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What's your latest food project?

Yes, I haven't eaten there yet(and hopefully never).

Monica Jul 31, 2013 10:42 AM

I am almost proud to brag that I haven't been to following chains restaurants:
Pizza Hut
White castle
Apple bee's
Jamba juice
Papa John's
Red lobster

IHOP- twice
Olive Garden- once
Outback steakhouse-once
Burger King- three times

Yes, I have been to McDonald..to buy their amazing ice cream sundae.

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  1. j
    jefpen2 Jul 31, 2013 10:52 AM

    I have to say that you have to at least try White castle. Make sure it is about 2 AM to get the full effect

    2 Replies
    1. re: jefpen2
      al b. darned Aug 2, 2013 09:27 AM

      Maybe that was it... I wasn't drunk enough!

      I'd heard the White Castle Hype for years, but had never been anywhere where there was actually a store. Then I spent a week in Columbus, Ohio on business. Someone in our group almost wet himself he was so excited there was a White Castle down the street, and dragged a bunch of us down there. To say I was underwhelmed would be an understatement. I thought the food pretty much sucked, even for a chain. Since then, I've never had the desire to stop in at one, much less seek one out.

      1. re: al b. darned
        NonnieMuss Aug 2, 2013 04:56 PM

        It does suck, but it sucks in a very specific way, that makes you luuuurrrve it. Hard to explain.

    2. pinehurst Jul 31, 2013 10:56 AM

      Not sure what response this thread is seeking...do you want us to champion one of the chains listed, or to say "Good for you!" or to join in the chain bashing? No snark, genuine confusion.

      I visit my local coffee chain every single day. Sometimes three times a day even.

      2 Replies
      1. re: pinehurst
        Monica Jul 31, 2013 11:58 AM

        I am not looking for any particular responses. One of the threads i was looking at earlier made me think of the list.

        1. re: pinehurst
          c oliver Jul 31, 2013 09:40 PM

          I had the same thought.

        2. linguafood Jul 31, 2013 10:58 AM


          1 Reply
          1. re: linguafood
            fldhkybnva Jul 31, 2013 02:53 PM

            my thought exactly!

          2. Motosport Jul 31, 2013 11:19 AM

            I've never been to Per Se.
            I do have fond memories of 3 AM sack of Whit Castle 13 cent burgers. There may have been beer or something more potent involved. This was in the mid 60's!!

            20 Replies
            1. re: Motosport
              c oliver Jul 31, 2013 09:40 PM

              I've never been to Per Se either or TFL.

              1. re: c oliver
                dmjordan Aug 1, 2013 04:51 PM

                What's TFL?
                ETA: Never mind, already answered below.

              2. re: Motosport
                prima Aug 1, 2013 11:09 AM

                I haven't been to Per Se, TFL, EMP or White Castle!

                1. re: prima
                  jrvedivici Aug 1, 2013 11:28 AM

                  You cannot say you have lived a complete life until you have eaten at White Castle.

                  It is a little known fact, it is illegal for someone to state in a eulogy that someone has led a "full" life if in fact the deceased had never eaten a White Castle Burger.

                  Don't risk your eulogy, your legacy of life! You HAVE TO try White Castle at least once.

                  It's also a little known internet fact, when some writes or responds to you in all cap's, like above "HAVE TO", then you in fact are legally bound to do it. So now you have 2 reasons!

                  1. re: jrvedivici
                    prima Aug 1, 2013 11:35 AM

                    Ok, I promise, next time I'm in Manhattan, I'm heading to 8th Ave for White Castle!

                    Love this scene in Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle

                    1. re: prima
                      coll Aug 2, 2013 08:16 AM

                      I love every scene in that movie! Here's another that may tempt you further.

                  2. re: prima
                    Motosport Aug 1, 2013 11:53 AM

                    What's TFL? I must have slept thru that CH class.
                    I've never been to Le Cirque but the owner just stopped in to pay his bill. HAH!!

                    1. re: Motosport
                      prima Aug 1, 2013 11:54 AM

                      The French Laundry. :)

                      Does anyone know how many times I could eat at White Castle for the price of one dinner at TFL?

                      1. re: prima
                        Motosport Aug 1, 2013 12:01 PM

                        White Castle for life!!!!!!!!!!! Now that I know what it is I can say I've never been to TFL.
                        I have gotten the "Depression special" at Papaya King!! Or is it the inflation special at Gray's Papaya?

                        1. re: Motosport
                          prima Aug 1, 2013 12:07 PM

                          Ya know, now that you mention it, I've never been to Papaya King or Gray's Papaya. I really gotta get out more when I visit the Big Apple. I did take the subway to Coney Island to try Nathan's Famous in situ.

                          I forgot to mention, I've also tried all sorts of Ray's... Famous Ray's, Original Ray's, Famous Original Ray's...

                          1. re: prima
                            Motosport Aug 1, 2013 12:56 PM

                            The Famous One and Only Original Best First Ray's!!!!!
                            A Nathan's dog, French Fries and root beer on the boardwalk at Coney Island, PRICELESS!

                      2. re: Motosport
                        jrvedivici Aug 1, 2013 12:20 PM

                        I miss Le Crique when it was located in the New York Palace. That dining room was exquisite and so was Le Cirque. Not that I needed another reason to stay at the Palace, but it was the perfect compliment to the opulence of that hotel.

                        I haven't been to the new location but I watched a HBO show about the opening of it. From the looks of the show it was now a modern/contemporary type dining room, I'll prefer to hold onto the memories of the Le Cirque I enjoyed in the past.

                        1. re: jrvedivici
                          Motosport Aug 1, 2013 12:57 PM

                          Le Cirque now has 3 venues in NYC and 3 in Las Vegas. Enough already!!

                          1. re: Motosport
                            NonnieMuss Aug 1, 2013 01:01 PM

                            So I guess it can qualify as a chain then?

                            1. re: NonnieMuss
                              INDIANRIVERFL Aug 2, 2013 09:40 AM

                              Right there with all of Batali's venues.

