The All Things Restaurants-Related Thread

Is Boston Market still a popular restaurant? Seems like a couple of decades ago they were the "new" thing and doing very well. What's happened to them?

I loved Schlotzky's growing up - they have closed in my town. I have no idea why.

I think Cosi is great, but they aren't popular. Instead, Panera is more popular.

Applebee's, TGIF, Chili's, and Marie Callender's seem to be dying.

Where do you spend money to eat?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/12/2020 01:46PM by shoptastic.

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Stone Fire Grill it's shopped about every four months, but I love their wraps and spend my own $, Stop Chop, Fish Grill, Gyu-Kaku shop, would and have gone on my own.. Panera bread now charges 2.60 for a cup of coffee (no thanks). Solita, upscale Mexican, great ambiance and good food, not shopped. Cafe Rio on Tuesday for their special Tostada salad, Taco Tuesday anywhere, taco's here can't be beat. Tuesdays have many specials including Pizza Rev for 6 bucks, which I like.

Live consciously....
I'll be quite honest, OUTSIDE of mystery shops or being able to freely choose wherever I want to eat whenever I'm on per diem, on some other type of business lunch (not on my dollar), or influenced by free or BOGO coupons to lower my bottom line, I tend to spend my money at the following:

1. local dim sum, Chinese, Mexican, burger restaurants. Basically local.
2. The only chains I really spend my money at includes Chipotle, Chick-Fil-A, Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, In-N-Out, Jollibee, Texas Roadhouse and maybe some other sushi chains.

I tend to just avoid spending my own money altogether when it comes to eating out, unless I have to.

Shopping the Greater Denver Area, Colorado Springs and in-between in Colorado. 30 year old male and willing to travel! Badged for Denver International Airport.
I especially like the Hop 'n Drops shops, as there are few restrictions on what to order, it is easy to stay within the reimbursement, and the shop pays a fee. Hop 'n Drops is a Pacific Northwest chain of burger restaurants. Good food.
I have seen a couple of restaurant shops that provide space for subjective comments. I don't know how much weight is given to those answers, since food is such a personal thing, but it's fun to fill them out.
I rarely spend my own money. I don't usually dine out unless it's a shop or a special occasion. That frivolous spending at restaurants really adds up. I invest most of my money.
We are eating out more these days because a few nights a week are dinner with one or more of my sons. I cook for us, they tend to pick up restaurant tabs rather than cook. We run the gamut. Every month or two someone suggests Waffle House and the thought of a pecan waffle sends us that direction. When egg nog milkshakes are in season we end up at Steak 'n Shake. But we are establishing a family tradition of one non-fast-food meal per week and it most frequently is at a non-chain or purely local chain restaurant.

In our modest size city we have identified a half dozen truly good Italian, four really good oriental restaurants including two Chinese and one Japanese. There are also some mom & pop places that have 3-4 really good dishes and a whole lot of ho hum. There is a place that makes onion strings that are amazing and they also make a decent philly cheesesteak and a pretty decent wings. Another place makes fantastic broasted chicken and virtually everything else is smothered with homemade mozzarella because the proprietor loves to make it fresh. It is good, but the proprietor needs to add another culinary hobby to his repertoire.

We continue doing some chains as shops with reimbursement, but increasingly are finding that overall it is healthier staying away from those chains.
@Tarantado wrote:

I tend to just avoid spending my own money altogether when it comes to eating out, unless I have to.

Good reminder to myself: spend less money eating out!

This makes me want to re-open a "Saving Money, Investing, and Retiring" thread. ...I hear Dave Ramsey yelling in my ear: "It's time to save money! It's time to save money!"

Having said that, this thread wasn't really about that topic, but more about restaurants people enjoy, have seen dying out, and maybe stuff like bargains.

Grocery shops, by the way, can save you good money on food too. smiling smiley

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/13/2020 07:23AM by shoptastic.
@Flash wrote:

Steak 'n Shake

Another dying chain in my area, Flash. We lost our's and I miss the shops. sad smiley
Food shops are a pita. Hey. Where are the Pita shops?

