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Author Topic: Most popular casual dining restaurants  (Read 750 times)

golden eagle

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Most popular casual dining restaurants
« on: July 03, 2019, 11:25:54 PM »

Since there’s a thread for fast food, here’s a survey that was taken by Market Force. This was published on November 30, 2017. Here’s the top 16 they published:

1. Bonefish Grill
2. Maggiano’s
3. Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen
4. Texas Roadhouse
5. Carrabba’s Italian Grill
6. Pizza Ranch
7. Longhorn Steakhouse
8. Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen
9. Sweet Tomatoes
10. BJ’s Brewhousr
11. Olive Garden
12. Logan’s Roadhouse
13. Cracker Barrel
14. Village Inn
15. Outback Steakhouse
16. Red Lobster

I can vouch for Pappadeaux. Only been there once (outside Atlanta), but I loved the food. I do like Longhorn. I’ve never heard of Sweet Tomatoes, Pizza Ranch or Village Inn, but since Village Inn is a breakfast restaurant, I’d like to try it someday.
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ce929wax

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Re: Most popular casual dining restaurants
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2019, 11:41:09 PM »

I can vouch for Pizza Ranch.  It is a buffet style pizza place with a fried chicken and salad buffet.  Sometimes they don't always have the pizza that I like, but overall it is pretty good.  The nearest one to me is Holland, MI.
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TheHighwayMan394

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Re: Most popular casual dining restaurants
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2019, 12:40:05 AM »

I can vouch for Pizza Ranch.  It is a buffet style pizza place with a fried chicken and salad buffet.  Sometimes they don't always have the pizza that I like, but overall it is pretty good.  The nearest one to me is Holland, MI.

Provided you're not in a hurry, the next time you stop in and they don't have what you're looking for you can ask for them to make it for the buffet. It's their trademark "buffet your way" gimmick. I'm not picky enough to ask for a special pizza myself, though.

Of this list I can reliably say I've been to 4, 6, 11, 13, 14, 16. I'll seek out Cracker Barrel and Village Inn; we have a VI in the Twin Cities metro fringe, but it's not on my usual travel paths. Red Lobster, like many people I would eat a meal of those biscuits but could do without anything else they have; not much of a seafood fan to begin with but especially not their low-quality stuff. Olive Garden at least I like the soup in addition to the breadsticks. I've never seen a Texas Roadhouse that wasn't packed from the moment the doors opened so I usually pass that up for less busy places.
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Rothman

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Re: Most popular casual dining restaurants
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2019, 01:24:56 PM »

Bonefish Grill tried to open in Albany and was laughed out of town.
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ce929wax

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Re: Most popular casual dining restaurants
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2019, 02:37:01 PM »

Provided you're not in a hurry, the next time you stop in and they don't have what you're looking for you can ask for them to make it for the buffet. It's their trademark "buffet your way" gimmick. I'm not picky enough to ask for a special pizza myself, though.

Yeah, I know, but by the time they make it, I've filled up on fried chicken and mashed potatoes.
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nexus73

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Re: Most popular casual dining restaurants
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2019, 05:43:47 PM »

1. Bonefish Grill-Never heard of it.
2. Maggiano’s-Never heard of it.
3. Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen-Never heard of it.
4. Texas Roadhouse-Eatertainment.  Food was just fair.
5. Carrabba’s Italian Grill-Never tried them as none are here.
6. Pizza Ranch-Never heard of it.
7. Longhorn Steakhouse-Have yet to try.
8. Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen-Never heard of it.
9. Sweet Tomatoes-Never heard of it.
10. BJ’s Brewhouse-Never heard of it.
11. Olive Garden-Food poisoned twice in Eugene, blah food in Provo.  Fuggedaboudit.
12. Logan’s Roadhouse-Never heard of it.
13. Cracker Barrel-Just had one open in PDX.  Reviews not impressive.
14. Village Inn-Best bacon I ever had in my life at the one in Flagstaff.  Would recommend.
15. Outback Steakhouse-Expensive but not worth the price.
16. Red Lobster-Overrated.  I get better seafood from local places here.

Amazing to think so many places I never heard of despite having traveled widely over the last several years and watching so many TV ads.  Your best bet is to read the Yelps and find the locally owned bistros if you want to dine finely. 

Rick
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jp the roadgeek

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Re: Most popular casual dining restaurants
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2019, 06:12:53 PM »

1. Bonefish Grill- The two near me opened and closed inside of 2 years
2. Maggiano’s- Heard of them, but none in my area
3. Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen- Never heard of them
4. Texas Roadhouse-OK.  Couple in my area
5. Carrabba’s Italian Grill-Gone from CT.  One in West Springfield, MA. Friend used to work for them in 2 states and still has nightmares.

