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Chain restaurants that are actually good

Chain restaurants that are actually good

Old Dec 1, 04, 10:50 am
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Chain restaurants that are actually good

This might be a tough one, since by definition a chain is bad and to be avoided. And even if a really good restaurant tries to become a chain, it rarely works. Think Legal Seafood here.

But there are some good ones that have a high standard of service and quality.

The Palm is a favorite and I believe that each of them are fantastic restaurants. http://www.thepalm.com/

Mortons can usually be counted on for great food and service. http://www.mortons.com/website/index.html

I'm sure there must be one or two others out there?
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Old Dec 1, 04, 10:57 am
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Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak Houses. There are only six of them, but they serve the best steaks I've ever tasted. But then, maybe six doesn't a chain make?
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Old Dec 1, 04, 11:05 am
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Pasta Pomodoro

This is my favorite thing on the menu. It's especially good if you have them add sun-dried tomatoes.
RAVIOLI DI ZUCCA Roasted butternut squash ravioli, browned butter, crispy sage leaves, parmesan. $7.95 APPETIZER PORTION $4.75
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Old Dec 1, 04, 11:20 am
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If you like a great steak and have an extra few bucks in your pocket, you can't beat Ruth's Chris Steak Houses... http://www.ruthschris.com/home.asp

For a good, all-around dining experience when you're taking the kids, grandkids and their friends out to eat, you can't go wrong with the Olive Garden's all-you-can-eat breadsticks and salad with meals. http://www.olivegarden.com/

For fun, decent food and lots of "doggy bags" for the next day's lunch, check out Buca di Beppo... http://www.bucadibeppo.com/
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Old Dec 1, 04, 11:30 am
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I don't know why so many people are anti chain restaurants. Maybe it's because I grew up in the 'burbs eating at them but I have no issues with them like some people do.

Macaroni Grill is good. I love the "create your own pasta dish" concept.

Claim Jumper. Huge menu, huge portions.

Bobs Big Boy. It's a classic! Especially the one in Toluca Lake (near Burbank).

High end, Mortons and Ruths Chris are great!
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Old Dec 1, 04, 11:41 am
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Mosburger,the champ of Asian burgers. ^ Their spicy burgers are made-on-order and use quality ingredients. Something like the In-n-Out of Japan.
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Old Dec 1, 04, 11:48 am
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How about some of the smaller chain restaurants. I much prefer these over the typical Chili's, TGIFridays, Applebees, Olive Garden, etc.

Naked Fish: http://www.nakedfish.com/
10 locations in Massachusetts
- Great seafood & cuban cocktails

Vinny T's - http://www.vinnyts.com/
8 locations in MA, 1 in CT, 1 in ME, and 1 in PA
- Excellent neighborhood style Italian food

Fire & Ice - http://www.fire-ice.com/
5 locations, 2 in MA, 1 in RI, 1 in AZ, and 1 in CA
- Improvisational grill - create your own all-you can eat dinner...

Paparazzi - http://www.paparazzi-restaurant.com/
13 locations - 7 in MA, 1 in RI, 2 in NJ, 1 in DC, 2 in NY
- Italian trattoria & bar

Joe's American Bar & Grill - http://www.joesamerican.com/
14 Locations - 9 in MA, 1 in CT, 1 in RI, 1 in NH, 2 in NJ
- All-American Bar & Grill

---------

The following are slightly larger, but I am including them because they are unique or something special (in my opinion)

Melting Pot Restaurant - http://www.meltingpot.com/
Locations throughout the US (except New England & a few others)
- Fondue restaurant!

Bugaboo Creek Restaurant http://www.bugaboocreeksteakhouse.com/
Locations throughout the NorthEast, NY, PA, MD, DE, and Georgia
- Steakhouse with the flavor of the Canadian Rockies.

Fuddruckers - http://www.fuddruckers.com/
Locations throughout the US
- Their slogan is: "The World's greatest hamburgers!". I'm including this because although it is just a hamburger chain, it is still a whole heck of a lot better than a McDonalds or other fast food restaurants.

Last edited by steve100; Dec 1, 04 at 1:55 pm
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Old Dec 1, 04, 12:24 pm
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I've been happy with McCormick and Schmick's on both the east and west U.S. coasts.
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Old Dec 1, 04, 12:36 pm
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I love the Macaroni Grill. Their foccacia bread is terrific. Everytime I go there I debate with myself about what to get, but I almost always go for the salmon over angel hair pasta.

Marketplace is also a nice chain.
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Old Dec 1, 04, 1:16 pm
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I hate to sounds elitest, but ugh!

McCormicks and Schmicks I've had on both US coasts and they are OK. As is Smith and Wollenskys. But Fuddruckers? Worlds greatest hamburger? Bob's Big Boy? Come on! I'm talking about good dining here. Not adequate for suburban grub.
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Old Dec 1, 04, 1:21 pm
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I like Fire and Ice, I eat there about once every other trip to Boston as I stay at the Sheraton Commander about three blocks away.. In Chicago we have a local place with a couple of outposts called Flat Top that is very similar, does some things better (special woks for people with allergies, better service) and worse (less variety of meats and vegetables). I like Fire and Ice a little better overall.

Most high-end steakhouses that have expanded are good. I've had good experiences at the Chicago locations of the Palm and Capital Grille with other FTers, and at Morton's in other cities.

Then there are the chains that I'll visit on business trips in smaller cities but would never consider when at home. Outback, Maggiano's and Romano's are at the top of that list: slightly better than acceptable, decent bar, and a price tag that won't destroy the project budget.

In Chicago, we have a couple of companies that have a lot (as in a couple of dozen) of restaurants but usually no more than a few of any particular subchain. Lettuce Entertain You (leye.com) is the biggest; they're the ones that created Maggianos and Corner Bakery and sold them chains to Brinker (the owner of Chili's), where unfortunately the quality of both have since suffered.
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Old Dec 1, 04, 1:31 pm
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While they don't have a massive amount of stores nationwide, I'm consistently happy with Palominos.
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Old Dec 1, 04, 1:47 pm
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Originally Posted by stimpy
I hate to sounds elitest, but ugh!

McCormicks and Schmicks I've had on both US coasts and they are OK. As is Smith and Wollenskys. But Fuddruckers? Worlds greatest hamburger? Bob's Big Boy? Come on! I'm talking about good dining here. Not adequate for suburban grub.
I am going to be very non-elitist and admit that I absolutely love the Waffle House! One waffle, side of hashbrowns and coffee, please!
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Old Dec 1, 04, 1:50 pm
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Originally Posted by Nymph
I love the Macaroni Grill. Their foccacia bread is terrific. Everytime I go there I debate with myself about what to get, but I almost always go for the salmon over angel hair pasta.

Marketplace is also a nice chain.
I'll second (or would that be third?) Macaroni. Worth it just for the bread, olive oil and pepper they give you while you decide what do order.
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Old Dec 1, 04, 2:02 pm
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Originally Posted by stimpy
I hate to sounds elitest, but ugh!

McCormicks and Schmicks I've had on both US coasts and they are OK. As is Smith and Wollenskys. But Fuddruckers? Worlds greatest hamburger? Bob's Big Boy? Come on! I'm talking about good dining here. Not adequate for suburban grub.

You said good chain restaurants. I happen to like the food at said chain restaurants. If you meant overpriced chain restaurants ya need to be a bit more specific.

Does Houstons fit your bill or is that too "swap meet"?

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