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Regional/National Chain Restaurants - Metro Detroit

vtombrown Nov 4, 2010 08:06 PM

Just for fun, and not because I would encourage chains over local offerings (but we all visit them from time to time) --- What is your favorite regional or national (not just local) chain restaurant, having a location in the Metro Detroit area?

My nomination is Troy's McCormick & Schmick. Fresh fish, "solid all around," plus reasonable prices and a basic classiness about it, without being exclusive. Not perfect, but on my rotation.

I'm pretty sure we could get a nomination for P.F. Chang's and/or J. Alexander's. We're talkin' chains. Not the love of your life. So, don't be ashamed.

McCormick & Schmicks
2850 Coolidge Hwy, Troy, MI 48084

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  1. x
    xman887 RE: vtombrown Nov 4, 2010 08:25 PM

    j alexander's
    red robin
    buffalo wild wings
    panerra (wife & kids like it, i don't)

    2 Replies
    1. re: xman887
      vtombrown RE: xman887 Nov 4, 2010 08:55 PM

      :-) You have to admit that we'd be a bit worse off if Panera just disappeared. Kind of like Starbucks.

      PS--- Part 2 of the Question: Are there any chains we DON'T have that you wish we did have?

      1. re: vtombrown
        boagman RE: vtombrown Nov 4, 2010 10:07 PM

        Oh, dude: Part 2 is *painfully* easy.

        Chick-Fil-A. Without hesitation.

    2. rainsux RE: vtombrown Nov 5, 2010 03:21 AM

      Breakfast: The only reason I'll visit a McDonald's:
      - Breakfast burrito
      - Coffee
      - Restroom

      Wendy's: Broiled chicken sandwich
      Subway (various)

      Legal seafood

      Part II:
      Legal seafood


      For a friend who is trying to visit ALL Chik-Fil-A locations; I have created
      a waypoint file for Garmin GPSs. You want?

      1 Reply
      1. re: rainsux
        boagman RE: rainsux Nov 5, 2010 08:25 AM

        Thanks, but no, RS. I'm not a Garmin user, and CFA tends to be something that I go colossal on when I'm near one.

      2. coney with everything RE: vtombrown Nov 5, 2010 06:29 AM

        The occasional Steak n Shake lunch

        National Coney Island (yes I know not everyone's a fan but I do like them...once every 4-6 months!)

        Does Red Coat count since there are two of them now :)

        3 Replies
        1. re: coney with everything
          jjspw RE: coney with everything Nov 9, 2010 01:05 PM

          +1 on Steak n Shake. Their butter burgers are amazing. In the same vein, let me add Culver's to the list.

          For Part 2 of the question:
          -- Zaxby's and/or Raising Cane's
          -- Nando's
          -- Zippy's (a Hawaii/California chain)

          1. re: coney with everything
            Jack Freeman RE: coney with everything Nov 15, 2010 04:09 PM

            How did I not know there are two Red Coats? Where is the second one located?

            1. re: Jack Freeman
              boagman RE: Jack Freeman Nov 15, 2010 06:48 PM

              Redcoat #2 is located in what was Zinc Brasserie in West Bloomfield, on Orchard Lake Road. Same family owned both, but they decided that they were going to concentrate on the Redcoat branding, and try to expand it.

              Zinc Brasserie
              142 Columbus Ave, Sandusky, OH 44870

          2. j
            Jim M RE: vtombrown Nov 5, 2010 08:06 AM

            Not everything at Chili's is edible, but some combination of the chili itself, the mustard slaw, a Caesar salad, one of the burgers with guacamole on it, and Sam Adams beer is decent for chain food. I also enjoy that I can go in there at 10 to eat and not feel like I'm being hustled out.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jim M
              boagman RE: Jim M Nov 5, 2010 08:22 AM

              I agree with you on their Old Timer (burger), and you're also right about their hours.

            2. JanPrimus RE: vtombrown Nov 5, 2010 11:45 AM


              Jersey Giant Subs (Mainly Lansing plus one in Woodhaven)

              On the real Small Chain front...2 store fronts or so

              Telway Burgers - BTW Check This Out http://www.agilitynut.com/eateries/mi...
              Breakfast Club

              Jersey Giant
              2900 N Williamston Rd, Williamston, MI 48895

              2 Replies
              1. re: JanPrimus
                Jack Freeman RE: JanPrimus Nov 15, 2010 04:15 PM

                Which Breakfast Club location do you go to Jan? We love Breakfast Club but have noticed recently that the Madison Heights location has been having some issues. We ate there dozens and dozens of times without a single inconsistent meal and then over the course of a few months every time we have gone there was something wrong with one of our meals. I'm praying that it's a fluke or a temporary thing...I'll be totally bummed out if I lose my "go to" place.