Art class was like a religious ceremony to me. I would wash my hands carefully before touching paper or pencils. The instruments of work were sacred objects to me. - Joan Miro
@shoptastic wrote:

@Flash wrote:

Steak 'n Shake

Another dying chain in my area, Flash. We lost our's and I miss the shops. sad smiley

I haven't seen shops for them in my area in many years. We still have two locations going fairly strong and the service is as unpredictable as when we were doing shops.
Hubby & I eat at local places...mainly "meat & 3" type of places...we have 2 we really enjoy....great portions and fair prices. We also eat periodically at a local seafood place and a local BBQ buffet place. No chains for us.
Portions certainly are more varied at the local places. It is as though they slavishly go by menu price = 3X the price of ingredients. They want all meals on the menu to be within a dollar or two of each other so a chicken orr pasta dish comes with a mountain of food (and a huge box of leftovers) while a lamb dish or steak is a tiny little thing by comparison.
We don't really have chains like any of these mentioned in my area. When I'm not shopping, I go to one of 3 Mexican places, a brick oven pizza place ($10 bottles of wine!!) or an Asian place that has Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Indian. On the rare occasion that I'm up at my boyfriend's place, it's like chain-o-rama and there's everything. I like to go to Applebees, for the cheap deals and great beer list.
There was a Cosi at 30th St Station in Philly and I would go there at least once a week when I lived in the area. I miss that place.
I think if you live at a place that has tons of chains, you might appreciate a smaller local place and vice versa.

Shopping the South Jersey Shore
The two chains I like are Red Lobster and Chili's. The local steakhouse and one of the Mexican food are good as well. I love to eat out, but I try to not go overboard because it is expensive. I like trying to recreate the entrees at home with varied success.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away
Our Red Lobsters are disgusting. I used to shop them about 10 years ago, I only did it a few times because the food was repeatedly awful. My stepdaughter worked at one of them for about 2 weeks when she was in her early 20s and she said it was one of the dirtiest kitchens she had ever seen. She refuses to eat there.

I am glad yours aren't nasty and have decent food.
I"m not big on eating out. When we do it's a local chain and we order pizza to go from a different local chain. I guess our only national chain we frequent is taco bell for taco night maybe twice a month. I doubt if we eat out any other place even once a month.
@JASFLALMT We had a Red Lobster that we'd go to in high school (early 90s) and we loved it for the first few months it opened and then it turned into something awful and we called it a name I couldn't post here. I was afraid every one was going to be like that so I didn't go to another one for over a decade. It was exactly like the other one. I tried again this past summer because they were doing some kind of event and it was after that that I said nothing will make me go again.

ETA which place I was talking about lol

Shopping the South Jersey Shore


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/13/2020 09:37PM by Jenny Cassada.
Red Lobster is awful, bland, micro/frozen food and yet there are lines...go figure.

Live consciously....
Well, when you live near the water and have access to lots of fresh seafood (I don't anymore but I grew up in Florida and lived there for over 30 years), you come to expect something entirely different from a seafood restaurant. I know you both know what I mean, being coasties yourselves. It stands to reason with all of the fresh and local seafood restaurants available, a seafood chain restaurant n those areas would not be able to compete.

And as far as chains go, I know that they can vary greatly from area to area. We have an Applebee's near our house that is horrible, yet it always busy (they are right in front of a Walmart). I used to shop them as a chain and there are about 5 within 20 miles of me. There were 2 of them that used to churn out decent food but the other 3 (including the 1 by us) were awful. I would never eat there on my own dime.
I really want to know what unmentionable name you called it, LOL.

@Jenny Cassada wrote:

@JASFLALMT We had a Red Lobster that we'd go to in high school (early 90s) and we loved it for the first few months it opened and then it turned into something awful and we called it a name I couldn't post here. I was afraid every one was going to be like that so I didn't go to another one for over a decade. It was exactly like the other one. I tried again this past summer because they were doing some kind of event and it was after that that I said nothing will make me go again.

