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TGIFriday's, Applebee's, or Chili's?

o
observor Oct 15, 2009 10:09 AM

I haven't eaten at these places a lot, but they seem similar. Which is the best?

  1. Firegoat Nov 20, 2009 04:06 AM

    I ate at a chili's last night, because I had a $25 gift certificate that had been sitting around getting dusty in my purse for almost a year. A friend and I did their $20 combo, split one appetizer, pick an entree of the list, and split a dessert. We both ended up immediately splitting and boxing up our entrees and couldn't make much a dent into the dessert. Not haute cuisine, but I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of my burger, and the service was very good. I think the total bill with drinks came to about $26.50, and we both walked away with enough food for lunch the next day. A reasonable value.

    1. a
      afty698 Nov 11, 2009 05:28 AM

      Every time I eat at Chili's, I'm surprised at how decent the food is. Just a couple weeks ago, I ate at a Chili's in the Orlando airport, and my burger was surprisingly good.

      I have the opposite experience at Applebee's. From previous visits, I expect it to be bad, but then I go and it's even worse than I remembered.

      1 Reply
      1. re: afty698
        d
        dagwood Nov 19, 2009 08:14 AM

        Chili's
        TGIF
        Applebees.

        Chili's can actually be surprisingly good. The black bean burger is very yum.

      2. l
        libgirl2 Nov 2, 2009 04:40 PM

        1- Chili's
        drop
        2- TGIF's
        MAJOR drop
        3-Applebees (which used to be pretty good.)

        1. j
          Jacey Oct 19, 2009 10:14 AM

          Which of the three have the healthiest options or a healthy section part of the menu?

          6 Replies
          1. re: Jacey
            danhole Oct 20, 2009 09:21 AM

            I have only eaten at Applebee's once, and probably won't try it again. Now I know that Chili's has a "healthy" section. They mark the menu with these little icons. TGIFridays has a very large menu with healthy items. I think they may be in a certain section of the menu. Best way to check is to look at the menus on-line.

            1. re: danhole
              q
              queencru Oct 20, 2009 10:37 AM

              TGIF also had the "right size" menu options the last time I went with smaller portions than the traditional options. I think the menu also has designations for other healthier items that aren't in the small portion size. I can't really comment on the other two as I haven't been to either for quite some time.

            2. re: Jacey
              j
              jujuthomas Oct 20, 2009 09:42 AM

              Applebees has a weight watchers menu, which i tried several times, since I'm on weight watchers. I'd rather eat at Friday's and have to figure out the healthiest option than eat at applebees. YUCK.
              my ranking:
              TGIF - is it Fridays or Ruby Tuesday that has a salad bar... can't remember now.
              Chili's (altho I haven't been to one in a while)
              Applebees... REALLY far down the list.

              1. re: jujuthomas
                Bob W Oct 20, 2009 11:21 AM

                Ruby Tuesday's has a salad bar. However, when we tried a new Ruby's nearby (South Riding, VA), we found the salad bar to be a pale imitation of what Ruby's salad bar used to look like back in the day. I used to regularly just order the salad bar at Ruby's and be quite satisfied but this one was pathetic and not worth it.

                NB: The food we did order was not so good, either.

                As "The Critic" used to say, "It stinks!"

                1. re: Bob W
                  h
                  HollyDolly Oct 21, 2009 11:42 AM

                  The Applebee's on IH35 in San Antonio,when I have eaten there has been good.I really don't care to much for Chili's menu.
                  TGIF in the Forum at Olympia Hills in Selma isn't bad.
                  Ruby Tuesday's is here now in San Antonio, but not close to me.

                  1. re: Bob W
                    d
                    dmbfiredncr Nov 17, 2009 11:49 AM

                    I've been to the same South Riding Ruby Tuesday's a few times. Though the salad bar is a pale imitation of the old Ruby Tuesday's, it hits the spot when coupled with the Turkey Minis or chicken chili. And given the other restaurants in South Riding, it's pretty decent if you're in the mood for American.

              2. j
                joe777cool Oct 17, 2009 08:46 PM

                1. TGIF
                2. Chilis
                3. Applebees

                The apps at TGIF, specifically the Jack Daniles items, are pretty good. I love the snobs who say none of the above; while none of the food at these places is gourmet, some people dont have the budgets to eat "Chez Francois" on a regular basis! These places cater to those on a budget (always offering deals) and may be the only choice when an area may lack good local establishments.

                So if you dont have a decent non snobbish answer to a question, why bother reponding?

                2 Replies
                1. re: joe777cool
                  Bob W Oct 18, 2009 05:58 PM

                  Totally agree, joe. If the choice was eating at one of these places -- burger and fries, maybe -- or going hungry, I wonder what the none of the above-ers would do.

                  Same goes for the "make it at home -- it's really easy!" crowd.

                  Really, I truly cannot stand Applebee's, but if my kids want to eat there I can do it and not even have to take a hot shower afterwards to wash off the shame and embarrassment.

                  1. re: Bob W
                    j
                    joe777cool Oct 19, 2009 06:40 AM

                    Bob - I agree on Applebees, but I will admit that I do love the bbq sauce there! Sometimes its hard to find something good to put it on, but the chicken fingers usually cant be screwed up......mmmmm gourmet! HA!

