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"Normal" food?

I was raised on a variety of foods, from Mexican to Thai to Indian, and most of my friends enjoy a variety of different ethnic foods.

However, I have one friend who hates eating anywhere with me - he always complains that I never go anywhere with normal food - everything's "trendy and weird". I'm pretty versatile, so really, I can be just as happy with a good chicken sandwich as good pad thai, so I don't mind saving my ethnic, etc food for other friends...but I need suggestions on where (other than a TGIF-ish chain) I might find decent "normal" food. Keep in mind this is someone who considers hummus weird and had never seen guacamole, much less tasted it. He likes chili fries, chicken wings, steak, ribs, etc...and most of all, dessert.

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  1. "Normal" is a cycle on the washing machine..........

    2 Replies
    1. re: crazyspice

      My sentiments exactly, crazyspice.

      PhillyA - I'd send your non-cosmopolitan whiner off to his grandmother's for a pork chop with gravy and string beans and find other dining companions. Some will never grow so don't let him mismanage your culinary explorations.

      1. re: Chefpaulo

        I have plenty of other opportunities to try a wider range of food with other friends; however, sometimes I dine with people because I like their company and not just because of the food. I was looking for some options that might make us both happy - there's no reason we shouldn't both enjoy a dinner together just because we have different taste in food.

        Thanks to the people who gave me some suggestions - I'll keep them in mind when we're looking for places.

    2. Any decent gastropub would probably fit the bill. I checked out the new Memphis Taproom recently and it was very good. Good luck..

      1. oi. i always try to enlighten those people! i have my fair share of them, too. i can't tell if they appreciate my attempts or not!

        hrm... normal food... what about a gastropub, like eulogy or standard tap or north third? all three have good food for scardey cats and chowhounds alike. :)

        1 Reply
        1. re: rabidog

          bah, i was at eulogy a little less than a week ago, and i will probably go next week with my film group, but i'm going to think twice before recommending them again. we usually have the same waitress upstairs who is great - always has good beer recs, is fast, friendly and efficient. however upon walking in there was no host, and seeing as the downstairs was totally packed, and we always dine upstairs anyway, we just went on up. we were a fairly large group so we didn't have much choice - we all didn't fit in the downstairs, it was so crowded!! upon getting upstairs (nearly empty, whew!) we start to take a seat in the corner when a guy (host? waiter? we dunno) runs up and says we have to go back downstairs, if we're not all eating dinner. quite rudely, too. well i personally was planning to have dinner, but i hadn't discussed this with all members of my large party, and since that would take forever, i wasn't about to. i knew at least 3 others would be eating. we all sat. whatev. guy comes back, obviously stressed out and pissed off, and asks us to move to another (more uncomfortable because it's too high) table. it's not easy moving a large party, but we did. what a sour way to start off dinner at a place i eat at fairly regularly and tend to drop some good bucks at on beers. we got our regular waitress who was sweet as usual, and our food came out quickly. while the peel & eat shrimp was its tasty self, i can't say the same thing about my tomato/moz salad - the moz was just not of good quality. i'll hopefully report back next time with better news.

        2. Sweet Lucy's for pretty good BBQ.

          1. Well I have the perfect place if you feel like driving out to telford, the r and s keystone diner. It is the antithesis of trendy. They don't have a microwave and the mashed potatoes are real. My friend Erick turned me on to this out of the way jewel when I was complaining about basic food for good prices. He said to try it if (his words) you don't mind eating out with a buncha old people. They have a wonderful sunday breakfast buffet too. Don't be intimidated by the line if you go. Even on a saturday night with the line out the door, the fine staff manages to keep things flowing without making customers feel rushed. The owner, Joann, greets people, visits the tables of regulars, buses tables, seats people and gets beverages when they really get busy. And she makes some fine bread pudding. I wait all year for the ground cherry pie. I love this place so much that if I was rich I would special order a little scale model of it as a Christmas present for myself. And one for JoAnn too. They are open weekdays from six am til eight pm, and I am heading out for breakfast there right now!

            1. I dont know if this fits the bill but Jones. I know its a Starr restaurant and a little trendy but the food is plain old american, and while it isnt amazing....it is very good

              1. Yes, Jones is the place! I think your friend may want comfort food.

                1. How about the Capital Grille or other steakhouse type place

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: rocknroll52

                    Sounds like he'd do well at an Old Country Buffet or a Ponderosa/Hoss's.

                  2. Sounds like he's more of a "Diner" type. Plenty of great diners across the Ben Franklin in New Jersey. Decent ones here in Philly:

                    Melrose Diner
                    Oregon Diner

                    Upscale "diner" Silk City Diner, Morning Glory Diner, Jones.

                    or you can try:

                    Standard Tap (NoLIbs)
                    N.3rd (NoLibs)
                    Sketch - Burger and Shake Joint (Fishtown)
                    Hot Potato (Fishtown)
                    Johnny Brenda's (Fishtown)

                    1. Sounds like my husband..... I take him to Jones, Moriarity's, Eulogy, Kildare's, Fado. A red gravy Italian place would work well, too. Something like Marras, maybe.

                      I'm assuming from your name that you're looking in downtown Philly?

                      1. My guess is that the best way to find out what your friend thinks is "normal food" is to ask your friend to choose the restaurant.

                        1. I don't know exactly where you are located, but I really like the Dining Car on Frankford Ave. That's pretty normal fare, but don't tell them the gravy's the real deal or they might not eat it. Great diner food.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ndelson

                            tried the dining car after seeing it on "triple d" and it was just OK, It's nice that a diner makes everything from scratch, but wasn't really anything special. Had a thanksgiving turkey sandwich (cranberry, slaw, etc) and have to say the one at the reading terminal turkey place is better, so why the hell did I drive all the way out to the burbs for it...