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Old 08-29-2014, 09:46 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
5,286 posts, read 4,154,807 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlanta_BD View Post
Your asking this question as a northeasterner just proves my point. I never heard of a lot of these chains either until I moved to the south and they didn't get them back home until after I left. If they were there before I left, I never saw them because their locations are nowhere near where I lived or frequented. Sonic really is gross. You aren't missing out on anything. Trust me. Some of the worst tasting ice cream I ever had was at Sonic. I don't get what the hype is about that place.
Where exactly is this hype you're speaking of?
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Old 08-29-2014, 09:46 PM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,651 posts, read 36,106,549 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlanta_BD View Post
Your asking this question as a northeasterner just proves my point. I never heard of a lot of these chains either until I moved to the south and they didn't get them back home until after I left. If they were there before I left, I never saw them because their locations are nowhere near where I lived or frequented. Sonic really is gross. You aren't missing out on anything. Trust me. Some of the worst tasting ice cream I ever had was at Sonic. I don't get what the hype is about that place.
And I just bet those franchise owners are crying all the way to the bank.

Surely you realize that there are many franchises in northern states that wouldn't be familiar to a southerner.

Or maybe you don't...
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Old 08-29-2014, 09:58 PM
 
Location: Wonderland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert_SW_77 View Post
OK, I'm going to pour some honesty out here. So I've been one of the chain bashers here in this thread, and 90% of the time I do make an earnest effort to eat at non chain locally run restaurants when dining out. That said I'm living in America, and there a just times and places where there is no getting around the chains. But tonight my partner comes home with a $50 Olive Garden gift card given to him by his boss. OK, I'm not above that.

So here goes my yelp'sh review - We get there and any Olive Garden I've been to before usually had that Tuscan stone décor and exterior thing going. The one on San Mateo in Albuquerque was a blah covered in beige, an older one I guess. It's happy hour and the chipper and perky waitress whom I imagine probably has a really good sex life brings me my pinot grigio. It's Olive Garden, I know what I'm getting so I'm just in the moment happy to have a glass of wine in my hand.

Here come the endless salad and breadsticks. Oh yay, a bowl full of iceburg lettuce and house dressing. Whomever prepared it more or less included tomatoes, onions, and olives (at Olive Garden, go figure) as an afterthought. But there were a couple of jalapenos to bite into, that made me happy! The breadsticks are Pillsbury type dough sticks painted in butter and garlic salt. Hey, I'm not going to knock your indulgence for it, my partner was happy with it.

Entrees come out. I get seafood alfredo. Yikes, I should have known better. tiny scallops and shrimp from a bag frozen and then shipped from an industrial seafood farm in Philippines I'd imagine, then dumped into a pan and sautéed with mediocre canned alfredo, though the pasta was cooked al dente so props for that at least. My guy ordered the chicken masala. I asked him how it was and he said it tasted like it came from a box.

But hey, I'm not ungrateful. The service was good, I tipped her decently and I was in a pretty good mood tonight (why wouldn't I be on the Friday night before Labor Day) and the wine made up for it. I'm glad I went out to eat tonight, and happy that my man's boss was spreading the joy of gift carding tonight. And there you have it, Friday night at Olive Garden! Have a great Labor Day weekend everybody!
Well, I've never eaten at an Olive Garden in Albuquerque, but I have a feeling that, while our local OG may have a nicer decor, the entrees and the service and the wine list are pretty similar. That being said, if yours had jalapenos in it, that's a difference right there - the local OGs here use pepperoncini. But I digress.

We have several fabulous Italian restaurants around here, and I enjoy going to them but sometimes I'm just in the mood for some good salad and some warm bread sticks, served by someone with a pleasant attitude - quickly and with no drama, and at a reasonable price. I am not ashamed to admit that I like OG's salad.

That being said, pinot grigio is a little too suburban housewife even for my taste. But carry on! Glad you enjoyed your night out!
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Old 08-29-2014, 10:18 PM
 
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I'm not big on chains anywhere - especially not Italian chains. Yuck.

