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Apr 5, 2010 01:34 PM

Chains That Are EAsy to Love

It's easy to knock chains. But, despite a clear preference tor a non-chains in most circumstances, chains do fit the bill a lot of the time. Here are some of my favorites, and why; let's hear what you LIKE about some chains, as this could be helpful to others:

1. Pho 75 It may be a chain, but I find the soup(s), service and pricing to be quite
delightful, on Adams Ave, just off the Blvd. I was one of the first non-Asian
customers there; most of the customers are Asian, but the service is always

2. Popeye's Oh, my secret vice. Yummy. I order spicy now, it's so good. Love their
red beans and rice. Drive a different way just to hit the N. J. Turnpike's site
whenever I can. A favoritate guilty lunch.

3. Cracker Barrel Don't scoff. While traveling, we found Cracker Barrels to offer consistent
good quality and variety, at a fair price: reliability is the buzz word here,
even if not the healthiest food around.

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  1. Nice to see a post about local chains, although I am still mourning the loss of the White Castle in willow grove and I believe quakertown had a steak and shake I never got around to visiting because I thought I had more time. Sniff. Haven't been to the Popeye's in Plymouth Meeting mall lately but last time I checked they were still thriving. Best bargain fast food snack in my neck of the woods is a dozen hush puppies from the long john silver fused to the taco bell on broad street in lansdale. But alas no more chili cheese dogs and root beer floats from the A and W in montgomeryville. A and W left town leaving only a KFC. Sigh.Yum Yum donuts is a very small chain that survived the lo-carb craze and seems to be doing well in this meager economy. Their donuts are so very good that it is just as well for me that they quit being open 24 hours. They still open at four thirty and stay open til 11 pm though. Except for sundays when they sleep in til five thirty am. .

    6 Replies
    1. re: givemecarbs

      Popeye's at Plymouth Meeting seems to be closed.

      1. re: Jdbc

        Awww. And the fatburger that was going to take over the Atlanta Bread Company space never materialized. Bah.

        Atlanta Bread Company
        370 US Highway 130 Ste 15, East Windsor, NJ 08520

        1. re: Jdbc

          yeah. there's a sign that they're "undergoing renovations" but they've been closed for months.

        2. re: givemecarbs

          So much for local chains but I see my fellow hounds from all over are enjoying this thread so I guess the mods know best, they moved this from the Philadelphia board. Lee's Hoagie House is not bad, I always mean to get an Italian hoagie but there is something about their double cheeseburgers I cannot resist.

          1. re: givemecarbs

            Somehow I missed seeing this thread earlier, but I can't believe nobody has mentioned Corner Bakery! Service is always fast and friendly, food is fresh, clean-tasting and delicious. Portions are generous, DH and I usually share a sandwich and a salad, and are more than satisfied. Their cookies and other baked goods are as good as my mother used to make, which is saying a lot.

            1. re: judybird

              I will add another thumbs up for the Corner Bakery. I have one within lunching distance from work! I love the lemon bars, the chili is decent, and we always get a good salad or sandwich.

            1. re: Philly Ray

              There have been many kudos to Chick-Fil-A. I just don't get it. I stopped there once and really, really tried to like it. It was a sodium bomb fried in burnt grease. I was ravenously hungry and couldn't finish. What do you normally order?

              1. re: JerryMe

                I usually order something with their grilled chicken, either the sandwich or one of the salads. still a little salty but no grease. i do NOT like their fries.

                1. re: JerryMe

                  I tried them once and it wasn't memorable for me but I do have to say their chocolate milkshake is very good.

                2. re: Philly Ray

                  Big fan of Chick fil A. Their salads are great. I can't get into their waffle fries but most people love them. The one thing I find is that the drive thru and counter staff are always nice, pleasant and polite. This can't be said for many other chains. I went to McDonalds just for a Coke in the drive thru and had the person taking my order ask me if I was going to order anything to eat. That doesn't happen at Chick fil A.

                  1. re: punkgirl107

                    LOVE Chic Fil A. Quality is consistently high even if I stop at different locations several times a week. The classic sandwich, nuggets, strips,salads, shakes, brownies, lemonade, and condiments are always delicious, dining and rest rooms meticulously clean and staff friendly and courteous. Bojangle's has great dirty rice.

                3. Pho Hoa is an even bigger chain than Pho 75 and it is really good. I also really like Crown Fried Chicken, though I think that is a franchise not a chain.

                  One more: Chipotle. Way better than QDoba and also most of the local Mexican taquerias--for burritos, not tacos.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: barryg

                    Chipotle is fantastic -- I miss it dearly and go to one whenever I'm back in CO. Smaller menu, much higher quality than Qdoba, and their meat is all from Nieman Ranch organic farms IIRC.

                  2. Five Guys Burgers and Fries! Good burgers, what else matters?
                    Great Harvest Bread Company is a mini chain but bakes amazing cupcakes.
                    Does Capogiro count?

                    As an aside, I'd nominate Checkers for "Chains that are easy to hate", terrible, terrible burgers.

                    1. If you ever get to terminal B of Atlanta's Hartzfield airport, there is a Popeye's there, that is superb, always cooked fresh, friendly people as well.l try to arrange time between connections to use it.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                        For some reason I don't equate eating at Five Guys as being a chain (like say, gag, the golden arches). I eat munchkins regularly too without abandon. The same seems to hold true for when I am in an airport and go to a Starbucks. I was actually in the Honolulu airport recently and a bit hungry and the food choices were limited so I tried a sandwich from Quizno's for the first time in my life and it was not bad. I dunno if it was because it was 10 PM and I had too much sun and nothing else was open but it seemed pretty decent.

                        There is also the Border Cafe in Delaware that is pretty good. I think there are about five of them. I guess Termini's and Fourth Street are chains if Capogiro is one? Now the big question, does two locations make Paesano's a chain?

                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                          Thanks for the tip! I missed this opportunity just last week when I connected through Hartsfield and my plane came in at B10.

                          My usual go-to there is Paschal's soul food. Another guilty pleasure...