                1. re: Jack Freeman
                  JanPrimus RE: Jack Freeman Nov 16, 2010 04:13 AM

                  I used to go to the Madison Heights location when I worked out that way but now I am in Wixom so I have been hitting the Farmington Hills location. Have yet to hit the Commerce location.

              2. r
                rcloud RE: vtombrown Nov 5, 2010 12:00 PM

                I'll nominate The Original House of Pancakes and second the nomination for J. Alexanders.

                For Part 2: In-N-Out Burger

                Today as I was flipping through the radio stations I heard a DJ talking about starting a write-in campaign to bring one to Detroit. It will never work, but hey, a man can dream.

                1. r
                  RedTop RE: vtombrown Nov 5, 2010 03:20 PM

                  I've grown very fond of the Denny's breakfast menu. And the coffee there is tasty, too.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: RedTop
                    JanPrimus RE: RedTop Nov 5, 2010 03:37 PM

                    I think the others are going to plan a intervention for you and I.

                    1. re: JanPrimus
                      vtombrown RE: JanPrimus Nov 5, 2010 05:09 PM

                      We're all allowed some guilty pleasures. :-)

                      1. re: vtombrown
                        JanPrimus RE: vtombrown Nov 5, 2010 05:45 PM

                        As long as no one mentions Leon's we are cool.

                        They are about as far on their Website as they are on good food.


                        I went once and ordered the Roast Beef and Potato's...

                        Instant Potato's and the Roast Beef was like those Boiled Pouches of Meat from the 70's that I am repressing the name of. Oh and the Veggies were boiled for at least 75 hours straight before service.

                        1. re: JanPrimus
                          Rheta RE: JanPrimus Nov 6, 2010 09:38 AM

                          I like Mitchell's Fish Market. I also like Chipotle Mexican Grill. Both very good chains.

                          Mexican Grill
                          3607 S Baldwin Rd, Lake Orion, MI 48359

                          1. re: Rheta
                            vtombrown RE: Rheta Nov 6, 2010 10:21 PM

                            Chipotle, yes. I used to not eat there because they were owned by McDonald's. But, then I found out they had again become independent and they (supposedly) opt-out of the industrial ag' racket, so I've started eating there, and I like it.

                            1. re: vtombrown
                              JanPrimus RE: vtombrown Nov 7, 2010 05:10 AM

                              Apparently the same owners are going to be starting a Asian chain too.


                              1. re: JanPrimus
                                vtombrown RE: JanPrimus Nov 7, 2010 08:47 AM

                                Awesome! Thanks for the info, JP. I'll call their Denver HQ and give some consumer feedback that we want one of these in Metro Detroit (can't hurt to ask).

                  2. JanPrimus RE: vtombrown Nov 7, 2010 12:21 PM

                    Oh I will tack on Five Guys Burgers too. Had some again today and I loved 'em. I know this will ruffle one or two peoples feathers but I like the burgers. The fries are just average. Nothing special nothing horrid.

                    Five Guys
                    4320 Charlestown Rd, New Albany, IN 47150

                    1. tokyo RE: vtombrown Nov 15, 2010 08:39 AM

                      Chicken Shack. When I moved to Metro Detroit from northern Michigan years ago, broasted chicken was a foreign concept to me. You still can't really get good broasted chicken up north, so I love to hit up Chicken Shack when I am in the D.

                      1. r
                        Rosedale RE: vtombrown Nov 15, 2010 03:01 PM

                        Cosi, Noodles and Pei Wei.

                        Also Bone Fish. Love their Bang Bang shrimp and ahi tuna.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Rosedale
                          boagman RE: Rosedale Nov 15, 2010 06:59 PM

                          Noodles actually impressed me recently. I'm on their birthday list, and they send me a free bowl of noodles for that, which is quite nice.

                          Two years ago, I went (they give you about 1-2 weeks to use it) and even for no charge, it wasn't impressive. I was, in one word, underwhelmed. Had I paid for what I received, I'd have written the place off after one visit, and just saddled it with the "Typical Chain" moniker and condemned it to live in death.

                          But, after a year, with me still being on their birthday list, sure enough: they sent me another birthday freebie, and so I decided to give them a second chance. I honestly couldn't believe how much better it was this time around. The food quality seemed to be stratospherically higher, what I was offered was tasty, and the service (such as can be expected in a place like this) was very, very refreshingly good.

                          Even though they told me not to, I left a tip, since everything had been fantastic. I'm still yet to return, but Donna and I will have to try them soon. We're Pei-Wei goobs, so I'm sure she'll like Noodles and Co., too.

                          It's nice when things can exceed expectations, you know?

