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Chain restaurant love manifesto.

I know many people love to hate chains. I love them. Let me explain why.

For the most part, every successful chain restaurant has a very distinct product that no other vendor sells. Take a look at a White Castle. Does anyone sell a burger even remotely similar? None that I know of. If any of of my random local burger joints disappeared I really wouldn't care - there are so many other restaurants selling a near-identical product in most cases that the departure of one burger restaurant wouldn't be a big deal unless it was your favorite.

However, if I were to lose White Castle, there is no place I know where I could get a burger so deliciously full of stinky onion steam that I keep smelling it the next day. This principle applies to every chain I hold dear. What other fried chicken joints sell chicken that is as ridiculously fatty and soggy (in the most delicious way) as KFC? Where else can you get a taco where you're not sure where the meat came from, but don't care because the fire sauce has obliterated all sense of taste in your mouth? Who else on this planet sells a burger that is as fantastically childish as McDonalds? Who's got a pizza greasier and soggier than Pizza Hut? Nobody, that's who.

This is why I love chain restaurants. There's something fantastic at every good chain restaurant that *no one* else has.

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  1. I can kind of agree. I travel a lot for work (between 100 and 200 nights in a hotel, per year), and I often seek out local places to eat, especially if there is some kind of cuisine for which the area is known. That said, if you can't find reliable info about local joints, or just can't find anything that sounds good, then you can at least be pretty sure that the chain you know will have food that will be as you expect it, whatever that food is. My best example is also my favorite fall-back when traveling.... Buffalo Wild Wings. Wherever I am, I know that there will be a wide selection of draft beer, the wings will be approximately the same, and the Spicy Garlic sauce will be delicious, whether it is California or Massachusetts. And hopefully it will be Tuesday! Actually, it usually is Tuesday, but not always. Anyway, that is the great thing about chains, and I don't even mean those of the fast-food variety, though that is the same idea. Having said that, I am sitting here trying to think of chains that I regularly visit when I am home, but I'm not coming up with much. Once or twice a year at a steakhouse chain, but rarely. The only thing that comes to mind is, well, wings ;-) Even then, it's more often another chain, albeit more of a regional than national one. Quaker Steak & Lube, anyone? Still mostly on Tuesday though, and still sometimes Buffalo Wild Wings instead. The more important question might be "why does every place have their wing night on Tuesday?". I guess that's for another thread....

    1. I'll give you some support - I hear you. When I play a gig that gets out at 11pm and I'm all amped on adrenaline and hungry, Taco Bell is the best. I know it's not "real" Mexican food, I know it's not "quality" food. It's late night junk food that scratches a particular itch after playing cello for 2 1/2 hours.

      And sometimes, there are just problems in my world that nothing except KFC fried chicken and mashed potatoes will fix.

      5 Replies
      1. re: CurlieGlamourGirlie

        >And sometimes, there are just problems in my world that nothing except KFC fried chicken and mashed potatoes will fix.

        I think that's the greatest thing I've read all day! Yes, there are few problems a bucket of KFC, mashed potatoes and cole slaw can't fix. :)

        1. re: joonjoon

          Yes, there are few problems a bucket of KFC, mashed potatoes and cole slaw can't fix. :)

          ************
          Especially constipation :)

          I love me my junk food sometimes as well! There is a time and place for everything in my world!

          1. re: sedimental

            I agree!

            I get really tired of reading the other boards, and people proudly proclaiming: "I have never had a fast food burger!"
            UGH!

            I Love food, and I love all kinds of food!

            It's closed minded snobbery, and these peoople do not know what they are missing in life!!

            I actually, hardly ever do eat at chains, but when I get a craving for White Castle - or McDonalds French fries - I swear - NOTHING else will do.

            1. re: NellyNel

              It's closed minded snobbery, and these peoople do not know what they are missing in life!!
              ~~~~~~~~~~
              there are various reasons why people eschew fast food burgers - it's not always just because they think they're "above" it.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                True,GHG, but I was referring to the posts whereis IS about snobbery. I have seen quite a few across the boards.

                Actually, I encountered the worst snobbery, when I mentioned that I happen to really like PF Changs!
                Oh brother!
                Yes, I know it's not authentic, yes, I know it's not quality...yes, I know it's a tacky chain - but I like it - the food is tasty to me!
                I got slaughtered for admiting it, by loads of harsh comments..Food snobs there, for sure!!

      2. I agree with our philosophy. Especially about White Castle. Now I want one!

        1. I got a couple of meatball subs at a Subway once during a tropical storm here in Florida, it let up a bit after about 24 hours and I hadn't had hot food in a while so I went looking for some. They were the only place open.

          I don't even like Subway but since then I've always appreciated them. My first advice to anyone when a storm is approaching is "make sure you know where the nearest Subway is located."

          1 Reply
          1. re: redfish62

            These days, the Publix deli counter might be an equal bet for post-storm food since they put generators in most of their coastal stores after the 2005 hurricane season.

          2. ha ha well said, well said.