There are some "chains" that are more like local restaurants with multiple locations that can be good, and I will go to those at times. But I stray from national chains like Olive Garden, or God forbid any pizza chains like Dominos. I rarely go to a Sonic (we barely have any around here anyway) or Denny's or IHOP or Applebee's or Cheesecake Factory or places like that. I grew up eating mainly Italian, and we have plenty of little mom and pop Italian places and pizzerias in NJ, and diners for breakfast, so I guess going to chains is something my family never really did and I continue to not do. Occasionally I will to go a chain place, but it's not really my thing. I like family owned private, unique places.

Edit: I think the chain place I eat at most is Chili's. And it's definitely nothing great. And Walmart? EW. Can't stand that place. I've maybe stepped in one twice, and it's because I either had nowhere else to go or couldn't find the one thing I was looking for anywhere else. I prefer Target, I actually love Target!
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Old 08-29-2014, 10:20 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
45,983 posts, read 41,921,149 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
Surely you realize that there are many franchises in northern states that wouldn't be familiar to a southerner.
I think there are less. Maybe Dunkin' Donuts, but that's in parts of the south. Carvel is limited to the NYC region.
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Old 08-29-2014, 10:24 PM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,651 posts, read 36,106,549 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerseyGirl415 View Post
I'm not big on chains anywhere - especially not Italian chains. Yuck.

There are some "chains" that are more like local restaurants with multiple locations that can be good, and I will go to those at times. But I stray from national chains like Olive Garden, or God forbid any pizza chains like Dominos. I rarely go to a Sonic (we barely have any around here anyway) or Denny's or IHOP or Applebee's or Cheesecake Factory or places like that. I grew up eating mainly Italian, and we have plenty of little mom and pop Italian places and pizzerias in NJ, and diners for breakfast, so I guess going to chains is something my family never really did and I continue to not do. Occasionally I will to go a chain place, but it's not really my thing. I like family owned private, unique places.
You're from NJ, so in your neck of the woods "real" Italian restaurants are a dime a dozen. Not so down here. However, "real" Tex Mex restaurants are a dime a dozen down here, as well as Cajun and BBQ and German independently owned places. I can't even remember the last time I went to a Taco Bell or any other Tex Mex chain restaurant. But when I lived in Germany, and there was simply no Tex Mex food around, I was totally Jonesin' for ANY Tex Mex food - even Taco Bell!

It's all relative.

And I have a sneaky suspicion that some people (and I'm not naming names!) eat at chain restaurants more often than they're admitting. I mean, when I travel to other regions of the US, the parking lots and drive throughs sure are full at all those chain restaurants...
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Old 08-29-2014, 10:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
You're from NJ, so in your neck of the woods "real" Italian restaurants are a dime a dozen. Not so down here. However, "real" Tex Mex restaurants are a dime a dozen down here, as well as Cajun and BBQ and German independently owned places. I can't even remember the last time I went to a Taco Bell or any other Tex Mex chain restaurant. But when I lived in Germany, and there was simply no Tex Mex food around, I was totally Jonesin' for ANY Tex Mex food - even Taco Bell!

It's all relative.

And I have a sneaky suspicion that some people (and I'm not naming names!) eat at chain restaurants more often than they're admitting. I mean, when I travel to other regions of the US, the parking lots and drive throughs sure are full at all those chain restaurants...
Of course - and it helps that I am both very used to Italian food (am Italian) and love it. But I don't really go to chains that aren't Italian, though, either - very rarely if ever. Like I said, chains are not my thing. To be honest, many kind of gross me out. Breakfast places especially. I much prefer local and family owned. In NJ, we have a lot of cultures going on so we have a lot of ethnic foods, especially in my part. Sure, Italian is probably the best but we have good ethnic foods in general - it comes with being a diverse state. Our Mexican on average is not as good as a border state's, but it's still good if you find a good local place, probably owned by someone from that country, and you can definitely find these here. Same with our Asian foods. I do eat Italian most though, to this day, which does make going to mom and pops easier since we have so many - but again, chain restaurants and me - we don't really go together. Not a fan, never was. Chili's is probably the chain place I go to most, and maybe, MAYBE, once a month. I don't think I've been all summer, though, not since mid-June.