                        2. j
                          Jack Freeman RE: vtombrown Nov 15, 2010 04:19 PM

                          I've never been to McCormick & Schmick but I have heard good things about it.

                          I would say... J. Alexanders, Original Pancake House and Olgas. I hate to admit it!! I have an addiction to Olga Bread..I swear they bake crack into it. I don't really like any of the sandwiches..just the bread!!!

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Jack Freeman
                            boagman RE: Jack Freeman Nov 15, 2010 06:52 PM

                            I'm of two minds on Olga's. On one hand, there's nothing wrong with their food or anything, but on the other hand, in order to leave there well-fed, I end up having to spend a ton of money. It's honestly crazy...and it's always been that way, and still is! I don't complain about it when people want to go there, but I do prepare myself for a pretty good dent to the wallet, or a partially-empty stomach on the way out the door.

                            It's just too expensive for what you end up getting. I enjoy what I get, but their portions are quite small.

                            1. re: Jack Freeman
                              coney with everything RE: Jack Freeman Nov 16, 2010 03:53 AM

                              Hey Jack (an old neighbor named Jack told me to never say "hi" to him at the airport), have you bought the frozen Olga bread? It's not too bad. We use it to make our own kafta-esque sandwiches.

                              1. re: coney with everything
                                JanPrimus RE: coney with everything Nov 16, 2010 04:16 AM


                                My kids like Olgas...but I am with Boagman on this. The portions leave me wanting and as our last lunch together suggest I eat more. Boagman ate I think 3 slices of Pizza and I had the whole pie of six slices. I have a problem.

                                1. re: JanPrimus
                                  coney with everything RE: JanPrimus Nov 16, 2010 05:22 AM

                                  I remember the Olga lunch being a real splurge when i was a student at U-M in the 70s...I could get a burger, fries and small drink at McDs for under a buck, but the Olga/spinach pie/drink was more like $3 and at the time, that was more than an hour's pay!

                                2. re: coney with everything
                                  Jack Freeman RE: coney with everything Nov 16, 2010 07:42 PM

                                  lol...no I haven't tried, actually I had totally forgotten about it. I don't find Olgas horribly expensive. You can go to their website and download a personal coupon each time you go and with their rewards card you get money back too.

                              2. momskitchen RE: vtombrown Nov 16, 2010 06:33 AM

                                I am glad no one has nominated P.F. Chang's because I don't understand why anyone likes it. My favorite chain is Buffalo Wild Wings.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: momskitchen
                                  JanPrimus RE: momskitchen Nov 16, 2010 01:48 PM

                                  I went there last week for a Beer and 12 wings. After tip I was out $18 and still hungry. The sauce and wings were not bad....but damn that seems excessive for 12 small pieces of Chicken covered in a chili based sauces (Mango Habanero and Jerk) and a local beer.

                                  I remember .25 cent wings only a few years back. I think that has alot to do with it.

                                  1. re: JanPrimus
                                    boagman RE: JanPrimus Nov 16, 2010 02:55 PM

                                    Doubly funny was the fact that you had lunch at Pizzeria Biga with VTB and myself, and you had soup, your own pie, a slice of bread with oil, and part of a plate of wings, and you should have been offered a soft drink (a slight service oversight...no biggie), and even with tax and tip, I'm pretty sure you *still* weren't up to $18...isn't that a pip? ;)

                                    1. re: boagman
                                      JanPrimus RE: boagman Nov 16, 2010 05:23 PM

                                      Time to hit the BIGA once again!

                                    2. re: JanPrimus
                                      momskitchen RE: JanPrimus Nov 16, 2010 06:04 PM

                                      12 wings at the Ann Arbor location would be $8.99....it must have been a spendy beer you had, or you are a big tipper! Wings are 45 cents each on Tuesdays, if that helps

                                      1. re: momskitchen
                                        JanPrimus RE: momskitchen Nov 16, 2010 06:13 PM

                                        It was a Tap of Bells Two Hearted and a dozen wings.

                                        I say again though that I remember $0.25 wings a few years ago and now at $8.99 for a dozen we are looking at $0.75 a wing. Candy Bars had enough decency to take twice as long to jump that much in price.

                                        1. re: JanPrimus
                                          boagman RE: JanPrimus Nov 16, 2010 06:43 PM

                                          If the beer was $5, which I recall you saying, that takes the bill up to around $17.50 or so, assuming around a 20% tip. If the beer was $5.50, it's about $18. Plus...it's *wings*, from BW3, which as I've found, are pretty small, and honestly, $9 for a dozen wings is just highway robbery.

                                          1. re: boagman
                                            momskitchen RE: boagman Nov 17, 2010 02:05 AM

                                            I totally agree with you guys....sure wish they were 25 cents.

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