                            2. re: Motosport
                              jrvedivici Aug 1, 2013 06:10 PM

                              Wha-a-a-at???? 3 in the City? Holy crap! Even more reason to hold on to my memories. Now that you mention it I do remember hearing about Vegas. Wow.

                        2. re: prima
                          Shrinkrap Aug 1, 2013 01:06 PM

                          What is EMP?

                          1. re: Shrinkrap
                            Motosport Aug 1, 2013 01:53 PM

                            Eleven Madison Park, I have not been there but I hear it is amazing.

                            1. re: Motosport
                              Shrinkrap Aug 1, 2013 03:59 PM

                              Ah! I assume New York? Grew up there, and did White Castle after ballet.Needless to say, I did not become a ballerina. I am in N Cal now, and by the way HAVE been to TLF! I prefer Ad hoc.

                              1. re: Motosport
                                Bkeats Aug 2, 2013 08:04 AM

                                I liked EMP better before they got silly with the whole experience thing. I really don't need magic tricks with dinner. Food is outstanding though. Its sort of a mini-chain since they opened NoMad.

                        3. w
                          wadejay26 Jul 31, 2013 11:44 AM

                          I don't understand. How can you judge these places as bad if you have never eaten at them. I am proud to say I have eaten at all of them but Jamba Juice. If I come across a Jamba Juice, I will be trying it. I will try anything!

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: wadejay26
                            Monica Jul 31, 2013 11:57 AM

                            Trust me, I have tried a lot of different kinds of food...but I know for sure that these chain restaurants are not on my list.

                            1. re: Monica
                              c oliver Jul 31, 2013 09:42 PM

                              To each her own. I can't imagine having an occasional White Castle burger though I'd prefer Krystal if I could have it/them.

                            2. re: wadejay26
                              Shrinkrap Aug 1, 2013 01:03 PM

                              JJ is perfect after you have your braces tightened during lunch and your mom is taking you back to school.

                            3. jrvedivici Jul 31, 2013 11:48 AM

                              For the record would it be rude if I asked your age?

                              For the record I don't think you can "go" to Domino's and Papa Johns. I guess you can go pick up but I don't think they offer dine in locations.

                              Some of those you really can't say you've lived a full life without experiencing ie. White Castle. I'm not supporting any of these because frankly although I have eaten at most of them, I also would not return to most either. But you have to live a little!

                              16 Replies
                              1. re: jrvedivici
                                Monica Jul 31, 2013 11:56 AM

                                I work in NYC so I basically don't need to go to these chain restaurants. I feel so fortunate to have so many great options of restaurants.

                                I am 38. About Domino's, I do pass by one everyday on the way to work and they have tables and chairs and I sometimes do see people eating in there. Not sure aout Papa John's since I've never seen one.

                                1. re: Monica
                                  jrvedivici Jul 31, 2013 12:04 PM

                                  Ok fine, but I'm still not letting you off the hook for White Castle!! You HAVE to try them!!! HAVE TO!! (see it's all cap's that's serious you cannot say no to something when it is in all caps, sorry, now you really have to)

                                  1. re: jrvedivici
                                    Monica Jul 31, 2013 12:10 PM

                                    LOL, If I ever see one, I will stop by and order a couple. What's so great about them though?

                                    1. re: Monica
                                      jrvedivici Jul 31, 2013 12:24 PM

                                      It worked? The all cap's thing really worked!?!?!? Hey I thought I was just making all that must do stuff up, but it really worked!

                                      Motosport summed it up pretty well, there is really nothing like them. You might not like them, hell after 30+ years of eating them myself I'm still not sure I like them, but they are a delicacy all their own.

                                      It's very similar to how I describe Peter Luger steak. I explain to people when I would bring them there, we all have different palate's, we all have different tastes it's what makes the world go round. I can't promise you or anyone would LOVE the Peter Lugers steak as much as I do, I can promise you though that after tasting it, you will say you have never had another steak that tastes like that one.

                                      That's what White Castle is, just a very different burger experience and one YOU MUST (see what I just did there??) try!

                                      1. re: jrvedivici
                                        Monica Jul 31, 2013 12:57 PM

                                        Apparently, it worked. LOL
                                        There is a famous little burger shop in Hackensack, NJ called White Mana. I assume their burgers are similar to White castle. They make these small burgers with grilled onions on top. Last time I went, I had about 4 of these.

                                        Have you ever been to Peter Luger in Great Neck? I always wonder if their quality is differen than the one in Brooklyn.

                                        1. re: Monica
                                          jrvedivici Jul 31, 2013 01:01 PM

                                          (I just realized your the jelly fish person, and I'm trying to convince you to eat a stupid White Castle!)

                                          I have never been to the Great Neck location, sorry. I'm from Jersey and I use to take the trip to Brooklyn at least 1 or 2 times a month. But about 10 years ago some Luger descendants opened a place in Manhattan called Ben and Jacks. Their quality and taste is as close to Luger as any I have ever tried, so that is my new place. I haven't taken the trip to Brooklyn since Ben and Jack's opened.

                                          1. re: Monica
                                            Gastronomos Jul 31, 2013 08:19 PM

                                            Monica, White Mana burgers are not similar to White Castle. At all.

                                            1. re: Monica
                                              coll Aug 1, 2013 06:22 AM

                                              Been to Great Neck, the steak is great just a different atmosphere. A little more genteel.

                                          2. re: Monica
                                            c oliver Jul 31, 2013 09:43 PM

                                            There's one in Flushing/Queens.

                                            1. re: c oliver
                                              Gastronomos Aug 1, 2013 04:09 AM

                                              that's the first one I ever tried, last year!

                                              1. re: Gastronomos
                                                c oliver Aug 1, 2013 08:05 AM

                                                We were like two kids. Did the drive-thru then sat in the car and scarfed them down. Only two each.

                                          3. re: jrvedivici
                                            Motosport Jul 31, 2013 12:12 PM

                                            Funny, I have often said about White Castle that you really can not compare them to hamburgers. They are an entity unto themselves. You have all sorts of hamburgers and then you have White Castle steamed thingies with minced onions on top.
                                            At 3 AM when you get the munchies there is not much that beats White Castle.