6. Pizza Ranch- Never heard of
7. Longhorn Steakhouse-Few in my area.  Building one 2 miles from me
8. Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen-Never heard of
9. Sweet Tomatoes-Someone mentioned it once but the closest one is Atlanta
10. BJ’s Brewhouse-Never heard of
11. Olive Garden-The McDonalds of Italian.  Couple near me
12. Logan’s Roadhouse-Never heard of
13. Cracker Barrel-Couple about 30 minutes either side of me
14. Village Inn-Never heard of
15. Outback Steakhouse-One in my town.  Plenty all around
16. Red Lobster-If I want real seafood, I go to the shore.  Couple near me.
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Rothman

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Re: Most popular casual dining restaurants
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2019, 06:14:51 PM »

Maggiano's was good twenty years ago.  Not so sure about now.
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RobbieL2415

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Re: Most popular casual dining restaurants
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2019, 07:56:14 PM »

1: Very good. We had one until it closed.
2: Don't have here
3: Don't have here
4: It's alright, kinda hokey. Food's nothing to write home about. Don't go here if you have a peanut allergy. They serve them all over.
5: Phenomal but expensive. It closed down a couple years ago, probably due to there being an Olive Garden nearby
6: Don't have here
7: Not my favorite Darden restaurant but it works. Bit pricey. Good cocktails.
8: Don't have here
9: Don't have here
10: We have one opening up across from Red Robin AND Longhorn. Oddly enough, NOT a Darden creation.
11: Anything they make here you can make at home. There's no point to it.
12: Don't have here
13: It's for old people. Food's OK but I've only been once.
14: Don't have here.
15: The only casual chain that we have but I've never eaten at.
16: Worst attempt at seafood ever. I save my money and eat seafood on the Cape. Why does Red Lobster stay and Carrabba's go?

My honorable mentions:

Bertucci's: OK to poor. They closed down recently
Friendly's: Boy they've really come around recently. They came out of bankruptcy and invested heavily in retooling their menu and renovating stores. And their ice cream is still quite good. I actually really like their burgers too.
Friday's: OK to poor. Again, I can make most of it at home.
Red Robin: Onion rings are good. Burgers too.
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zzcarp

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Re: Most popular casual dining restaurants
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2019, 12:48:40 AM »

Sweet Tomatoes is a great place if you like soup and salad. All you can eat fresh salad and homemade soups. Usually have a pasta choice as well. And there's always a coupon in my email to reduce costs even further.
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Buck87

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Re: Most popular casual dining restaurants
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2019, 08:01:35 AM »

I've been to Bonefish Grill once and was not impressed by it

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RobbieL2415

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Re: Most popular casual dining restaurants
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2019, 11:20:05 AM »

When we had it, Bugaboo Creek was the shit.  I miss that restaurant. I think they're all gone now.

Another honorable mention is Ruby Tuesday. Basically its Applebee's with a different name and a salad bar.
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webny99

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Re: Most popular casual dining restaurants
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2019, 03:21:26 PM »

I am sorry for those of you that have never heard of Pizza Ranch. Put it on the top of your bucket list for next time you go west.
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nexus73

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Re: Most popular casual dining restaurants
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2019, 05:58:51 PM »

I am sorry for those of you that have never heard of Pizza Ranch. Put it on the top of your bucket list for next time you go west.

How far west?  I live in Oregon.  We have the farthest western point of land in the lower 48.  No such thing as pizza ranches here, just a few small ones with cattle...LOL!

Rick
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formulanone

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Re: Most popular casual dining restaurants
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2019, 08:31:25 PM »

I'll just comment on the ones I've tried.

3. Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen - pretty good, but a bit pricey; mostly found in Texas and a handful of one-off locations. Figure on a $30-60 dinner. A rare treat.

4. Texas Roadhouse - nothing bad, nothing special

5. Carrabba’s Italian Grill - far better than Olive Garden for a just little more money, but it's been a while since I've been to one. Will customize entrees or create off-menu items without fuss. The Huntsville location has long since closed.

7. Longhorn Steakhouse - same Texas Roadhouse, to me. You can find a smaller steak with sides for a decent price, if you just want ~600 calories.

8. Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen - mostly in Texas and southeastern US. Not to sound like a douche, but you've probably not heard of them because they traditionally did not spend one cent on advertising. (That may change since they were acquired by Darden.) Better quality food than other American-fare casual restaurants, fair prices. Only complaint is that they've never heard of a low-calorie salad dressing.

9. Sweet Tomatoes - my kids like the all-you-can-eat portions and variety. Food is okay, it's cafeteria-style service. I'm not into eating so much food anymore. Would much rather go here than Golden Corral. One of those once-a-year things when we're out of town.

11. Olive Garden - much has been said already; we usually wind up at one at least once a year. Would much rather try a mom-and-pop for the same money (or less), but sometimes there's no Italian places to found in medium-sized southern cities, and I'll find at least one or two things that they've never messed up or can special order.

12. Logan’s Roadhouse - nothing really differentiates them from the other roadsteakhaws concepts, they've kind of interchangeable to me.

13. Cracker Barrel - Staple of The South, although they're now spreading to New York, New Jersey, and out west...it's reliably good stuff, but kind of unfancy. Kind of hits the spot at times, though in the Deep South, you can find similar grub without the country store up-selling you.

