Grossest American Chain Restaurant

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Inspired by my depressing trip home to visit family last month.

Poll Results

OptionVotes
Denny's 18
Applebee's 16
T.G.I. Friday's 15
Red Lobster 12
Olive Garden 10
Chili's 8
Romano's Macaroni Grill 4
Outback 3
Ruby Tuesday 3
Claim Jumpers 2


Darin, Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:03 (twelve years ago) link

no Cracker Barrel no credibility

Fetchboy, Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:04 (twelve years ago) link

If you're going to include Denny's then IHOP and Perkins ought to be there too.

President Keyes, Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:06 (twelve years ago) link

How'd I forget Cracker Barrel!

Sorry, I'm sure there's bound to be a few more glaring omissions.

Darin, Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:06 (twelve years ago) link

Though I suppose IHOP belongs to the world really.

President Keyes, Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:07 (twelve years ago) link

I am pretty revolted by the idea of Claim Jumpers, but I've never been to one.

How to Make an American Quit (Abbott), Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:07 (twelve years ago) link

Of this list, it's kind of gotta be Denny's.

(don't know what Claim Jumpers is tho)

circa1916, Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:08 (twelve years ago) link

I would happily dine at at least half of these right now, given the state of my budget/grocery supply until Friday. I could kill a steak platter + anything else from Outback Steakhouse, any given pasta entree from Olive Garden...fuck, even Red Lobster I'm sure I could come up with something and it's possible I've never even been to one.

The other side of genetic power today (Laurel), Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:08 (twelve years ago) link

Ditto for Denny's but OTOH it was THE ONLY place open 24 hours in my college town except for Meijers so y'know it's hard to hate.

The other side of genetic power today (Laurel), Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:09 (twelve years ago) link

I have a soft spot for IHOP, so I let them off the hook.

I was shocked when I first saw a Claim Jumper restaurant since I thought they only made frozen food. I picture all of the tables with microwaves and servers bringing out frozen gravy packets that need to be poked with a fork and nuked for 3 minutes.

Darin, Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:11 (twelve years ago) link

I have no idea waht Claim Jumper even is. Should I?

The other side of genetic power today (Laurel), Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:11 (twelve years ago) link

ranking of those I've been to, from grossest to least gross:
Denny's
Olive Garden
Ruby Fridaybee's
Red Lobster
Chili's
Outback
Romano's

hope this helps (Granny Dainger), Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:13 (twelve years ago) link

Unless you regularly eat microwave pork chops, then no, probably not.

x-post

Darin, Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:14 (twelve years ago) link

Yeah, I've had plenty of Denny's cuz it was the only place around my hometown growing up that was open 24hrs. Plus they had a smoking room. All of the rowdy teenage/early 20 something delinquents would pile into that room and smoke like hell and order up greasy breakfast food from angry waitresses at 2 in the morning. It wasn't a pretty scene.

xposts

circa1916, Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:15 (twelve years ago) link

I always felt bad for the waiters/waitresses at Denny's, having to deal with groups full of insolent teenagers ordering a total of $12 worth of food and coffee per table of 6 and getting a 10% tip if they're lucky. Though this one waiter totally did deserve my friend's "get a better job" tip written on the napkin.

hope this helps (Granny Dainger), Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:19 (twelve years ago) link

claim jumpers sounds like an insurance scam

I always felt bad for the waiters/waitresses at Denny's, having to deal with groups full of insolent teenagers ordering a total of $12 worth of food and coffee per table of 6 and getting a 10% tip if they're lucky.

yep. didn't blame them for being surly tbh.

circa1916, Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:22 (twelve years ago) link

My old boss took us to Claim Jumper's once, so much worse than most of the other choice for two main reasons:

1. Way, way, way more expensive than yr standard Applebees/Chilis shit but almost exactly the same
2. Ridiculous portion sizes even compared to other American chains

you gone float up with it (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:22 (twelve years ago) link

Grossest is likely Denny's.

forksclovetofu, Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:22 (twelve years ago) link

Never had a remotely edible piece of food served to me at Denny's in my life. One time a slice of pie I got had a layer of dust on it 2mm thick.

queen frostine (Eric H.), Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:22 (twelve years ago) link

Actually sort of liked Macaroni Grille at one time, tbh.

queen frostine (Eric H.), Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:23 (twelve years ago) link

Olive Garden is really pretty awful.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:23 (twelve years ago) link

I actually sort of like Cracker Barrel.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:25 (twelve years ago) link

i am grossed out by the name of cheesecake factory, should be a poll option

harbl, Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:26 (twelve years ago) link

Ate at Macaroni Grill for years with the fam in the 90s before I was aware it was even a chain. We viewed it as a treat, a REAL restaurant.

hope this helps (Granny Dainger), Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:28 (twelve years ago) link

i am shocked, SHOCKED by all yalls disrespect for denny's. grand slam breakfasts are hell of great, really, don't forget it.

