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jhlurie

The chain restaurant topic

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I would say a Texas only chain counts as such - if only for the fact Texas is actually the size of a country!

In the UK Chain restaurants are seen as a much safer alternative by a majority of people, especially families, who for some reason perceive them as better value. Yet in nearly all cases they are not. Regardless of the 'Value' issue (Which I could go on about for a LONG time!), they are not even usually cheaper.'Real' restaurants may seem intimidating- There is a tendency in the British public to assume they are going to be ripped off - Having to order side dishes separatley tends to be a particular pet hate.

I have no problem with the concept of chain restaurants - in the UK we actually have a few half decent ones, Pizza Express is ok (McDonalds for Middle class people my friend describes it as!), Loch Fyne Oyster company is excellent and there are a couple of for the moment local ones which I can see spreading (Poppadum express - an Indian based one is quite good). The problem is when they get so 'corporate' with no allowance for variation, availability of local produce and become inflexible (Try asking for a different preparation of a dish in a chain restaurant - Or ordering 'Off Menu'!)


I love animals.

They are delicious.

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I think I'm odd in the respect that I can enjoy the most exotic, top quality food and still also enjoy fast food and chain restaurants. Growing up, my parents and I rarely went to chain restaurants. I grew up on home cooked meals and Japanese restaurants, but I do remember going to Chi Chi's and the Ground Round. As I got older and started going out to eat with friends I experienced more fast food, pizza and chain restaurants and enjoyed it. I also would go to very good restaurants with my family and enjoyed that very much too. When my boyfriend and I go out to eat we go to those chain restaurants and fast food places. When I go out to eat with my family, we go to more upscale places.

What exactly is so horrible the Olive Garden? I've never had a bad meal there.

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What exactly is so horrible the Olive Garden?  I've never had a bad meal there.

have you ever had a *good* meal there?

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Yes. The chicken alfredo is good, the chicken is nicely grilled and the sauce tastes the same as the one I make at home with cream, parm cheese and butter. The chicken piccata is good, so is their pizza, and zuppa toscana. The food isn't fabulous, but I don't see what's wrong with it either.

Edit: My boyfriend likes it a lot too. It's just about the most upscale restaurant he'll eat at :biggrin:


Edited by KateW (log)

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Edit:  My boyfriend likes it a lot too.  It's just about the most upscale restaurant he'll eat at  :biggrin:

Play the field. You're too young to settle for this.

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Haha we've been dating 5 years. If I want to eat fancy, I go to my parents' house, go out with friends, go by myself, or cook it myself and make something different for him. :biggrin:

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It all depends on what you expect from a restaurant.

Sometimes, I am out with friends, and just want to eat, and chat and have a drink. As long as the food is ok, I don't mind. Then a chain place is fine (And probably the best option).

If I actually want to go out for a meal - where the food is an important part of the evening then I expect the food to be better than what I would do at home.


I love animals.

They are delicious.

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Then a chain place is fine (And probably the best option).

i'm confused as to how mediocre food and waits could ever be a "best option."

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My problem with chain restaurants is that people often tend to equate them with "fancy" or "high end" places. They become exposed to the danger of being unadventurous or having lowered expecations by virtue of patronizing these places to the extent that they do.

If the highest form of cuisine that you know of is Olive Garden's best, how will you react to a place like Jean-Georges or March? Its possible to have chains that serve praiseworthy food (HoJo in the early 60s and 70s), but not in this day and age, where downsizing and costcutting are the mantras of the moment.

Soba

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My problem with chain restaurants is that people often tend to equate them with "fancy" or "high end" places.  They become exposed to the danger of being unadventurous or having lowered expecations by virtue of patronizing these places to the extent that they do.

You've described my Dad to a T. A few weeks ago Mom and I wanted to try out a neighborhood place that's been a fixture in their hometown. They've never been to that place. Well, Dad threw a fit and said that "he'd heard" the place isn't that good (despite what I've heard about it) and he browbeat us to go to Red Robin instead. *sigh*

Another problem I have with chain restaurants is the portion sizes! WTF is up with that? My SO and my Dad are now so hung up on portion sizes and "value" that if we go to a fancier place where the portions are more normal, they gripe about it. So now I'm stuck trying to eat with people who go into convulsions if the entrees are over $15.

Last night SO and I went to the Sign of the Beefcarver. What a depressing place. He doesn't know how to cook, so if I'm too tired to cook or go grocery shopping we go out to eat, usually at a chain.

Sorry for the rant. I've been to chain restaurants far too many times for my taste in the past month, and I get incredibly depressed each time I get dragged into one. I need to find new dining companions.

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My boyfriend, and some other people I know, don't like artsy food. Food is there to be eaten, not ooh and ahhed over. Eating is not an experience to them, it's a necessity. Because I know both people like that and people who enjoy the eating "experience", and it is necessary for me to dine with both sometimes, I am hung precariously in the middle. It has to look good and taste good, that's for sure, but each time I go out to eat doesn't have to be something I'll remember forever, or for even a week. Sometimes I just want to get out of the house. That's when it's fine for me to go to run of the mill restaurants and get something I could easily make at home. When I visit my family, that's when I can really splurge, because usually, they're paying. :wink:

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That's when it's fine for me to go to run of the mill restaurants and get something I could easily make at home.

I have a hunch that you can produce better food at home than what you'll get at the Olive Garden. :hmmm:

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Last night SO and I went to the Sign of the Beefcarver.

Never heard of this restaurant before, but what a cool name! Sounds like a Roger Corman movie... I think I saw the sequels: "Wrath of the Beefcarver" and "Escape from the Planet of the Beefcarver."

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"Blood of the Beefcarver."

This time it's personal.


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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That's when it's fine for me to go to run of the mill restaurants and get something I could easily make at home.

I have a hunch that you can produce better food at home than what you'll get at the Olive Garden. :hmmm:

I dunno, I don't have many appliances or ingredients in my postage stamp kitchen :sad: Let alone room to keep them.

So, nobody has told me yet why Olive Garden is so bad...is it because it's not authentic Italian? Or it's not complex enough? I'm curious.

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"Beefcarver 10: Beefcarver vs Freddie and Jason."


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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I have a hunch that you can produce better food at home than what you'll get at the Olive Garden. :hmmm:

I dunno, I don't have many appliances or ingredients in my postage stamp kitchen :sad: Let alone room to keep them.

You don't appliances to produce good food at home.

You don't need a fully-stocked pantry to cook at home.

Kate, shall we make a project out of you? :biggrin::cool::biggrin:

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Kate, shall we make a project out of you?  :biggrin:  :cool:  :biggrin:

Sure :biggrin: I know I don't need a lot, but I mean, I can't even make good grilled chicken with what I have.

My wall mounted spice rack is sitting on top of my microwave because the nails won't stay in the wall. I have one area big enough for a cutting board and the rest of my counter space is covered by a microwave, blender, toaster and dish drying rack.

The first time I used the oven, I turned it on to preheat, and the smoke alarm went off :huh: I love to cook, but I get so frustrated in these tiny apartment kitchens. That's why settling for Olive Garden doesn't seem so bad :biggrin:

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Oh no. They have the recipe for fun.

That's why the world is going to hell in a handbasket.

There's no more fun.


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Does anyone recall reading a piece a couple of years ago about a securities analyst who built an uncanny reputation for predicting which food chains were going to do well or flop? Possibly in Forbes. Her secret: she actually took the trouble to dine in these places and assess the food and service.

Don't know what it says about the state of chain restaurants, but sure was revealing about the securities industry.


Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"

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