                2. v
                  vttp926 Oct 15, 2009 07:23 PM

                  if i had to choose it would be 1 tgifriday 2 chili's and then applebees.

                  i always have an easier time finding things i want to eat at tgifriday's over all those places. beside i have to have my beloved fried green beans. none of those other places even have an app i want but tgifriday's.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: vttp926
                    Bob W Oct 16, 2009 06:02 AM

                    LOL The last time I ate at TGIF's was at the airport in RI. Of course I had to try the fried green beans. Not tempura, but not bad. The dipping sauce was good.

                    1. re: Bob W
                      f
                      ferret Oct 16, 2009 06:14 AM

                      Easy.

                      D. None of the above.

                      I have yet to be in a situation where those are my only choices. I'll admit to eating at TGIF on a couple of occasions when I was stuck at the Newark airport, but it sucked. I was more interested in sitting down and getting a drink. Otherwise, I just can't support any of those establishments.

                      1. re: ferret
                        o
                        observor Oct 16, 2009 09:19 AM

                        They *are* everywhere.

                        1. re: observor
                          f
                          ferret Oct 16, 2009 09:27 AM

                          Again, with the exception of the Newark Airport (where they aren't the only choice, but the only one with seating and bar service at the United gates) they tend to be in areas where there are other options.

                          1. re: ferret
                            Bob W Oct 16, 2009 11:29 AM

                            Oh yeah, like Ruby Tuesday's! Another winner -- NOT

                        2. re: ferret
                          al b. darned Oct 17, 2009 05:26 PM

                          Wow! It took almost a whole day before anyone flamed the thread with a snobbish "they all suck" post. While a chain is not usually my first choice, they can offer an acceptable repast. In fact, the restaurant critic for the local paper, who is not one to mince words, thought so, too. From this week's review:

                          "Can a restaurant critic who enjoys creative cuisine, pampered presentation and polished service in locally owned restaurants find happiness at a $20 meal with three courses for two people at a chain eatery?

                          The answer is yes, when the food is hot and flavorful, and service is friendly....on a recent Saturday night...

                          Chili’s was offering all of the above and more than 75 regular menu items, and crowds were waiting inside and outside the casual family restaurant in DeWitt."

                          She went on to say the food was decent and "Service from our eager-to-please waiter was as good as it could be on a hectic evening, but we had extra napkins, forks replaced, complimentary refills of soft drinks and a final goodbye." Some of the "local joints" don't usually fare that well.

                          FWIW - While I think Applebee's *does* suck based on several "second chances" and would be about the last place I would go, Chili's isn't too bad. DW and I would go there on purpose.

                          1. re: al b. darned
                            q
                            queencru Oct 17, 2009 07:26 PM

                            I am envious of people who are lucky enough not to have to deal with these as their only option. About 8 years ago, I worked 2nd shift and lived and worked in areas where these were pretty much the only options after work if you didn't want breakfast food. I think even the Denny's closed the kitchen then if it was too slow, so the options were really dire. Of the choices, I think TGIF and Chili's are pretty much a toss-up. Sadly I ended up at Applebee's the majority of the time since it was the only place open until 2, but I have to say the food is pretty unacceptable. I don't think I've gone back there since I moved out of that area.

                            More recently I lived in an area where the options were just so horrible generally that when guests were in town, the best options were Chili's/TGIF if you didn't want Chinese/Thai 5 nights in row or have the budget for finer dining.

                            1. re: al b. darned
                              g
                              givemecarbs Nov 3, 2009 07:13 AM

                              Heh I was waiting for that flame too al b darned. Agree with the ordering most of the hounds posted. I took my friend to Applebees and he said the food was worse than the slop served at his high school cafeteria. He was shocked. Tried applebees a few years later with my friend John. I must be a glutton for punishment. Worst chicken caesar salad ever. It was slimy. The one at Costco food court is so much better. Luckily I drink and have a designated driver. I think of all these places as a spot to socialize, drink and snack. Chilis is the best of the three for sure.

                      2. f
                        fourunder Oct 15, 2009 10:17 AM

                        My ranking would be...

                        1. Chili's
                        2. TGIF
                        3. Applebee's

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: fourunder
                          c
                          CantRememberLogin Oct 15, 2009 10:54 AM

                          I would agree with this ranking. I used to eat at these places a lot, but haven't been in years, so my thoughts might be out of date.

                          I've always had good experiences at Chili's, mixed but generally positive experiences at TGIF, and fair to horrible experiences at Applebee's. Of course with chains, the quality of food and service at any individual location can vary drastically.

                          Are there any specifics that you are looking for?

                          1. re: CantRememberLogin
                            o
                            observor Oct 15, 2009 03:41 PM

                            Well, they are ubiquitous, so I was just interested as to which was the best, since they seems alike...Applebee's seems to be somewhat expensive.

                          2. re: fourunder
                            j
                            judiftx1 Oct 15, 2009 11:21 AM

                            I also agree with this ranking but put both TGIF and Applebees way below Chili's

                            1. re: fourunder
                              Bob W Oct 15, 2009 12:17 PM

                              I concur with those rankings, but remember that we're not talking about great food here in any case.

                              1. re: Bob W
                                f
                                fourunder Oct 15, 2009 12:23 PM

                                Unless you consider deep fried foods a separate food group.....

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