TGI Fridays has made me sick every time i've eaten there

rahni, Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:28 (twelve years ago) link

Yeah, dude. Friday's can go hang, but Denny's is alright. The Grand Slam is a thing of economic wonder.

Clerk all KNOWIN (B.L.A.M.), Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:30 (twelve years ago) link

As far as I understand Claim Jumpers, it's like your standard chain restaurant but w/food of portions so ridic you need a little cookie that says "Eat Me" on it so you can magically grow to be as big as your food.

How to Make an American Quit (Abbott), Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:30 (twelve years ago) link

iirc it also has a prospector/old west theme?

How to Make an American Quit (Abbott), Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:31 (twelve years ago) link

Totally. It is a fatteh heaven.

In its defense, the one in Monrovia has RIDICULOUS football sunday appetizer specials. And cheap, big beers.

Clerk all KNOWIN (B.L.A.M.), Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:32 (twelve years ago) link

It is so cartoonish in my mind that I am certain if I ever end up there, I'll end up feeling a bit disappointed.

How to Make an American Quit (Abbott), Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:34 (twelve years ago) link

these are all the same restaurant

mark roflr (Shakey Mo Collier), Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:40 (twelve years ago) link

i like those breadsticks from olive garden, I could eat hundreds of them.

akm, Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:41 (twelve years ago) link

TGIF has made me the sickest over the years without question, lol college town. I wasn't having anything unusual and it didn't take as long to show up as real food poisoning would (ie the time it takes bacterial colonies to grow), but on several occasions it made me horribly ill a few hours after.

The other side of genetic power today (Laurel), Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:44 (twelve years ago) link

Cracker Barrel has pretty good food and belongs no where near this list.

I've vote Applebee's.

Jeff, Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:46 (twelve years ago) link

i think i've only been to chilli's and it was pretty goddamned bad - which is saying something, since i am generally a fan of terrible fastfood.

just1n3, Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:46 (twelve years ago) link

Chili's sucks.

ned ragú (suzy), Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:47 (twelve years ago) link

The only one of these I've ever actually found gross is t.g.i. fridays, so that.

crazy ass between (askance johnson), Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:48 (twelve years ago) link

I thought Olive Garden was OK, but we were slightly tipsy and had an absolute gem of a waiter.

My brother likes Applebees best, so that's probably going to make me vote for them, because he's always wrong about food.

The only chain food that made me sick in my enormous US chain restaurant experience of four weeks in Florida mostly not eating in chain restaurants was breakfast at Ponderosa Steakhouse. Seriously, yow, not good.

ailsa, Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:50 (twelve years ago) link

The only time I've become actually SICK, not just feeling gross from eating this shit, was when our whole family stopped at a Bob Evan's while driving back home after a vacation. The entire family spent two days puking after eating there, it was the worst experience ever.

you gone float up with it (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:51 (twelve years ago) link

i went to some place called macaroni grill in el cerrito but i don't think it was called romano's? anyway, it was delicious and i liked that they put all their calorie info on the menu, so you could see that the cheesy past you were ordering was about 1500 cals in one serving.

just1n3, Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:52 (twelve years ago) link

I would like to order one cheesy past plz

mark roflr (Shakey Mo Collier), Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:53 (twelve years ago) link

lol whoops

just1n3, Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:54 (twelve years ago) link

I haven't been to any of these in +5 years, but I always enjoyed outback and olive garden and to a lesser extent chili's and applebees.

crazy ass between (askance johnson), Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:54 (twelve years ago) link

it actually made me order something ~reasonably~ low fat, and skip dessert

just1n3, Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:54 (twelve years ago) link

Ooh, Bob Evans, we went in one of them. I can't remember anything about it though. I think I might actually have passed up the opportunity to eat, having just googled their menu. BOBurritos looks like the grossest thing invented by man.

ailsa, Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:55 (twelve years ago) link

the Romano's in Macaroni Grill is hard to see on the sign/menu iirc

hope this helps (Granny Dainger), Tuesday, 2 March 2010 23:58 (twelve years ago) link

This Bob Evans incident was in like 1992 btw, still can't drive past one without hints of nausea.

you gone float up with it (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Wednesday, 3 March 2010 00:00 (twelve years ago) link

Golden Corral anyone? grossest "restaurant" of all time by a long distance imo. its more like a trough, really. i think they might only exist in the south.

karl...arlk...rlka...lkar..., Wednesday, 3 March 2010 00:03 (twelve years ago) link

nope they def exist in the north!

harbl, Wednesday, 3 March 2010 00:04 (twelve years ago) link

Ample Parking

Mr. Que, Thursday, 11 March 2010 21:00 (twelve years ago) link

Was actually going to mention it earlier but I didn't think anyone would know it.

t(o_o)t (ENBB), Thursday, 11 March 2010 21:00 (twelve years ago) link

Thought I'd posted, maybe to the wrong thread.