People definitely go to chain places. Lots are always filled if the place is clean and has decent food. I just don't prefer them, and try to avoid them. I have my favorite restaurants all over I will visit time and time again before I consider a chain.

I live in an area with high quality food, and I think it's spoiled me. One thing about the NY area is good food - I think it's the diversity, honestly, for such a small region. Incredible diversity and immigrants who keep coming equals good ethnic foods, I don't need chains to be honest.
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Old 08-29-2014, 10:44 PM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,651 posts, read 36,106,549 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerseyGirl415 View Post
Of course - and it helps that I am both very used to Italian food (am Italian) and love it. But I don't really go to chains that aren't Italian, though, either - very rarely if ever. Like I said, chains are not my thing. To be honest, many kind of gross me out. Breakfast places especially. I much prefer local and family owned. In NJ, we have a lot of cultures going on so we have a lot of ethnic foods, especially in my part. Sure, Italian is probably the best but we have good ethnic foods in general - it comes with being a diverse state. Our Mexican on average is not as good as a border state's, but it's still good if you find a good local place, probably owned by someone from that country, and you can definitely find these here. Same with our Asian foods. I do eat Italian most though, to this day, which does make going to mom and pops easier since we have so many - but again, chain restaurants and me - we don't really go together. Not a fan, never was. Chili's is probably the chain place I go to most, and maybe, MAYBE, once a month. I don't think I've been all summer, though, not since mid-June.

People definitely go to chain places. Lots are always filled if the place is clean and has decent food. I just don't prefer them, and try to avoid them. I have my favorite restaurants all over I will visit time and time again before I consider a chain.
I actually agree with you. I much prefer locally owned places over chains myself. Texas is also a very diverse state and right here in my little corner of East Texas we have locally owned Thai, Japanese, Greek, Lebanese, French Mediterranean, Brazilian, Vietnamese, Italian, and German restaurants (and don't even get me started on the local BBQ, Cajun, soul food, and southern style home cooking places!).

My point is that chains seem popular - with SOMEONE - everywhere they pop up. It's because franchise companies DO THEIR RESEARCH and therefore have a very high success rate when they put in a restaurant.

Though I prefer eating in more "authentic" restaurants, I'm not going to lie and say I never eat at IHOP or the Olive Garden, or Sonic. Sometimes I just want a diet Cherry Limeade and that's all there is to it. Or IHOP's ridiculous "International Swedish Crepes." (I know there's nothing Swedish about them.) And I don't think that makes me less genteel, or less sophisticated, or less cognizant of what good food tastes like. I know - and sometimes I just don't care.

Just like sometimes I really want a bologna sandwich on white bread, with a slice of cheese that came out of a little piece of plastic, with some Duke's Mayo and a side of potato chips. Now THAT'S when things really get challenging for me, because I never have any of that stuff (other than Duke's) in my house - and so far I can't find a restaurant, chain or otherwise, who offers this particular meal. And it makes no sense for me to buy all the stuff, because ... well, blech...after one sandwich I don't want another one for about three more years.

First world problems...

Which leads me to my final point. I think what some southerners on this thread are irritated by (and I know I am one) is that the implication from some is that we just don't "know good food" because apparently we're all too busy eating at chain restaurants. That we think the Olive Garden is the pinnacle of fine Italian dining. Honey, let me assure you - Southerners "know" good food. We grew up on good food. My gosh, southern cuisine may not be served on Fifth Avenue - but all I can tell you is that Fifth Avenue would be an even better place if someone would open up a southern style eatery there. Southern cuisine is some of the most tasty, delightful food you could ever put in your mouth.

By the way, speaking of Fifth Avenue, look what I found - a list of restaurants on Fifth Avenue. My my my, look at all those chain restaurants...

http://www.visit5thavenue.com/catego...taurants-bars/

Lots of people on this thread have been going on and on about how there's not much need for chain restaurants in Chicago, because there are so many FABULOUS locally owned restaurants. Now - just as in any big metro, I'm sure there ARE some great locally owned restaurants, and I wish them all the luck in the world, and maybe I'll try some of them out some day, but check this out - here's a list of chain restaurants in Chicago. ONE HUNDRED PAGES OF THEM.

http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc...=Chicago%2C+IL

Whoduthunkit?

