Big franchise chain restaurants are the unsung heroes of affordable first-dates, anniversaries, and for any bachelors out there whose chef skills begin and end with the microwave. There are a few chain restaurants that stand out from the rest in order of consistency, trademark dishes, and, of course, value. Here are 10 chain restaurants in America that you can’t really go wrong with.
We knew it would be difficult to pick our number one spot, but after careful consideration, we just have to give it to Texas Roadhouse for representing some of the best Americana food and atmosphere out of all chain restaurants, and even most high-end ones. The reason being is that they don’t skimp on the quality, nor the quality, of each dish on the menu. Even the kids’ dishes are good enough for most grown adults. You won’t leave with an empty stomach or feel as though you overpaid for anything.
This next chain is ironically one of the most popular chain restaurants in America because their entire menu is filled with great food, not just the desserts. If they served below-average entrees, we’d probably still go just for the cheesecakes, but it wouldn’t be nearly as successful. This chain is like Texas Roadhouse, in that they are people-pleasers and will serve generous portions. Their desserts are amazing, of course, it will take you a few years, at least, before you’ve sampled all 50 types of cheesecakes. Better get started right now, eh?
Italian food is often underrated in the States because we have weaved it into the fabric of our country. We expect Italian food to always be good, but the truth is that not all restaurants that serve Italian, or even Italian-American, can serve a good plate of spaghetti or baked bread. Olive Garden is our number three because they have been consistent for decades. Their endless pasta is celebrated by many, even those who would normally act snobbish towards the chain. Funny how a great value is impossible to pass up, no matter whatever notion of “real Italian” food is given as a measurement.
This once elusive Los Angeles landmark is now a national go-to chain restaurant for authentic Mandarin cuisine. What sets Chang’s apart from your common Chinese fast-food restaurant is the commitment to using fresh veggies and quality meats that you can taste without having to drown your meal in soy sauce. You can’t call Chang’s “overrated” unless you’ve had the lettuce wraps, this is food you don’t find in your average American Chinese restaurant, and yet the price is about the same.
While Maggiano’s may not have the same level of notoriety as the big boss Olive Garden, they do carry a nice little Italian charm that reminds many people of the actual family-centric restaurants over in Italy. The dishes are simple Italian, but the flavors are anything but that. They have made a name for themselves for being able to bring that homemade flavor and quality out with their lasagna and meatballs, especially. Look for this chain to continue to expand as more cities demand more Italian home-cooked signature dishes.
We couldn’t forget about LongHorn’s rise to success on this list. A worthy alternative to Texas Steakhouse, LongHorn is slightly less casual in atmosphere (there’s no shelling of peanuts to be had here), but that certainly doesn’t mean they are light on fun. LongHorn not only has an impressive menu of grilled entrees, they also have one of the best in-house bars of all the chain restaurants in the U.S.
The name of this next restaurant tells no lies. They do have some great cheddar in the dishes, but, most importantly, they make everything from scratch and prepare virtually nothing in-advanced. This may sound like an exaggeration for a chain restaurant, but they actually hire more cooks than your average restaurant in order to live up to their name. It’s fast service without compromise, and still with fantastic menu prices, to boot. It’s no surprise that this Texas-native chain has rocketed in popularity.
An American restaurant countdown without a proper burger joint isn’t a real list, so we’ve nominated the burger people-pleaser among them all: Red Robin. You want a juicy burger that is better than the one you could have easily thrown on the grill at home? Well, they have over a dozen signature burgers at any given time, with plenty of room for customization. The meat is juicy and the portion sizes are healthy, it’s the polar opposite of the two global giant’s offerings.
Yes, we know we have three steakhouses on this list, but it just so happens that these restaurants have some of the best food, not just steaks. Outback is a great example of creative dishes that compliment each other, which many restaurants could take some notes from. Their Bloomin’ Onion is a thing of beauty, it melds fast-food concept with restaurant execution. They’ve made their name as being the best place to take a group of friends for a night out at the ‘barby’ and it’s their charm that keeps us coming back for more.
Affordable sea food, particularly lobster and crabs, just isn’t a common sight in the restaurant bizz, outsize of Red Lobster. As with Outback Steakhouse, Red Lobster is incredibly successful partly due to having more than just amazing main courses, but also great sides, like their infamous cheddar biscuits. Beyonce’s hit single “Formation” helped a new generation discover this consistently delicious sea food restaurant.