I'm still flustered by the fact that there is a subset of chains that are "fancy," especially for people who live in rural areas without a lot of restaurants. A lot of friends have relatives from small towns who always had to eat at Olive Garden or Red Lobster when they went to the big city. Now the fancy place of choice seems to be Macaroni Grill.

mh, Thursday, 11 March 2010 21:01 (twelve years ago) link

would still eat there regardless, although I am now sad that meeting a jovially friendly owner named Roscoe is off the table

we call him black Nev coz he's black & his names Neville (HI DERE), Thursday, 11 March 2010 21:02 (twelve years ago) link

it's a great diner, but it's probably better-known for its ubiquitous bumper stickers than its food. (xxpost)

gabourey weaver (get bent), Thursday, 11 March 2010 21:02 (twelve years ago) link

would still eat there regardless, although I am now sad that meeting a jovially friendly owner named Roscoe is off the table

there's still roscoe's chicken & waffles in l.a.

gabourey weaver (get bent), Thursday, 11 March 2010 21:04 (twelve years ago) link

been there, would go again

we call him black Nev coz he's black & his names Neville (HI DERE), Thursday, 11 March 2010 21:04 (twelve years ago) link

me too

gabourey weaver (get bent), Thursday, 11 March 2010 21:06 (twelve years ago) link

next time I'm in CA we should have a FAWAC meetup

we call him black Nev coz he's black & his names Neville (HI DERE), Thursday, 11 March 2010 21:15 (twelve years ago) link

gross food, uncivilized portions, other?

Giant portions of crap food with this emphasis of "Look how supersized we made THIS!"

Jaq, Thursday, 11 March 2010 21:17 (twelve years ago) link

next time I'm in CA we should have a FAWAC meetup

Whether Long Beach, Pasadena or elsewhere, I am ALL over the 'Scoe's. Let me KNOW.

Clerk all KNOWIN (B.L.A.M.), Thursday, 11 March 2010 21:59 (twelve years ago) link

a 'dena thing would be fun

gabourey weaver (get bent), Thursday, 11 March 2010 22:44 (twelve years ago) link

Man, I got the Dena plans covered if it comes to that. 'Scoes, followed by Lucky Baldwins.

Clerk all KNOWIN (B.L.A.M.), Thursday, 11 March 2010 23:38 (twelve years ago) link

we might be in LA/pasadena area memorial day weekend, would be up for a FAP.

BLAM, if you're lucky i'll bring some more of that whittaker's chocolate back from NZ (we're going there beginning of may) for you!

just1n3, Thursday, 11 March 2010 23:51 (twelve years ago) link

I sometimes think of that kiwi/chocolate bar you sent. That was the BUSINESS.

Let me know if you all want to do a Pasadena area fap. I'd be glad to host.

Clerk all KNOWIN (B.L.A.M.), Friday, 12 March 2010 17:07 (twelve years ago) link

one month passes...

I've never been to this restaurant -- do people actually clean their plate or is the point that you take half home in a doggie bag? I mean, I am a big eater at times but I don't think I would want to, maybe even physically couldn't, put down 4200 calories at a sitting.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Wednesday, 14 April 2010 14:46 (twelve years ago) link

holy shit

millions now zinging will never lol (WmC), Wednesday, 14 April 2010 14:47 (twelve years ago) link

4,301 Calories

can I just what is this I don't even

etrian odysseus (cozen), Wednesday, 14 April 2010 14:51 (twelve years ago) link

I'll bet the items on the children's menu at this place are actual children.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Wednesday, 14 April 2010 15:14 (twelve years ago) link

Not toddlers, I'm talking fifth-graders.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Wednesday, 14 April 2010 15:15 (twelve years ago) link

don't even think my li'l bro wd be 4301 cals

etrian odysseus (cozen), Wednesday, 14 April 2010 15:17 (twelve years ago) link

the baked potato (side dish) has more sodium than the meatloaf and mashed potato dinner

o_O

Maurice, the Kraken (brownie), Wednesday, 14 April 2010 15:27 (twelve years ago) link

One of those rolled-in-coarse-salt baked potatoes, then.

millions now zinging will never lol (WmC), Wednesday, 14 April 2010 15:56 (twelve years ago) link

two years pass...

The place is huge, but it’s invariably packed, and you can see why. The typical entrée is under fifteen dollars. The décor is fancy, in an accessible, Disney-cruise-ship sort of way: faux Egyptian columns, earth-tone murals, vaulted ceilings. The waiters are efficient and friendly. They wear all white (crisp white oxford shirt, pants, apron, sneakers) and try to make you feel as if it were a special night out. As for the food—can I say this without losing forever my chance of getting a reservation at Per Se?—it was delicious.