Quote:
I live in an area with high quality food, and I think it's spoiled me. One thing about the NY area is good food - I think it's the diversity, honestly, for such a small region. Incredible diversity and immigrants who keep coming equals good ethnic foods, I don't need chains to be honest.
Yeah I know what you mean. We have some really marvelous high quality food here in Texas too - and tons of immigrants and diversity here as well. They bring good ethnic cuisines with them to add to our already very flavorful local stuff and I always look forward to trying new dishes. The newest restaurant here in my little town is a Greek restaurant and my family is already planning to try it out next weekend. Yum!

Last edited by KathrynAragon; 08-29-2014 at 10:57 PM..
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Old 08-29-2014, 10:58 PM
 
12,631 posts, read 10,483,539 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
I actually agree with you. I much prefer locally owned places over chains myself. Texas is also a very diverse state and right here in my little corner of East Texas we have locally owned Thai, Japanese, Greek, Lebanese, French Mediterranean, Brazilian, Vietnamese, Italian, and German restaurants (and don't even get me started on the local BBQ, Cajun, soul food, and southern style home cooking places!).

My point is that chains seem popular - with SOMEONE - everywhere they pop up. It's because franchise companies DO THEIR RESEARCH and therefore have a very high success rate when they put in a restaurant.

Though I prefer eating in more "authentic" restaurants, I'm not going to lie and say I never eat at IHOP or the Olive Garden, or Sonic. Sometimes I just want a diet Cherry Limeade and that's all there is to it. Or IHOP's ridiculous "International Swedish Crepes." (I know there's nothing Swedish about them.) And I don't think that makes me less genteel, or less sophisticated, or less cognizant of what good food tastes like. I know - and sometimes I just don't care.

Just like sometimes I really want a bologna sandwich on white bread, with a slice of cheese that came out of a little piece of plastic, with some Duke's Mayo and a side of potato chips. Now THAT'S when things really get challenging for me, because I never have any of that stuff (other than Duke's) in my house - and so far I can't find a restaurant, chain or otherwise, who offers this particular meal. And it makes no sense for me to buy all the stuff, because ... well, blech...after one sandwich I don't want another one for about three more years.

First world problems...
They're definitely popular with someone - that someone is just not me. I actually find it sad to speak to people who rarely go to individually owned places, and usually go to chains, because they don't know what they're missing. But sometimes it comes down to money, especially if it's more of a fast food place so it's difficult to judge. Personally, I'd be fine if chains disappeared tomorrow. I wouldn't miss much, none of my favorite restaurants are national or even regional chains. I would miss places like Dunkin Donuts and Dairy Queen but I go there for coffee and ice cream - it's different than a sit in restaurant (and the large majority of NJ's DQs are not grill and chills, many are either small walk ins or are still small outdoors barn style old buildings with little to no food!). I'm talking places like Applebee's, Denny's, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, etc when I say chains. Not coffee or ice cream places, they are chains but I don't sit and have a meal there so to me it's different.

Anyway, I occasionally eat at chains. I'm not going to lie and say I never have eaten at any chain place, because I have, but it is rare. As I said, I have my favorite places I frequent time and time again for each type of food, each meal time, when I go out to eat, from small bagel stores to Italian or seafood places for dinner, and none of them are chains. I agree - sometimes I don't care either. Recently I was craving BK onion rings - something I haven't had in well over a year, so I gave in and went to a drive through and got a small. I'm good for a while now, I've had my random fix. That's kind of how I am with many chain places. There's nothing wrong with wanting something from a chain, or even going regularly. It depends on the person, their lifestyle, and in some cases maybe even their budget. No judging from me, I only speak of my own experiences and what I prefer.
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Old 08-29-2014, 11:06 PM
 
Location: Derby, CT
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I wonder how many of those are actual chains... Your search contained two words "chain" + "restaurants". The search algorithm will search for either of those terms and return results... You're seeing a list of all restaurants, which are definitely not all going to be chains.

I recognize a few on the list as chains... The rest I've never heard of and are probably local joints.
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