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.
'chain restaurants' on Serious Eats
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.
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.
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.
As Dunkin Brands, the corporate parent and franchisor of many Dunkin' Donuts locations, prepares its upcoming IPO, there has been no shortage of new products released by the company lately; following on the heels of their Big n' Toasty, they've just released the Blueberry Waffle Sandwich: egg and cheese with sausage or bacon on two blueberry waffles.
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.
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.
Inspired by our new Sunday night addiction, last week's challenge was all about your pitches for America's Next Great Restaurant. We wanted to hear what sort of fast casual joint you would open if given a slew of celebrity backers. With concept, marketability, and franchising opportunities in mind, here's a look at our favorite Chain Restaurant Brainstorm ideas.
Trader Vic's is Cheap Buzz with emphasis on the buzz. The drinks were powerful and—to my surprise—not too sweet. Of course, part of the fun is the presentation.
Last week, at a Wendy's near New York's Penn Station, I was surprised to see a quick flash on their digital menu boards: Breakfast. Now, Wendy's has been testing a few morning items in very limited markets—but I knew I wasn't living in one of them. What I found? A rogue Wendy's breakfast menu.
Just in time for Valentine's day, Dunkin' Donuts released new cocoa yeast donuts, which will be available through the end of February. The Good Idea, Bad Idea videos from Animaniacs come to mind.
Jack in the Box's Bonus Jack is similar to a Big Mac, but with twice the cheese and loads of Jack's unique "secret sauce."
[Image: Mail Online] Foie gras-enhanced burgers isn't a new idea for high end restaurants, but you certainly wouldn't find a foie gras burger in a fast food restaurant... Nevermind; now you can. Or soon you'll be able to, if...
[Photograph: Elevation Burger] In 2009 Virginia-based organic burger chain Elevation Burger announced plans to open in Lower Manhattan by the end of the year, then changed the plan to open near Union Square by May 2010. And then...that didn't...
[Photographs: Nick Solares] Popular Denver-based burger chain Smashburger is opening three locations in Brooklyn next year, the New York Times reported today. The exact when and where have yet to be revealed, but now you know you won't have...
Earlier this month Wendy's announced they're introducing a new premium burger called Dave's Hot 'N Juicy Cheeseburger, named after founder Dave Thomas, and switching their fries to natural-cut skin-on fries made with Russett potatoes and sprinkled with sea salt....
Original Tommy's Double Chili Cheeseburgers are billed as "a Southern California Tradition." Fueled by morbid curiosity, I had to experience one for myself.
There's a drawing of a barn on the wall of the Backyard Burger on Marler Lane in Ozark, Missouri. I doubt very much that any of the beef served at Back Yard burger came from a farm that looked like that, despite it being domestic Black Angus. But then again, it doesn't appear that the burgers there are cooked in a charcoal fired kettle as the companies logo implies.
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.
Last night, Nightline featured Carl's Jr.'s limited release footlong cheeseburger in a segment called "Sign of the Times." Aside from the footlong cheeseburger, they also mention KFC's Double Down, Friendly's cheeseburger melt, and Denny's fried cheese melt as examples...