- strawberry poppyseed and asian chicken salad, all the bread, bacon turkey bravo sandwich
Ok, I'm in...
Jack-In-The-Box- any breakfast sandwich, egg rolls, chicken strips.
Arby's- Beef and Cheddar with tons of Horsey Sauce.
Islands- Fries with Ranch, Mushroom Swiss Burger.
Papa Johns- 6 Cheese Pizza with ripped up pickled peppers all over it.
Del Taco- Double Del Burger, Spicy Chicken Quesadilla and well done fries.
BJ's- Pale Ale and Wings.
Outback- Croutons on the house salad and Crab Legs....really salty butter.
El Pollo Loco-Salad bowl thingie with rice and cilantro dressing.
Round Table-Garlic Lovers Pizza (with extra sauce)
Cheesecake Factory - four cheese pasta, orange chicken, chicken and biscuits (or just the biscuit), vanilla bean cheesecake, oreo cheesecake
JITB - chicken supreme, curly fries, oreo shake
CPK - tricolore pizza crust, key lime pie, brownie
Dairy Queen - Breeze (vanilla fro yo w/ LOTS of rainbow sprinkles)
Sisley Italian Kitchen - chopped chicken salad w/ eggplant, grilled veggie appetizer
Starbucks - classic coffee cake
Ruth's Chris - lobster, broccoli, wedge salad
Koo Koo Roo - chicken and veggie combo, the discontinued eggplant salad, brownies
Baja Fresh or La Salsa - side of charbroiled chicken w/ salsa
Emme, does DQ still have their frozen yogurt? I LOVED that stuff, but thought they discontinued it because the last couple that I've been to didn't have it.
To answer the OP:
Braum's - banana split (made with peanutbutter rather than the fruit toppings)
Starbucks - iced americano or soy latte
Cheesecake Factory - any salad that I've had
IHOP - harvest grain and nut pancakes, and the now defunct country griddle and buckwheat pancakes (two separate types)
Schlotzky's - pumpernickel bread
Popeye's - those wonderfully salty, fake tasting biscuits
You people are disgusting eating all this chain food, should be embarrased. I would never touch the stuff. Oh wait, maybe just maybe a little:
Panera: Anything in a bread bowl
Dunkin Donuts: Butternut donut or Old Fashioned Donut
McDonalds: Filet of Fish and Shamrock shake, Hash Browns
Wendy's: Spicy Chicken Sandwich
Ruby Tuesday: Pumpernickel Croutons and Honey mustard dressing
Burger King: French Toast Sticks
Wawa: Any hoagie
White Castle: Chicken jalapeno burgers
Taco Bell: Chalupas
and many many others
I'll try a chain once.
One of the great comfort foods of my childhood was those Howard Johnson's blueberry toaster pastries. Kind of like a poptart in that it's rectangular but it's a blueberry muffin. And their clam strips. They are the standard for any and all clam strips.
Boston Market: Garlic dill potatoes.
Fuddrucker's: Buffalo Burger
Ryan's-I loved their cabbage
Steak n' Shake: Fries
Original Pancake House: Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Big Boy: Hot Fudge Cake
Arby's: Jalapeno Poppers
Dairy Queen: Peanut Buster Parfait
Taco Bell: Mexican Pizza, meximelt, chilito.
I will gladly fess up! There are some stuff at some chains I really like. Some might be smaller regional chains, and some are downscale and upscale chains I am sure there is a lot more than just this but here is what I can think of:
Cheeburger Cheeburger- by far my favorite chain, the one I love and will drive for, between the burger toppings, fries, onion rings and shakes they just have an awesome combo.
Uno's Pizzeria deep dish pizza and muchos nachos (this is like one of the only places to eat out when I go home it was a big deal growing up there)
PF Changs chicken lettuce wraps and their side of asparagus mmm.
Chic-fil-a mmm mmmm mmm and that sweet tea is awesome.
CPK- I like some of their pizzas and their half waldorf salad
Fiance like Taco Bell and we will eat this on road trips, I don't have a favorite but don't object at all.
Don Pablo's it is my favorite of the not really tex mex, tex mex chains
I haven't been to Cracker Barrel in forever, but I remember they used to have good chicken and dumplings.
Lebanese Taverna- regional to our area.
Cheesecake factory- I admit it they have one chicken pasta dish I really like, I like the macaroni balls, and I like the cheesecake but only the specialty ones, not the plain ones.
And Sheetz- for late night meatball subs after a drunken night out in the country when nothing else is open. I can eat a 12" sheetz meatball sub without a napkin... that takes practice.
Atlanta Bread Co. for good sandwiches and soup.
Au Bon Pain has some pretty darn tasty soups in the winter.
I love Starbucks caramel frappuccinos although I don't order them now because of how bad they are for you, I love them and will freely admit my love, if calories didn't count for anything I might drink one everyday.
Cosi signature salad for days I want to eat lighter out.
