'chain restaurants' on Serious Eats

Will Gordon Tries P.F. Chang's New Winter Cocktails

As soon as I sat down at the bar I noticed some signs that P.F. Chang's takes their cocktail operation more seriously than might be expected: The house whiskey is Evan Williams, which is not a personal favorite but which I respect as the go-to bourbon of many a discerning bottom-shelfer. And maybe I'm a sucker for being impressed by such a triviality, but I liked that the drink prices are rendered in whole dollar amounts. In my experience a $10 drink is almost always better than a $9.95 drink. I had a good feeling about this liquid lunch. More

Wine List Tips: The Best Wine at Red Lobster

Laced with plenty of butter and cheddar cheese, the biscuits at Red Lobster are pretty freakin' tasty. The rest of the food? Well, you can probably do better, depending where you are, but sometimes, you find yourself at a Red Lobster, and you're thirsty. We're here to help. Keep this list handy if you want to pick out a wine you won't regret. More

Wine List Tips: The Best Wine at The Olive Garden

Today we begin our foray into exploring the wine lists at popular chain restaurants. If you find yourself at The Olive Garden, there's no sommelier, and no cutesy descriptions, but you will see many of the same wines at every branch (though there may be a little variation from location to location). We tasted our way through 23 wines that you'll find at The Olive Garden in order to point you toward the best deals. More

Cheap Buzz: Dave and Buster's

Typically, the chain restaurants that I visit serve up watered down punches full of sugar and artificial coloring. They don't have bitters, they don't muddle much, and they count on America wanting a sweet, diluted elixir to make a little bit of hooch go down. But the drinks at Dave and Buster's stand out a bit from the pack: first of all, they're mighty strong. More

Chain Reaction: Cook-Out in North Carolina

Ever been to a Cook-Out? Not just a backyard barbecue; a chain restaurant that's called "Cook-Out" and serves a menu just like it sounds. The Greensboro location of this North Carolina-based chain has a drive thru on both sides of the building. For those who are motor-less, they also offer a walk-up. But there's nowhere inside to go; it's called Cook-Out for a reason. More

Cheap Buzz: The Olive Garden

I have to admit up front that I'm a huge fan of the Garden; I used to eat there about twice a week in high school. Breadsticks, never-ending salad, and spaghetti with meatballs—I loved them. And I loved that every Olive Garden had the same pictures on the walls, and played the same Frank Sinatra songs ("Fly me to the moon...") But nostalgia only goes so far. The food might still be tasty, in that comforting generic-and-heavy way. But their specialty cocktails? That's another story. More

Reality Check: Carl's Jr. Philly Cheese Steak Burger

The notion of dropping the entire contents of another iconic sandwich on top of my burger doesn't seem like the best of ideas. Of course, fast food chains aren't always trying to make something delicious. Rather, they're just trying to tempt us to come in again when they offer up things like Carl's Jr.'s most recent experiment: the Philly Cheese Steak Burger. I took the bait and stopped by to see how this new burger compares to its beauty shots. More

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