                                            1. re: jrvedivici
                                              Bkeats Jul 31, 2013 01:06 PM

                                              Wait a minute jr. Is there a White Castle exception to your burger rule?

                                              1. re: Bkeats
                                                jrvedivici Jul 31, 2013 01:19 PM

                                                Well let's put it this way, I don't really consider White Castle to be a "typical" burger, so I guess I'm claiming the White Castle exemption to their product.

                                                In my younger years yes, I use to love White Castles. As I have aged though, they are not kind to the rest of my digestive process so I have to be very careful if/when I try to indulge in them.

                                            2. re: Monica
                                              Siegal Jul 31, 2013 12:19 PM

                                              White Castle is a NY institution. (Almost) all "real" NYers who move reminisce on missing their tiny square oniony steamed burgers as drunk food (or just whenever). Sigh....I miss NY

                                              1. re: Monica
                                                KaimukiMan Jul 31, 2013 12:19 PM

                                                I'm NOT saying you should try any of these. And i like the way you say you are "almost proud", but I'm guessing if your favorite aunt or nephew or whatever begged and pleaded to try one of them for an important birthday or something you would be willing to suck it up and survive.

                                                Dominoes in particular is an interesting case. The few times I have tried them in Honolulu I have been amazed that anyone would buy something so horrible. Then on vacation in Los Angeles my brother brought a pizza for dinner. I didn't see the box, but it was quite good. I asked my brother where it was from and when he said Dominos I about died. When he was here a couple of years ago I brought a small Dominos to a picnic and he about died when he found out where it was from. Not at all the same thing.

                                                I've been to Applebee's once (nephew's pick - proud to say he has outgrown that) and most of the others at least once, except Olive Garden and White Castle, just not available here. I haven't set foot in a Wendy's in 20 years, but thats a different story. Anyhow, you aren't missing much by not going to these places, but in each of them you can find food that isn't really awful. I'm guessing if I lived where you do that I'd be less inclined to eat 'mass food' too.

                                            3. JungMann Jul 31, 2013 12:17 PM

                                              I've eaten at all of those establishments except Blimpie's and I don't feel like any less of a person for it. They aren't exactly on my go-to list (well, maybe White Castle is), but being open to different experiences, both high and low, makes for a more interesting life.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: JungMann
                                                Monica Jul 31, 2013 12:53 PM

                                                Oh, I have done both highs and lows but going to these chain restaurants is one of them. I am actually one of the most adventurous eaters and I love trying out new foods.

                                                1. re: JungMann
                                                  c oliver Jul 31, 2013 09:44 PM

                                                  IMO, it's part of being a CH.

                                                2. b
                                                  Bkeats Jul 31, 2013 01:13 PM

                                                  Pizza Hut - yes
                                                  Domino's - yes
                                                  White castle - yes
                                                  TGIF - no
                                                  Apple bee's - no
                                                  Sizzler - no
                                                  Jamba juice - no
                                                  Arby's - I think so
                                                  Blimpie - yes
                                                  Papa John's - no
                                                  Red lobster - yes
                                                  Wendy's - yes

                                                  IHOP- yes
                                                  Olive Garden- no
                                                  Outback steakhouse - once also
                                                  Burger King - yes

                                                  Only place I would seek out of the places I have been is Blimpie's. For some reason, I really like Blimpie's Best sandwich. Some of the others I will return to if there's no other option.

                                                  1. JerryMe Jul 31, 2013 01:36 PM

                                                    Well . . .Yea you! Just some insight into TGIF's


                                                    And yes, I've eaten and drank there but only beer.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: JerryMe
                                                      Monica Jul 31, 2013 01:45 PM

                                                      'a mixture that included rubbing alcohol and caramel coloring was sold as scotch. In another, premium liquor bottles were refilled with water that was not even clean'


                                                    2. NonnieMuss Jul 31, 2013 01:40 PM


                                                      Pizza Hut - Yup
                                                      Domino's - Yup
                                                      White castle - Yup
                                                      TGIF - Yup
                                                      Apple bee's - Yup
                                                      Sizzler - Yup
                                                      Jamba juice - Nope
                                                      Arby's - Yup
                                                      Blimpie - Yup
                                                      Papa John's - Yup
                                                      Red lobster - Yup
                                                      Wendy's - Yup
                                                      IHOP- Yup
                                                      Olive Garden- Yup
                                                      Outback steakhouse - Yup
                                                      Burger King- Yup

                                                      Oh, and a whole host of others: Krystal's, Whattaburger, Culver's, Five-Guys, Carraba's, Hardee's, Fazoli's, Fuddruckers, Carino's, Logan's, Dairy Queen, and I could go on and on.

                                                      I'm neither proud nor ashamed. Some I've chosen to eat at, others I've been dragged to. But there's something to be said for not knocking it 'til you've tried it. And I don't live in NYC, so it's not like I pass 19 awesome local, independent pizza places and end up at Domino's.

                                                      1. s
                                                        sedimental Jul 31, 2013 08:17 PM

                                                        I wouldn't think it is bragging. I like everything from Cheetos to canapés, PB &J sandwiches to foie gras brûlée to all kinds of restaurants like TGIF to The French Laundry.

                                                        I just got back from an adventure sport event trip where brought some Rolling Rock beer and Coronas with lime and several bottles of 1978 Bordeaux's and a 1982 PN. Enjoyed them all.

                                                        Too many foods and drink, too little time....each offer something to the moment.

                                                        Why be so narrow in choosing your food? It serves no purpose. Only you are keeping score, you are free to try things :)

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: sedimental
                                                          c oliver Jul 31, 2013 09:45 PM

                                                          Agreed. That's not bragging.

                                                        2. ipsedixit Jul 31, 2013 08:39 PM

                                                          I've tried all of them.

                                                          Multiple times.

                                                          And really like some of them.

                                                          Does that make me the Anti-Christ?

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: ipsedixit
                                                            wasny Jul 31, 2013 09:08 PM

                                                            What do you mean? Does Jesus hate fast food?