The chain serves more than eighty million people per year. I pictured semi-frozen bags of beet salad shipped from Mexico, buckets of precooked pasta and production-line hummus, fish from a box. And yet nothing smacked of mass production. My beets were crisp and fresh, the hummus creamy, the salmon like butter in my mouth. No doubt everything we ordered was sweeter, fattier, and bigger than it had to be. But the Cheesecake Factory knows its customers. The whole table was happy (with the possible exception of Ethan, aged sixteen, who picked the onions out of his Hawaiian pizza).

I wondered how they pulled it off. I asked one of the Cheesecake Factory line cooks how much of the food was premade. He told me that everything’s pretty much made from scratch—except the cheesecake, which actually is from a cheesecake factory, in Calabasas, California.

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/08/13/120813fa_fact_gawande#ixzz22sJRPuVm

a regina spektor is haunting europe (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 7 August 2012 15:35 (ten years ago) link

Cheesecake Factory is ironically a factory of everything BUT cheesecake.

Will Chave (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 7 August 2012 16:34 (ten years ago) link

Was that written by Marilyn Hagerty?

o. nate, Tuesday, 7 August 2012 20:10 (ten years ago) link

lol

a regina spektor is haunting europe (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 7 August 2012 20:18 (ten years ago) link

one year passes...

Denny's has been doing that for a few years now, still makes me lol

Moons Over My Smaugy

set the controls for the heart of the sun (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 24 March 2014 17:31 (eight years ago) link

This is old and I think was probably posted in a Marilyn Hagerty thread, but it deserves to be memorialized herein:

http://www.theawl.com/2012/03/our-week-with-marilyn

james franco tur(oll)ing test (Hurting 2), Monday, 24 March 2014 17:39 (eight years ago) link

one egg to bind them

brownie, Monday, 24 March 2014 18:12 (eight years ago) link

nice

set the controls for the heart of the sun (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 24 March 2014 18:23 (eight years ago) link

eight years pass...

Chili's has food that tastes like the crap you'd shovel in your mouth while playing Twisted Metal back in 1996

def jeftones (Neanderthal), Wednesday, 25 January 2023 15:44 (one week ago) link

what were you doing in a Chili's

Malevolent Arugula (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 25 January 2023 15:49 (one week ago) link

slowly drifting away

def jeftones (Neanderthal), Wednesday, 25 January 2023 15:53 (one week ago) link

ROSCOE DINER RESTAURANT
Where People Eat Like Kings

andrew m., Wednesday, 25 January 2023 16:01 (one week ago) link

Accommodations to over 300 People

So this means the place can seat 10,000, right?

pplains, Wednesday, 25 January 2023 16:05 (one week ago) link

arena style banquet seating

def jeftones (Neanderthal), Wednesday, 25 January 2023 16:05 (one week ago) link

Need to read a Hagerty review of Chili's.

Malevolent Arugula (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 25 January 2023 16:06 (one week ago) link

"diner restaurant" reminds of a a funny place i've stayed (twice!) in memphis: The Gen X Inn Hotel

andrew m., Wednesday, 25 January 2023 16:09 (one week ago) link

are their flannel robes in the closet

def jeftones (Neanderthal), Wednesday, 25 January 2023 16:10 (one week ago) link

Build your own Hobbit Slam

Build your own Hobbit Slam

Build your own Hobbit Slam

is it milli vanilli or just a facsimile (Ye Mad Puffin), Wednesday, 25 January 2023 16:11 (one week ago) link

iirc Applebees has better bars

not too strange just bad audio (brimstead), Wednesday, 25 January 2023 16:16 (one week ago) link

you know, I can actually back you up on that one.

pplains, Wednesday, 25 January 2023 17:53 (one week ago) link

(But not babyback you up.)

pplains, Wednesday, 25 January 2023 17:54 (one week ago) link

I once read a fascinating long form article about the granddaddy of all of these, TGI Friday’s. At least for the first couple decades they cooked their food in house, while their competitors like Applebees or whatever just Microwaved literally everything.

Alicia Silver Stone (Boring, Maryland), Wednesday, 25 January 2023 18:49 (one week ago) link

history of TGIF pretty interesting. memphis had the first one outside of the og in nyc. was considered the hotspot. maybe big star gigged there? they certainly drank there.

andrew m., Wednesday, 25 January 2023 20:32 (one week ago) link

Applebees had those $2 Long Island Iced Teas for a while, you could get incredibly wasted for ten bucks

frogbs, Wednesday, 25 January 2023 20:34 (one week ago) link


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