Clydes- DC chain.
ChartHouse- the one in Annapolis is really good and has a great bar overlooking the water.
I am sure there are more... and I didn't even mention the places in Dc people consider chains even if there are only a few of them...
I don't eat at chains all that often because we have good little ethnic places nearby, but I do really like them and I am not one to say I dislike chains, I think sometimes the consistency is nice, especially when travelling.
OH! And after 3 months in Europe the burger and chicken fajitas at the Hard Rock Cafe in Madrid tasted like sweet heaven. Not that food all over wasn't awesome, but sometimes you just need a taste of home after a few months.
Living on the West Coast, but from Massachusetts, I miss Friendly's!
I used to love getting the grilled cheese and fries. And the Reese Pieces Sundae is just about the best thing ever.
FIVE GUYS: cheese burger and fries
JACK in the BOX: Jumbo Jack
PEI - WEI: Pad Thai noodle bowl
BURGER KING: Whopper
FRIENDLY: Clam Chowder
and those of the past
HOT SHOPPES: Mighty Mo
HOWARD JOHNSONS: any ice cream on a sugar cone
I don't understand why some say they don't like or respect chains but everybody dines at them. The suburbs are loaded with them. Some of the chains are really great and they became chains because of how delicious they are. Here is my list:
Panera Bread: Another one for the cinnamon crunch bagel..w/ either honey nut or hazelnut cream cheese...I also like the dutch apple bagel with honey nut cream cheese...they are sooo good. French toast bagel is pretty good as well with honey nut. I also love the strawberry poppyseed salad, black bean soup, and southwest tomato and corn soup...its the one with a tomato base...soo soo good.
Cheesecake Factory: Miso salmon and cajun jumbalaya pasta...great.
P. F. Changs: Honey shrimp, sea bass, and lemon pepper prawns
Macaroni Grill: lobster ravioli, shrimp scampi, free basil bread, and some steak dish I ordered
Smokey Bones: pulled pork BBQ and beef brisket but it definitely needs the sauces that are on the table...and both sauces are good
Olive Garden: soup (pasta fagoli or something like that), tuscan chicken
Logan's Roadhouse: rolls w/ whipped butter, rib eyes
Chipotle Mexican Grill: steak and barbacoa tacos and burritos
Qdoba Mexican Grill: burritos, tacos, nachos, and tortilla soup...their chicken is better than Chipotle but Chipotle has better steak and barbacoa. I rarely eat at taco bell now since Qdoba and Chipotle came to our area...
Chick-Fil-A: Chicken Sandwich (original), nuggets, fries, fruit cups, chicken biscuits, chicken mini's....SO SO GOOD!
McDonald's: plain lil hamburgers...pretty good and simple and their fries are good
Red Lobster: garlic biscuits, and most grilled/broiled fish
Picadilly's: carrot souffle...taste like yams
Dairy Queen: oreo blizzards, strawberry sundaes
Bonefish Grill: most grilled fish with mango salsa or pan asian sauce
Applebee's: oriental chicken wrap
Ruby Tuesday: salad bar, crabcake (not the best but it has lump crab meat), mini burgers
Carrabbas: some lemon garlic spinach dish I ordered...it was wonderful! also had a decent ceasar salad and normally I am not fond of that type of salad...
Chili's: chicken fingers, southwest eggrolls, ribs
Hardee's: only breakfast...they use country ham...ham and egg biscuit..yum but not good for you...and their cinnamon and raisin biscuits..yummy...and I'm on a diet...lol
KFC: honey BBQ wings, original wings
IHOP: carrot cake pancakes...yummy they are really good...strawberry cheesecake pancakes are great as well (this was on some specials since late last year....they still have the carrot cake pancakes and will do the strawberry cheesecake ones like next month or something)....IHOP is much much better than Denny's
Cracker Barrel: turnip greens, roast, pancakes, bacon, chicken and dumplings, meatloaf....just wonderful
Maui Wowi Hawaiian Coffees and Smoothies: wonderful smoothes...much better than tropical smoothie cafe...their smoothies are so good that I haven't tried their coffee yet
This is all I can think of now...lol
All right. Hereeeee weeeee gooooo...
JITB: Taco and Jumbo Jacks.
McDonald's: Sausage Biscuit w/ eggs, Big Macs (as long as cooked fresh), and FF.
Big Boy: Big Boy Combos & Hot Fudge cakes.
Del Taco: Double Del Meal (the No. 9 out west) w/ the large cup of crinkle cut fries.
Cracker Barrel: Chicken Fried Chicken, bring on the corn bread and biscuits.
Outback: Hands down, the Bloomin' Onion.
IN-N-OUT Burger: Double Doubles
IHOP: Their pancakes and the endless pot of coffee.
Original Pancake House: Pretty much any of their breakfast are good.
KFC: Original or crispy, cold slaw and some potato lube.
Wendys: Any square burger and a salad.