                                                            1. re: wasny
                                                              ipsedixit Jul 31, 2013 09:15 PM

                                                              I saw no White Castle burgers or Onion Blossoms at the Last Supper.

                                                            2. re: ipsedixit
                                                              jrvedivici Aug 1, 2013 05:35 AM

                                                              "Does that make me the Anti-Christ?"

                                                              No not at all, I can think of several other reasons that would make you the Anti-Christ than this ipse !

                                                              1. re: jrvedivici
                                                                Tripeler Aug 1, 2013 07:17 PM


                                                                (Where would Jesus eat?)

                                                            3. w
                                                              wincountrygirl Aug 1, 2013 04:20 AM

                                                              White Castle is great!!! And I'm an Arby's fan, but I'm really not sure why.

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: wincountrygirl
                                                                jrvedivici Aug 1, 2013 05:36 AM

                                                                It's been a long time for me, but does Arby's still have the slicers on the counters slicing the roast beef right there? I remember that as a kid and I use to really think that was "cool".

                                                                1. re: wincountrygirl
                                                                  DuchessNukem Aug 1, 2013 09:24 AM

                                                                  Lol wingirl -- "I'm so hungry I could eat at Arby's!"


                                                                  1. re: DuchessNukem
                                                                    NonnieMuss Aug 1, 2013 10:03 AM

                                                                    My husband and I quote that at each other all the time.

                                                                2. fldhkybnva Aug 1, 2013 05:57 AM

                                                                  Pizza Hut - yes many times, every Friday as a kid wish I could find one in my area
                                                                  Domino's - yes, quite often
                                                                  White castle - never been close to one but would try it
                                                                  TGIF - many times with other groups, not great, not bad
                                                                  Apple bees - many times with other groups, not great, not bad
                                                                  Sizzler - a few times as a kid but none in my local area
                                                                  Jamba Juice - all the time when I was in Wisconsin, now not available
                                                                  Arby's - weekly as a kid, would love some of their chicken tenders or a nice roast beef with that fake cheese allover it, messy and delicious
                                                                  Blimpie - never been
                                                                  Papa John's - too many times to count especially in college, the only pizza delivery
                                                                  Red lobster - never been
                                                                  Wendy's - count me in, pretty good chili
                                                                  IHOP - many times, prefer my local diner
                                                                  Olive Garden - a few times
                                                                  Outback steakhouse - a few times until I bought a cast iron pan and learned that my oven goes to 550F and don't really eat steak out much anymore but they make a great baked potato
                                                                  Burger King - weekly chicken sandwiches as a kid, now none are really around in my area

                                                                  I'm sure my list goes on an don

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                                    c oliver Aug 1, 2013 08:09 AM

                                                                    Applebees - we used to live in a small town that had little between fast food and "real dining," and it was a decent option. Quite tasty shrimp Caesar salad.

                                                                    Red Lobster - those cheese biscuits are worth the trip

                                                                    Olive Garden - when we went to Costco about 30 miles away up in Oregon, we'd sometimes hit them for the salad/soup/breadstick combo. The kale, potato, sausage soup was really good.

                                                                    Burger King - drive thru dollar menu

                                                                    1. re: c oliver
                                                                      Hobbert Aug 1, 2013 08:14 AM

                                                                      I agree. I like the soup and salad at OG- that sausage soup is pretty tasty.

                                                                    2. re: fldhkybnva
                                                                      ludmilasdaughter Aug 1, 2013 12:54 PM

                                                                      Pizza Hut - a few times, but I don't really like it that much
                                                                      Domino's - a few times, hate their pizza
                                                                      White castle - never, but would if we had one in the area or I traveled someplace that had one
                                                                      TGIF - a few times, not great, not terrible
                                                                      Apple bee's - a few times, not impressed
                                                                      Sizzler - never, none in the area
                                                                      Jamba juice - never, none in the area
                                                                      Arby's - used to love it when I was younger, have somewhat dropped my taste for it
                                                                      Blimpie - never, none in the area
                                                                      Papa John's - HATE their pizza
                                                                      Red lobster - not since I was a teenager, but all this talk about their bisquits has me intrigued
                                                                      Wendy's - my go to when a fast food craving calls, like their burgers, chili and baked potatoes

                                                                      IHOP- not since I was a teenager
                                                                      Olive Garden- a few times. The only time I would go back is for the soup, salad, and breadsitcks
                                                                      Outback steakhouse- a few times, not bad, they actually have very good fish
                                                                      Burger King- not since I was a kid

                                                                      I'll add Texas Roadhouse - not all that bad for a chain
                                                                      Panera - I have lunch there every few weeks. Very good quality.

                                                                      1. re: ludmilasdaughter
                                                                        Motosport Aug 1, 2013 01:05 PM

                                                                        I had a magnificent steak (I picked it out myself) @ Texas Roadhouse. Great side dishes.
                                                                        Panera is across the road from our office but we hardly ever go. The chains putting the independents out of business irks me.
                                                                        IHOP!!! great road trip breakfast. I always challenge the server: "I want it to look just like the picture"
                                                                        Red Lobster affectionately known as Dead Lobster
                                                                        TGIF is next to Panera same story
                                                                        Applebees on the other side of Panera same thing
                                                                        Outback next to TGIF just went out o' biz replaced with Joe's Crab Shack long lines. I'll wait until the novelty wears off.

                                                                    3. s
                                                                      Steve Aug 1, 2013 06:13 AM

                                                                      Cheddar Bay Biscuits at Red Lobster have their own Facebook page. And you thought they were inanimate objects!


                                                                      Some comedian did a routine on this, and from then on it became a kind of running joke with Red Lobster asking loaded questions like, "What would you do for a Cheddar Bay Biscuit?".

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: Steve
                                                                        prima Aug 1, 2013 11:13 AM

                                                                        One of my friends was pretty excited to try out a copycat recipe of the Cheddar Bay Biscuits.

                                                                      2. Boston_Otter Aug 1, 2013 07:35 AM

                                                                        I would suggest trying things. It's a lot more fun than being proud of having not experienced things.

