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The NY Post listed their top 20 US chain restaurants. I’m usually on team #NoChain and prefer local joints, but I’m also an expert eater, so here’s my reaction to the Post’s list.
1. Shake Shack – No brainer here. I’ll even put up with Shake Shack lines, and we all know how I feel about lines. Wish they had more customizable burgers, but the quality of the product is A1.
2. Tender Greens – Never heard of it, but sounds health AF. Internet tells me it’s a Cali thing, bruh.
3. Umami Burger – Another in the “never heard of it” category, but it’s another Cali thing with only 24 locations. The burgers sound dope, though.
4. Five Guys – Solid choice. Good burger joint with a lotta ways to customize your burger. Plus the free peanuts are fuego. They give you the brown paper bag and I always load it to the brim in peanuts like I’m preparing for an extra-innings baseball game and snack on them on the drive home. (It’s this specific scenario which I taught myself how to eat peanuts with the shell. Shockingly not that bad).
5. Chipotle – E. Coli aside, you can’t deny the burrito bowls. Personally, I like my local spots (Shouts to Anna’s) but for a quick burrito on the road, Chipotle used to be the way to go, but now they can’t even give the shit away. #PrayForChipotle
6. Texas Roadhouse – What’s not to love? Big hunkin’ slabs of meat with a side of meat. I always confuse this place with Longhorn’s Steakhouse, though. No idea which one is the better pick.
7. Friendly’s – This one hits close to home. Started in Western Mass, Friendly’s is a New England institution. Their service is never great – my family always called it Slowly’s – but the ice cream is legit. Shout out to the Monster Mash ice cream sundae.
8. Benihana – Teppanyaki is the shit. Onion volcanoes, throwing eggs up in the air with knives, catching shrimp tails in your pockets, it’s all gold Jerry gold. I’ve never specifically been to a Benihana, but Steve Aoki’s dad started it and rumor has it that Tyrese has one in his house, so you know it’s the tits.
9. The Cheesecake Factory – When you think of chain restaurant, you gotta be thinking Cheesecake Factory. A menu longer than the collective works of James Joyce ensures anyone can find something for dinner. And they have like eighty varieties of cheesecake that are all bonkers.
10. P.F. Chang’s – Can’t have a chain restaurant hall of fame without P.F. Chang’s. If I need to get all hopped up on MSG, I know that P.F. Chang’s will hook me up with that pure monosodium glutamate.
11. Maggiano’s – Never heard of it but their name sounds fancy as fuck. Sounds like a step up from Olive Garden. “Mom’s lasagna” sounds dope.
12. Applebee’s – Eating good in the neighborhood, amirite? The food is so mediocre you couldn’t find a highway median that’s more middle of the road. Love some of their old school commercials.
13. Red Lobster – Never been. Can’t trust chain seafood. If it isn’t fresh, it isn’t legal, and they have no proof that their seafood is fresh, especially when it’s in states that are landlocked. I’m a Boston guy, and fresh seafood is sort of our thing out here. No true Massachusetts man would be caught dead in a Red Lobster.
14. T.G.I. Friday’s –They have brunch. ‘Nuff said.
15. Chili’s – I think Dave is the foremost expert on Chili’s, but I absolutely love their baby back ribs jingle.
16. Ruby Tuesday – Never been to a Ruby Tuesday but their menu looks pretty sweet and it seems as if they have $5 margs, so you know Shibby is on board.
17. Olive Garden – As American as Italian food gets. Unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks. Class, class, class. True story: never been to an OG and probably never will.
18. Cracker Barrel – I’ve been to a Crate & Barrel but never a Cracker Barrel. Internet tells me it’s a southern general story restaurant combo. If I pass by one I’ll check out their biscuits and gravy. Maybe they’ll serve my drink in a Dixie cup?
19. Sonic – Outside of the annoying commercials, Sonic is awesome. Slushes are crazy refreshing on hot days, and it’s easy to dump a few vodka nips into a Sonic slush. The chili dogs are bananas, and while I’ve never tried their corn dogs, one of the med students from my St. Patrick’s Day adventure bet me that she could eat 40 of them in a 24-hour period. That’s how you know they’re good.
20. Boston Market – Comfort food city. Biscuits, mashed potatoes, and rotisserie chicken. Sounds like the ingredients to a food coma.
A few snubs that jump to mind: Panera, Domino’s, Panda Express, Papa Gino’s (New England thing), Jimmy John’s, Hooters, California Pizza Kitchen, and In-N-Out Burger..
[via NY Post]