Marie Calenders: Their pies.
Polly's Pies: Another Western pie/food joint.
ok...I will gladly play along...
Culvers: Butterburger with cheese,mustard,ketchup,and pickle with the Cheese curds (heart attack waiting to happen)
PF Changs: Mongolian Beef and Wonton Soup...I crave the soup...
McDonalds:Fish Sandwich and fries...
Panera: Asiago Bagel
Tony Romas: Spicy Wings
Johnny Carinos: Wedge Salad with Apples & Blue Cheese and Johnny's Skilletini
Chik fil a: Chicken Minis and Chicken Tender Salad
Cheesecake Factory: BBQ Chicken Salad
Red Robin: Bonzi Burger
Cosi: Signature Salad
Texas Roadhouse: Rolls and Ribeye with Baked Sweet Tater
Backyard Burger: Waffle fries and chili
Pizzeria Uno: Shroom Pizza....oh how I crave it...so glad I don't have one close by...
Buffalo Wild Wings: Wings spun dry in medium sauce...nothing better to watch football with...lol
Penn Station: Artichoke Sandwich with mushrooms
Sonic: Strawberry Limeade
Ted's Montana Grill: Bison Meatloaf & Fish Sandwich
Starbucks: Iced Latte & Banana Chocolate Chip Loaf
Burger King: Original Chicken Sandwich
Olive Garden: Pasta e Fagoli Soup & Breadsticks
two chains found in london come to mind:
caffe nero has decent coffee. i go there most mornings.
strada is a pizza/italian food chain. pretty decent. pizza ovens are wood-fired. good value.
I don't eat out THAT often and prefer to make it something other than a chain when I do, with one exception - the "Starbucks"-serving cafe' inside Barnes and Nobles. Does that count? I love the Vanilla Bean Frappuccino, along with the jalapeño - cheese stuffed pretzels and the grilled chicken sandwiches. Used to love one of their "stratas", but they discontinued it!
Otherwise, White Castle is my favorite chain place, but there isn't one open here anymore and fulfilling a White Castle craving requires a 65-mile drive (one way!) to Hinckley. I don't understand how they have been open so long there (a town of maybe 8,000), serving people going back and forth to Minneapolis / Duluth, while Duluth couldn't sustain one.
Cheesecake Factory- Beef ribs, skirt steak, ranch house burger, chicken and biscuits, cajun chicken littles, honey wheat bread, macaroni and cheese, godiva cheesecake, chocolate tuxedo, brownie cheesecake, pistachio cheesecake, banana cream cheesecake, etc. I LOVE EVERYTHING CF!
Charlie Browns- Double cut prime rib, sweet potato fries, raisin bread
Bonefish Grill- Lobster tails, macadamia nut brownie sundaes, au gratin potato
Outback- Bloomin onion, porterhouse steak, baked sweet potato
Famous Daves- French fries, pulled pork, bread pudding
Red Robin- Royal Red Robin burger, shakes, fries, onion rings
Champps- Mile high pie
Grand Lux- Beignets, apple pie thing
Maggiano's- Steak medallions, chicken and spinach manicotti, chocolate cake, profiteroles, spumoni, mashed potatoes
Given a choice, I will choose an independant family owned restaurant over a chain. Usually because the food is better. Even if it is equal, I would rather support the little guy. But for me, the bottom line is whether I like the food and service. Sometimes I'm limited by where I am working as to where I can go for lunch. Many times I'll go to a chain restaurant or burger joint.
My favorite chain restaurant, and one I would drive out of my way for is Five Guys. I know that there is a wide range of opinions regarding their food, but I love their burgers and fries. And it's not that I don't have a lot of choices where I live regarding burgers.
I'm not sure how many there are. But if you're on the interstate and you see an Iron Skillet, they had a sign saying they were voted best chicken fried steak by truck drivers.
We bit and were glad we did. It was very good. Easy access to the highway makes it a nice plus.
My parents took me to Cheesecake Factory a couple weeks ago, the one in San Francisco at the top of Macy's in Union Square.
I was completely satisfied with my food, and I'd go back as long as I can share my plate with someone! Mom ordered the factory chopped salad, I ordered the chicken fingers with mashed potatoes (not sure what they call it on the menu, might have been the cajun chicken littles someone else mentioned), and Dad ordered a slice of Kahlua cheesecake.
Between the salad and my entree, the three of us had plenty of dinner food. Seriously, there were enough chicken tenders and mashed potatoes for all three of us to have decent portions, plus I had enough to take home for another meal. The chicken tenders were perfectly cooked, crispy on the outside and very moist on the inside. The mashed potatoes were dense and rich. Surprisingly, nothing was over-salted.
My dad's cheesecake was just fine -- really sweet and covered in toppings, so I'm not really sure what the cheesecake tasted like under there!
All in all, it was a great value and a totally satisfying dinner experience. Oh and service was fantastic.