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Boston_Otter
                                                                          shoo bee doo Aug 1, 2013 07:46 AM

                                                                          I always try things at least once also. I think it's fun.

                                                                          1. re: shoo bee doo
                                                                            fldhkybnva Aug 1, 2013 10:17 AM

                                                                            My general rule is ill give anything new 2 tries unless is horrendously awful. This has mostly been at home with new ingredients and the second time around I usually find I enjoy whatever I didn't like the first time. I imagine it might apply for restaurants too.

                                                                          2. re: Boston_Otter
                                                                            drongo Aug 1, 2013 04:40 PM

                                                                            I agree that it's good to try things. I've been to many fast-food places exactly once just to try (e.g. Five Guys, Chick-Fil-A). And I go to the major fast-food chains when they have something significantly new (e.g. Taco Bell with Doritos Tacos and again with their Cantina Bell). But White Castle is off my list -- I tried them twice 20 years ago and the indigestion was just too much for me! I've not been to Olive Garden (in NJ with an Italian-American restaurant on almost every town corner -- some awful, some good -- why bother with such a widely reviled option?). Chipotle is on my list to try -- I drive past several of their restaurants every week but have not yet been sufficiently tempted to stop.

                                                                            1. re: drongo
                                                                              c oliver Aug 1, 2013 05:33 PM

                                                                              Same with me. I tried Five Guys when we were in DC a couple of years ago. Not blown away but I feel the same about In n Out. I used to love Chick Fil A when I lived in the South a lifetime ago but wouldn't eat there now that I've found out how actively anti-gay they are. (But that's a different thread!) I do wonder if WC/Krystal is the best for those of us who grew up on them. Probably the same with Krispy Kreme. I had my husband eat one many years ago and he REALLY didn't like it.

                                                                          3. Monica Aug 1, 2013 07:52 AM

                                                                            For those of you keep saying I need to try different things...geez, I am almost certain that I have tried more exotic stuff than most of you. I am open to everything and I love trying out new things but trying out chain restaurants certainly is not on my list of things to try. Luckly, because i work in NYC, I am spoiled by high quality of food that I doubt i will find food at chain restaurants likeable.

                                                                            Not sure why not trying out a new chain restaurant means I am not adventurous.

                                                                            40 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Monica
                                                                              c oliver Aug 1, 2013 08:10 AM

                                                                              I guess I (and other perhaps?) assumed that because you posted this list that you wanted feedback.

                                                                              1. re: c oliver
                                                                                Monica Aug 1, 2013 08:12 AM

                                                                                And it worked because I got a lot of feedbacks saying I need to try more chain restaurants.

                                                                                1. re: Monica
                                                                                  jrvedivici Aug 1, 2013 08:36 AM

                                                                                  (it's obvious some people don't know about the all cap's thing, have you tried White Castle yet? don't forget you HAVE TO!! that's positive reinforcement)

                                                                                  1. re: jrvedivici
                                                                                    Monica Aug 1, 2013 08:39 AM

                                                                                    Ha! I first need to locate one.

                                                                                    1. re: Monica
                                                                                      Bkeats Aug 1, 2013 11:23 AM

                                                                                      525 8th Ave (b/w 36th and 37th). We've sent analysts/interns to pick them up for lunch runs. I'm in NYC too. Surprised you have not been to Blimpie's. I always thought that was a local NY chain. Never saw one until I got here. I'm guessing you've been to Shake Shack though since that's not on your list of not beens.

                                                                                      1. re: Bkeats
                                                                                        jrvedivici Aug 1, 2013 11:29 AM

                                                                                        Blimpie use to be out here in the Jersey burb's but they lost the battle to Subway and I'm not even sure of any left in NJ.

                                                                              2. re: Monica
                                                                                Boston_Otter Aug 1, 2013 08:46 AM

                                                                                For the same reason that I don't brag that I haven't seen popular, well-known movies in favor of indie films.

                                                                                Yes, NYC has tons of amazing food. Better than chain restaurants, indeed. But visiting various chain places from time to time can be fun, too, to see what they have. But you'll never know unless you try them, will you?

                                                                                1. re: Monica
                                                                                  sedimental Aug 1, 2013 09:31 AM

                                                                                  I think you are getting this feedback because most chowhounds know that even great chefs enjoy fast food and corporate/ junk/ chain/ bar food sometimes. It can really hit the spot.

                                                                                  Somehow you have judged all this food before you have tried it and somehow think that is a good thing.

                                                                                  Julia Child enjoyed McDonalds, Thomas Keller loves In N Out burgers, Alfred Portale likes Dairy Queen, Jacque Pepin (from Ho Joes chain) caught press last year because he said he loves airport hot dogs!

                                                                                  Certainly, you know what you like, but you havent even tried any food in those places you mentioned. how do you know you dont like something there?

                                                                                  Palates are different as you know. Like many great chefs and CH's here, I like all kinds of things, not everything certainly, but a wide variety.

                                                                                  1. re: Monica
                                                                                    Siegal Aug 1, 2013 09:34 AM

                                                                                    Coming from a NYer this is why people consider us food snobs...

                                                                                    "I am almost certain that I have tried more exotic stuff than most of you"

                                                                                    How would you know?

                                                                                    1. re: Siegal
                                                                                      sedimental Aug 1, 2013 09:41 AM

                                                                                      Exactly. That is why all the unexpected feedback.

                                                                                      Making a judgment or determination about things with no direct personal experience, results in feedback encouraging a more open mind. Even for junk food! :)

                                                                                      1. re: Siegal
                                                                                        c oliver Aug 1, 2013 10:19 AM

                                                                                        I had to chuckle over that one. Sounds like the subject of a thread where any OP, not this one necessarily, would be put to the test :)

                                                                                        1. re: Siegal
                                                                                          Boston_Otter Aug 1, 2013 10:44 AM

                                                                                          This OP is a perfect example of why NYers need to get out of the city once in a while :)

                                                                                          1. re: Boston_Otter
                                                                                            Monica Aug 1, 2013 10:48 AM

                                                                                            I actually travel quite a lot...which is exactly why I don't find the need to dine at most chain restaurants. There are so much interesting stuff out there!