14. Village Inn - I always forget about this one; like a much better Denny's without the fuss and grease. I don't think I've ever seen an ad from them.

15. Outback Steakhouse - if you dig around, there's some good deals hidden in the menu. How big a steak do you really need with all those sides? My wife's family loves it, so it's an excuse to eat those horrible blooming onion rings...and by "horrible", I mean very addictive, really bad for you, and really want one right now just thinking about it.

16. Red Lobster - I wind up here on occasion for work lunches, and they actually don't seem to disappoint on speed, quality, and cleanliness. They always seem to be a lot more unprepared and underwhelming for dinners, though. If I'm somewhere coastal or renowned for seafood, I usually steer clear.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2019, 08:46:06 PM by formulanone »
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Big John

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Re: Most popular casual dining restaurants
« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2019, 09:03:15 PM »

I am sorry for those of you that have never heard of Pizza Ranch. Put it on the top of your bucket list for next time you go west.

How far west?  I live in Oregon.  We have the farthest western point of land in the lower 48.  No such thing as pizza ranches here, just a few small ones with cattle...LOL!

Rick
They are in 14 states, mainly in the Midwest and Plains states https://pizzaranch.com/all-locations
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Re: Most popular casual dining restaurants
« Reply #16 on: July 08, 2019, 09:42:43 PM »

Cracker Barrel is significantly cheaper than other chains in this area.

Assuming the Burger King lawsuit precedent applies, Village Inn cannot get anywhere within 20 miles of Dracut, MA. I've been to the local one in Dracut, but it looks like the chain is nowhere near the northeast at all.
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golden eagle

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Re: Most popular casual dining restaurants
« Reply #17 on: July 08, 2019, 10:02:20 PM »

Cracker Barrel is significantly cheaper than other chains in this area.

Assuming the Burger King lawsuit precedent applies, Village Inn cannot get anywhere within 20 miles of Dracut, MA. I've been to the local one in Dracut, but it looks like the chain is nowhere near the northeast at all.

What’s the deal with a lawsuit?
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Re: Most popular casual dining restaurants
« Reply #18 on: July 08, 2019, 10:05:19 PM »

What’s the deal with a lawsuit?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burger_King_(Mattoon,_Illinois)

There's an unrelated Village Inn in Dracut.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2019, 10:08:51 PM by 1 »
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ilpt4u

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Re: Most popular casual dining restaurants
« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2019, 10:16:50 PM »

What’s the deal with a lawsuit?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burger_King_(Mattoon,_Illinois)

There's an unrelated Village Inn in Dracut.
Was not aware of that Court ruling, basically meaning no chain Burger Kings in the Mattoon (along I-57)-Charleston (Eastern Illinois University) area

I’m shocked either the Burger King Corporate or a wealthy franchiser hasn’t bought out the Mattoon business.

Good for Burger King of Mattoon, tho! Next time I drive up to Chicago, I know a new place to try!

Another random bit about that part of Illinois: Jimmy John’s was founded in Charleston as a sandwich delivery place in the college town for EIU students
« Last Edit: July 08, 2019, 10:26:06 PM by ilpt4u »
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golden eagle

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Re: Most popular casual dining restaurants
« Reply #20 on: July 09, 2019, 12:59:49 PM »

I knew about the Burger King situation in Mattoon. I didn’t know that Jimmy John’s started in Charleston.
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webny99

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Re: Most popular casual dining restaurants
« Reply #21 on: July 09, 2019, 04:18:33 PM »

I am sorry for those of you that have never heard of Pizza Ranch. Put it on the top of your bucket list for next time you go west.
How far west?  I live in Oregon.  We have the farthest western point of land in the lower 48.  No such thing as pizza ranches here, just a few small ones with cattle...LOL!
Rick
They are in 14 states, mainly in the Midwest and Plains states https://pizzaranch.com/all-locations

Yep, that's exactly the page I was going to link to. Iowa tops the charts with 74 locations, followed by Minnesota with 42, Wisconsin with 23, and South Dakota with 22. Given the notable absence of locations in Indiana and Ohio, the nearest one to me is in the Grand Rapids, MI, area, about 500 miles west from here.
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Re: Most popular casual dining restaurants
« Reply #22 on: July 09, 2019, 04:40:43 PM »

In my mind, LoneStar, Longhorn, and Texas Roadhouse are just a blur.   I know I've been to them a couple times, but could not tell you which of the three.

I do like Bonefish Grill and Pappadeaux, but they are not cheap.  I don't consider them in the same class as Olive Garden, Red Lobster, or Cracker Barrel.
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ce929wax

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Re: Most popular casual dining restaurants
« Reply #23 on: July 09, 2019, 10:11:01 PM »

I have never been to Bonefish Grill, but I have been to Pappadeux once (I believe in Duncanville, TX maybe, somewhere in DFW) many years ago, but I don't remember much about it.  I would recommend Copeland's if you are in Louisiana.
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