ETA which place I was talking about lol
@Irene_L.A. wrote:

Panera bread now charges 2.60 for a cup of coffee (no thanks).

I get their light roast. I refill 2 or 3x.

Panera can be relaxing to just sit and use their WiFi with a single cup of coffee. Something about their seating and lighting is nicer than Barnes or Starbucsk to me.

The Panera's near me are getting dirtier over time, though. But, I'd still buy my coffee and use WiFi there over competitors. Just my personal taste.
@Irene_L.A. wrote:

Red Lobster is awful, bland, micro/frozen food and yet there are lines...go figure.

I don't get Red Lobster either. Seems too pre-packaged/cardboardish. That's just me, though. winking smiley
@Jenny Cassada wrote:

There was a Cosi at 30th St Station in Philly and I would go there at least once a week when I lived in the area. I miss that place.

I found their fresh fire oven baked flat bread so good. Way better than Panera's bread. I liked their salads more than Panera's too.
I used to eat sushi several times a month.

Then, I went to Harris Teeter once and saw a worm (round/tape??) crawling in the salad bar area across from the fresh made sushi area. I almost died. It may not have been from the sushi, as the two areas are separated (although, close). Could be a salad bar/hot foods worm. Who knows. I suspected it came from the sushi area, though.

Now, I avoid sushi places like the plague. The image...horrifying. I can't get the picture out of my head of that small worm growing several feet once inside your intestines. *ewwww*

It was a textbook sushi/fish worm when I Googled examples.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/13/2020 11:30PM by shoptastic.
Me too even though I have never eaten at Red Lobster.

@JASFLALMT wrote:

I really want to know what unmentionable name you called it, LOL.

@Jenny Cassada wrote:

@JASFLALMT We had a Red Lobster that we'd go to in high school (early 90s) and we loved it for the first few months it opened and then it turned into something awful and we called it a name I couldn't post here. I was afraid every one was going to be like that so I didn't go to another one for over a decade. It was exactly like the other one. I tried again this past summer because they were doing some kind of event and it was after that that I said nothing will make me go again.

ETA which place I was talking about lol
Red Lobster is a travesty. Surprise, shrimp has a light and lovely flavor! You would never know from RL. Their shrimp are tasteless, rubbery and on the smallest end of the advertised 'size' (if they even meet that size at all). If you wanted to achieve the quality of an RL shrimp you would thaw it out a day or two before you cooked it. Just to be 'safe' you would start with shrimp that had been peeled and boiled too long before freezing. You then would overcook the shrimp in the dish you were preparing and hold it warm for hours before serving. That treatment would get you the degree of decomposition of the muscle fiber while providing the rubber texture and destroy any possible shrimp flavor. The end product would be amply sterilized to be unlikely to make you sick, though would likely leave you not a fan of shrimp.
I feel the same way about those cooked cocktail ring shrimp packages sold at the grocery stores for the holidays. Rubbery and tasteless. UGH.
Until some kitchen worker didn't wash his hands properly and contaminated your shrimp dish. So not only would it be tasteless, it could indeed make you ill. That could happen.

@Flash wrote:

The end product would be amply sterilized to be unlikely to make you sick, though would likely leave you not a fan of shrimp.
I'm obsessed with Texas Roadhouse and saw this 2019 interview (24 minutes) with their founder and CEO, Wayne Kent Taylor:

[www.youtube.com]

Do you know why TXRH doesn't have good desserts?:

Taylor says they serve three mediocre desserts, because they want you to eat their bread, peanuts, and food and "get the heck out of there" so they can turn tables. LOLOLOL. grinning smiley He's so hilarious.

He said they figured that'd be better than having someone order a $5 dessert and sit for 20 more minutes.

They don't advertise at all and instead use that would-be money on peanuts, bread, and hire more staff (all servers have at most three tables at a time to ensure proper guest attention).

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/22/2020 01:17PM by shoptastic.
Here's how Taylor describes TXRH and Bubba's 33:

"We're a redneck Outback."

"It's like a redneck Buffalo Wild Wings."

I'm dying. LOL grinning smiley
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