                                                                                            1. re: Monica
                                                                                              fourunder Aug 1, 2013 05:08 PM

                                                                                              We live in the same area. Using Chinese food as an example, I've been to many places over the years...both dine in and take-out....from NYC to Boston and out to both LA and San Fran. While a good bowl of Wonton Soup can be had in any Chinatown....not so much in most suburban Chinese restaurants.....what doe this have to do with Chains?

                                                                                              The bowl of Wonton soup at PF Chang's for $6.95 is pretty amazing .....sometimes the no chain attitude can deprive you of some really good food.

                                                                                            2. re: Boston_Otter
                                                                                              small h Aug 2, 2013 04:22 PM

                                                                                              Please don't judge all 8 million of us based on this one thread (or any one thread). I get out out of the city pretty often, I'm a reasonably adventurous eater, and I also "don't find the need to dine at most chain restaurants." But I'm not smug about it. People eat what they eat.

                                                                                              The sentiment expressed in the OP reminds me of the haughty claim some folks make about not owning a television. And there's only one correct response to that, which is "well, aren't YOU fancy."

                                                                                              1. re: small h
                                                                                                Motosport Aug 3, 2013 08:04 AM

                                                                                                We do own a television but only one. Our neighbors seem to have TVs in every room. They think we are nuts.
                                                                                                We only watch BBC!! Just kidding!!
                                                                                                We do eat at chains when it works for us.

                                                                                                1. re: Motosport
                                                                                                  small h Aug 4, 2013 12:07 PM

                                                                                                  <We only watch BBC!!>

                                                                                                  And the only videos I watch online are TED Talks. I swear.

                                                                                            3. re: Siegal
                                                                                              Bkeats Aug 1, 2013 11:31 AM

                                                                                              As someone who also lives in NY, I had a similar reaction. I've eaten at many/most of the places listed. I've also eaten jellyfish. Much prefer a burger to the jellyfish. But I'll take uni over any burger. Hmm, anyone know of a place where I can get an uni burger?

                                                                                              I also think that much of the US views NY with a jaundiced eye when it comes to food and many other things.

                                                                                              1. re: Bkeats
                                                                                                jrvedivici Aug 1, 2013 11:32 AM

                                                                                                Not to mock those who have had it and enjoyed it, but I'm pretty sure I would rather eat my gym shorts than a jellyfish. Now maybe if there were a peanut butter fish I would try them together, but I'm not holding out hope for that!

                                                                                                1. re: jrvedivici
                                                                                                  Bkeats Aug 1, 2013 11:38 AM

                                                                                                  PBJ sushi! Sign me up.

                                                                                                  1. re: jrvedivici
                                                                                                    Monica Aug 1, 2013 11:46 AM

                                                                                                    Actually thai style summer rolls I made last week had peanut butter in it as part of sauce. Summer rolls had shrimps in it...not exactly fish but seafood.

                                                                                              2. re: Monica
                                                                                                JungMann Aug 1, 2013 09:54 AM

                                                                                                I don't think anyone has said you're not adventurous. What people are getting at is that bragging about being narrowminded and then using "I am almost certain that I have tried more exotic stuff than you" as a defense comes off as exactly as you describe yourself: spoiled.

                                                                                                Bragging that one's dining scoreboard has been unsullied by pedestrian chains might get you points with a certain set of New Yorker, but that attitude rarely fares well when you're posting on a board for food lovers.

                                                                                                1. re: JungMann
                                                                                                  ferret Aug 1, 2013 10:06 AM

                                                                                                  I'd hardly call a lack of desire to visit Applebee's or Red Lobster "narrowminded." What would going there demonstrate? A willingness to waste money on a sub-par dining experience? Money is money, and if I have a choice of spending $10 on a local establishment that actually puts forth an effort versus a national chain that serves lowest-common-denominator food then I would consider myself to be narrowminded also.

                                                                                                  1. re: ferret
                                                                                                    sedimental Aug 1, 2013 10:17 AM

                                                                                                    It might demonstrate that she likes some things there. Going to Applebee's demonstrated that I like their main dish salads. I copycat the oriental chicken salad dressing. It is a good one. Going to Red Lobster demonstrated that I like their cheddar bay biscuits so much, I use the copycat recipe at home and make it low carb. fabulous. I also enjoy the bar food and a cocktail there with my coworkers at happy hour sometimes too.

                                                                                                    Maybe I don't worry about every 10 bucks spent as having to be the best all the time. Sometimes it just has to be what I want at the time.

                                                                                                    How would you discover new things if you don't try them?

                                                                                                    1. re: ferret
                                                                                                      JungMann Aug 1, 2013 10:30 AM

                                                                                                      Going to Applebee's or Red Lobster might not demonstrate anything meaningful. But bragging about an exhaustive list of restaurants that the OP has never been to and hopes to always restrict from their experience is the definition of narrowminded.

                                                                                                      1. re: JungMann
                                                                                                        Monica Aug 1, 2013 10:41 AM

                                                                                                        I don't think not wanting to try out chain resturants means one is narrowminded.

                                                                                                        1. re: Monica
                                                                                                          Cachetes Aug 1, 2013 10:43 AM

                                                                                                          I agree that not wanting to try out chains is not narrowminded. I think it's the implied judgement of others' habits and/or gustatory pleasures that's getting to most people here.

                                                                                                          1. re: Cachetes
                                                                                                            c oliver Aug 1, 2013 10:46 AM

                                                                                                            And "almost" bragging.

                                                                                                            1. re: Cachetes
                                                                                                              ludmilasdaughter Aug 1, 2013 12:58 PM

                                                                                                              Exactly. You hit the nail on the head.

                                                                                                      2. re: JungMann
                                                                                                        Monica Aug 1, 2013 10:36 AM

                                                                                                        Aren't you the one who said, I should be more open to things and should try highs and lows?

                                                                                                        1. re: Monica
                                                                                                          JungMann Aug 1, 2013 11:09 AM

                                                                                                          My point is that I try to be open-minded without preemptively judging experiences I've not had. I'm not pretending that I would actively encourage someone to eat at the Applebee's in Times Square or do so myself (again), but knowing that I am a New Yorker and that I have the good fortune of choices others don't have, I also wouldn't brag about how I don't want to or have to eat at a chain. Or assume that chain diners are less savvy than I.

                                                                                                          It's the implicit judgment in bragging about your experiences and dismissing others that rubs people the wrong way.

                                                                                                          1. re: JungMann
                                                                                                            c oliver Aug 1, 2013 11:11 AM

                                                                                                            You've always been the voice of reason and fairness here, JM

                                                                                                            1. re: JungMann
                                                                                                              NonnieMuss Aug 1, 2013 11:28 AM

                                                                                                              Agree +1. No one would say "I love movies, but I will never watch any on this list that other people like."

                                                                                                              1. re: JungMann
                                                                                                                Monica Aug 1, 2013 11:48 AM

                                                                                                                Are you an auditor by any chance? =p
                                                                                                                I guess I should have thought twice before I wrote the word, 'brag'. Who would have thought I'd be hated by so many people by a quick thread i created yesterday!

                                                                                                                1. re: Monica
                                                                                                                  sedimental Aug 1, 2013 05:23 PM

                                                                                                                  Ohfergoodnesssakes. No one hates you. They are giving you grief over dissing typical American chain foods that you have never tried.

                                                                                                                  No one here thinks all chain food is "da bomb", but there are items that get really popular on those menus for a reason- not because everyone thinks they are gross. Chain food is full of salt and fat.... when you are in the mood for that- it hits the spot.

                                                                                                                  Hey, recently my German house guests (never before in America) was completely SMITTEN with American Mexican food....especially Nachos. Bean dip, quesadillas, nachos, orange cheddar cheese, salsa, guac, sour cream. Seriously, she loved everything about it all. It was a new, fun, tasty, experience for her. Gourmet? No.... but a great food experience. However, she said the beer was shit :)

                                                                                                          2. re: Monica
                                                                                                            shoo bee doo Aug 1, 2013 03:49 PM

                                                                                                            I generally hate chains and avoid them, but my reason for trying them out once or twice is more cultural. I just like to see what mainstrean culture is doing and eating. If someone talks about it in the workplace, I at least know a little of what they are talking about.

                                                                                                            I don't think you are not being adventurous by avoiding them and did not mean to imply that.

                                                                                                            1. re: shoo bee doo
                                                                                                              NonnieMuss Aug 2, 2013 05:46 AM

                                                                                                              This is exactly why my book club, after several "good" books, read Twilight. We wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Now we unanimously hated it, but it was one of our more fun book discussions as we tore apart the grammar, sentence structure, and religious metaphors. And now I get pop-culture references to those books. Reading it did not enrich my life at all; I learned nothing, did not improve the world, etc. but I remember that super-fun book club night where we laughed about sparkly vampires.

                                                                                                              1. re: NonnieMuss
                                                                                                                dmjordan Aug 2, 2013 11:23 AM

                                                                                                                You'd have a field day with 50 Shades of Gray!

                                                                                                            2. re: Monica
                                                                                                              Rilke Aug 1, 2013 05:26 PM

                                                                                                              "I am almost certain that I have tried more exotic stuff than most of you"

                                                                                                              Try us.

                                                                                                              1. re: Rilke
                                                                                                                c oliver Aug 1, 2013 05:34 PM


                                                                                                            3. f
                                                                                                              ferret Aug 1, 2013 08:07 AM

                                                                                                              You've missed nothing. Although McDonald's still has its occasional appeal for me.

                                                                                                              1. i
                                                                                                                INDIANRIVERFL Aug 1, 2013 08:22 AM

                                                                                                                The only ones I have not been to in the last 10 years, actually never, is Blimpie and Jamba Juice. I have been to all the others out of laziness, time constraints, lack of local knowledge, and as a guest or part of a group.

                                                                                                                And sometimes I just have a hankering for a McDouble with ice tea, bloomin onion, or a pie with Italian sausage, anchovies, and sweet peppers without the hassle of making it.

                                                                                                                And it wouldn't be Dear Daughter's birthday without a trip to TGIF with the free dessert and the awful song.

                                                                                                                1. h
                                                                                                                  Hobbert Aug 1, 2013 09:23 AM

                                                                                                                  Chains I have not eaten at but want to:

                                                                                                                  Jamba Juice
                                                                                                                  Shake Shack
                                                                                                                  White Castle

                                                                                                                  I recently ran across a Sonic and it was pretty tasty!

                                                                                                                  Ah, one day...

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: Hobbert
                                                                                                                    c oliver Aug 1, 2013 10:21 AM

                                                                                                                    We, here on the Left Coast, can get WCs in the frozen food section of most grocery stores. They MW great. Sometimes a couple of "rat burgers" is the perfect lunch :) And later in the day, perhaps some seared foie gras!

                                                                                                                  2. a
                                                                                                                    adrianar Aug 1, 2013 10:13 AM

                                                                                                                    White Castle is honestly not that great. Very overly hyped. McDonalds obviously has some addicting additive because I find myself going back. Not usual for me. Arbys is also gross. I like Dominos because it is cheap and they have their new crust :) But I indulge rarely. Jamba Juice... SO MUCH SUGAR. But awesome and healthy. Stay away from Papa Johns. The only good thing at Wendys is passing by it.

                                                                                                                    I agree, I think everyone should indulge in a late night chain/fastfood snack. You only live once.. why not? :)

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: adrianar
                                                                                                                      flavrmeistr Aug 1, 2013 12:01 PM

                                                                                                                      White Castle tears me up. I didn't grow up on it, so my gut probably doesn't contain the necessary microfauna. That's one I just can't do. Another is Skyline. I can handle microwave 7-11 chilidogs, but not Skyline.

                                                                                                                    2. s
                                                                                                                      Sharuf Aug 1, 2013 10:43 AM

                                                                                                                      IHOP is our usual once-a-week breakfast place. I'm particularly fond of their crepes, and my partner likes their hash browns.

                                                                                                                      1. f
                                                                                                                        flavrmeistr Aug 1, 2013 11:15 AM

                                                                                                                        So...when's your release date?

                                                                                                                        1. prima Aug 1, 2013 11:15 AM

                                                                                                                          Not all the locations of the chains you've mentioned are equally good/equally mediocre/equally bad, and big surprise.... some of them serve tasty food. The Pizza Hut in Glasgow, Montana used to be one of the better restaurants in town (not sure if that is still the case, since it's been a while since my last visit), with a surprisingly good value pizza buffet, complete with apple pie pizza (kitschy but tasty, imo). Not sure if it's still as good as it once was, I'd much rather eat at that particular Pizza Hut than most of the other restaurants in a 40 mile radius. I have some friends who live in rural Saskatchewan who crossed the border to dine at that particular Pizza Hut.

                                                                                                                          For me, the best part about being a Chowhound is being able to find something I like (or at least don't mind) on most menus, wherever I am. I've been learning through trial and error which dishes keep me happy (or happy enough), even when I end up at a lowly (?!) chain. If you travel to the 'burbs and/or the middle of nowhere America or Canada, it can be difficult to find decent indie options, so I'm glad I have developed some chain survival skills (tongue-in-cheek). I'm glad other Chowhounds post about the dishes they like or don't mind at various chains, which has helped me out when I find myself at a chain I haven't visited before.

                                                                                                                          1. p
                                                                                                                            pedalfaster Aug 1, 2013 05:42 PM

                                                                                                                            As a long-time bicycle racer and runner, I have to say I have grabbed a bite at some, but not all, of the above (often in BFE ) in order to simply consume subsistence (aka calories) and not pass out.

                                                                                                                            1. Gastronomos Aug 1, 2013 06:36 PM

                                                                                                                              I'll get you one of these:

                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: Gastronomos
                                                                                                                                c oliver Aug 1, 2013 06:49 PM

                                                                                                                                That's hilarious! I guess you can find anything, huh?

                                                                                                                                1. re: c oliver
                                                                                                                                  sedimental Aug 1, 2013 09:02 PM

                                                                                                                                  I am still looking for the "stadium pal" that David Sedaris talks about :)


                                                                                                                                  1. re: sedimental
                                                                                                                                    linguafood Aug 1, 2013 11:41 PM

                                                                                                                                    You and everyone else. Keeps ya warm and seated!

                                                                                                                                2. re: Gastronomos
                                                                                                                                  flavrmeistr Aug 1, 2013 06:59 PM

                                                                                                                                  Awesome. Does it have belt loops?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gastronomos
                                                                                                                                    NonnieMuss Aug 2, 2013 05:39 AM

                                                                                                                                    I want, I want, I want.

                                                                                                                                  2. tcamp Aug 2, 2013 12:24 PM

                                                                                                                                    I've eaten at all but Jamba Juice at least once. I've had Papa Johns, Pizza Hut and Dominos pizza more times that I can remember. Many, many more. Not because I like them much (although I like those hot peppers that come with Papa Johns pizza) but because they're obligatory at kid birthday parties, sports team celebrations, neighborhood kid-oriented get-togethers, school fundraisers. I won't miss that aspect of parenting.

                                                                                                                                    1. d
                                                                                                                                      debbypo Aug 2, 2013 11:25 PM

                                                                                                                                      You certainly sound like you are bragging (never an attractive quality in my book). I grew up in NY; I live in Chicago now. Plenty of great local ethnic food available at reasonable cost (a definite factor for me). Do I eat at chains? Occasionally. Are some better than others? Certainly. Are all worse than all local places? Of course not. Are all better? Hardly.
                                                                                                                                      That said, where I have eaten is not what makes me unique, interesting or special as a human being. Nor is it is a reflection on my character... more on circumstances and opportunities.
                                                                                                                                      When I was growing up in NYC many folks seemed to have the idea that culture ended at the Hudson. Fortunately I have seen enough of the world to know that this is far from reality. Have a nice day.

                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: debbypo
                                                                                                                                        c oliver Aug 3, 2013 07:56 AM

                                                                                                                                        Well said and written.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: debbypo
                                                                                                                                          Motosport Aug 3, 2013 08:06 AM

                                                                                                                                          Actually it ends at 8th avenue!!

                                                                                                                                        2. juliejulez Aug 4, 2013 08:25 AM

                                                                                                                                          Pizza Hut - yes (had it last night! haha)
                                                                                                                                          Domino's - yes
                                                                                                                                          White castle - yes
                                                                                                                                          TGIF - yes
                                                                                                                                          Apple bee's - yes
                                                                                                                                          Sizzler - yes, a very long time ago
                                                                                                                                          Jamba juice - no, don't like smoothies
                                                                                                                                          Arby's - yes
                                                                                                                                          Blimpie - no
                                                                                                                                          Papa John's - yes, a long time ago in college
                                                                                                                                          Red lobster - maybe once a long time ago
                                                                                                                                          Wendy's - yes

                                                                                                                                          IHOP- yes
                                                                                                                                          Olive Garden- twice
                                                                                                                                          Outback steakhouse- yes
                                                                                                                                          Burger King- yes

                                                                                                                                          When I lived in Chicago and had a lot of food options to choose from, I very very rarely had chain food unless I had to go out to the 'burbs for something. I would get a Sausage McMuffin at McDonalds when I was hung over but that was about it. Oh, and when I lived there, that was the only time I've had White Castle.

                                                                                                                                          But now, I live kind of in the middle of nowhere. There are no pizza places within 20 minutes of the house except Pizza Hut and Domino's. We also go on road trips where the only options are also fast food. The only independently owned restaurant within 20 minutes of my house is a very overpriced and not very good Chinese place. I'd honestly rather eat at DelTaco or something than eat there.

                                                                                                                                          So, when you're patting yourself on the back for not visiting chains, remind yourself that not everyone (ie the majority of the country) has the option to avoid them, unless they pack their food with them on road trips or cook exclusively at home (which I do 90% of the time).

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