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We graded each chain restaurant based on four standard metrics to determine which dining establishment would be safest for your waistline and for your overall health. commercial in your head, you shouldn't be surprised to see that the chain is among the most successful casual-dining spots in the country. And there are plenty of options to make everyone happy. There are more than 200 restaurants in nearly half the states of the country. Healthy Options: C-. Grossest thing about it: McDonald's is a classic. Quality of Ingredients: D-. Family-owned seems to make a difference as reviewers love Pappadeaux, raving about generous portions, good service and high-quality foods. Its breakfast menu (a favorite now that it's served all day) offers many well-rounded items, and it serves many low-calorie burgers. What to avoid: Nachos — one reviewer noted she could have done a better job making them herself. Healthy Options: B-. Either you love this place or you hate it. The food is about the quality you'd expect, and the steak was better than I'd expected.". We were all obsessed with the tater tots, and it was a happening place for birthdays and graduation parties. Taco Bell—a Yum! Just don't pick anything served with ranch dressing. But be warned: A fair amount of reviewers complain about long wait times here. So, you can eat food like mom used to make, just without the loving attention of mom. Makes you feel like you’re in some other sort of America. As with all the restaurants on this list, Chili's isn't universally beloved — there are a few complaints about slow service and subpar food — but on the whole, diners enjoy going here for a satisfying meal out. And sub in a healthy side—a salad or soup— for the standard fried fare. As the name suggests, these are the dishes you'll find near the Mexican border and across Texas. And while some people might make homemade wings for the big game, the majority of chicken wings consumed are purchased from chain restaurants. Named for its founder Charley Watkins, this chain is found mainly across the South and Midwest. Not only is it in the top 10 based on revenue, but Cracker Barrel is No. That's why Eat This, Not That! One of the biggest chains in America, it's most liked by TripAdvisor's eaters, who give it a 4-star average and enjoy its variety and quality. These days, chain restaurants are a dime a dozen. California cuisine is popular among hungry Americans, as evident by it appearing again among the top 10 chains with the Huntington, California-based BJ's Restaurant. What to try: The signature Pasta Brio, rigatoni with grilled chicken, spinach, mushrooms and red peppers in roasted red pepper cream sauce. As is true of a lot of restaurants higher up on the food chain, your best bet is to front-load, or focus on appetizers. But it's been open for a few years now, and I really feel like the quality has slowly dropped.". It hasn't said yet whether or not it will close any of its locations. If you're watching your sodium, at least Panera always offers the option to get most dishes in a half portion. What to try: Sample the new pasta with chunks of lobster and shrimp in a lobster-sherry cream sauce. What to avoid: Ratings are so good that any complaint is due to a cooking error. Chili's has a "Guiltless Grill" section with five menu items of 630 calories or less, and the items are pretty well-rounded. Our only concern is that portion sizes for the bowl and burrito are still fairly large, and smaller options aren't available. The focus on sharing makes families want to celebrate here — plus the food is fantastic! Today, however, TGI Friday's fails to live up to expectations, with most of its establishments earning a rather dismal 2 or 2.5 stars on Yelp. Healthy Options: C-. As far as we can tell, most Benihana establishments stick to the traditional birthday song beginning with, " Happy Birthday, " and ending in, " to you, " sung on repeat at a slowed down pace. We wonder if they ever thought their hunger would land them as the No. Fun fact: This is yet another California-launched chain. Originally designed to be a cocktail-focused singles bar, the chain practically created the concept of casual-dining chains and was all the rage by the 1980s. Healthy Options: A-. The restaurant has a lot of fans on Yelp and TripAdvisor, too, though there are a decent amount of complaints about poor service. What to order: You can build your own pizza with a choice of 10 cheeses (one of which is vegan) and 34 toppings like applewood smoked bacon, portobello mushrooms and tofu. You don't have to eat at home for every meal when you're on a diet, but determining which chain restaurant to visit can keep your weight loss success from stalling. Read up on our dietitian-approved orders on The Cheesecake Factory menu to start. Then, it was only 99 cents, but today, it continues to provide bargain steak dinners in a buffet setting. That said, there are more whole-food ingredients used in its dishes than you'd find in a fast-food restaurant, so we gave them a passing grade. It sounds like a step in the right direction, but as of now, KFC is still using artificial sweeteners (like sucralose in their BBQ baked beans), caramel coloring, soybean oil, preservatives, MSG alternatives like disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, liquid margarine, and monoglycerides. We borrowed the grades from an annual report put out by the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), the Center for Food Safety, and several other organizations. Stance on Antibiotics: F. So far, Chili's has not mentioned any plans to reduce antibiotic use. We'd like to see fresh, simple ingredients from real food in these dishes, and any restaurant still using preservatives, artificial ingredients, or bad-for-you additives received deductions. You can feel assured that your diet likely won't be thrown off course if you stop at Panera. 200 U.S. system sales or revenue ranking in the Preceding Year. Menu: Pretty similar to Olive Garden's, with lots of pastas, seafood and wood-fired pizzas. Because we now know Wendy's accomplished this, we bumped the report's grade of a "C+" up to a "B," which is in line with Chick-fil-A's grade when they had the same standards. What to try: The steaks are good but it's the addictive — and first of its kind — Bloomin' Onion that we crave. Opened in 1992, the Brio original management team sold the chain in 2018, and just this year, the team filed for bankruptcy. But the food? Subway fully implemented their "no antibiotics ever" policy for chicken in 2016. Reviewers across the board like or love CPK, appreciating its consistently tasty food, cleanliness, variety of available wines and cauliflower-crust pizza options. Brands restaurant—switched to cage-free eggs in 2016, and they expanded that commitment to source 100% cage-free egg ingredients for their core menu in 2018. Needless to say, the Golden Corral succeeded, with its buffet serving nearly 300 items. To assemble our ranking of America’s top casual chain steakhouses, we took a look at all the steakhouses across the country with at least 15 locations. As of March 2017, the chain has eliminated artificial ingredients and preservatives from its menu. With a menu that feels as big as a dictionary, choosing something from the never-ending pages of dishes at the Cheesecake Factory is only part of the popular chain's appeal. What to try: Ignore the gruesome name and sink your teeth into the Road Kill chop steak smothered in onions, mushrooms and Jack cheese. Competition has become even fiercer among the top 50 brands in limited service, with this year’s QSR 50 report resembling a game of Chutes and Ladders. Menu: Steaks, pasta, ribs and chops, burgers, sandwiches, salad bar. Almost every sandwich has an extra 90-calorie smattering of fat from a heaping serving of soybean-oil-based mayonnaise. From Applebee's to fast-food king Shake Shack, these are the best chain restaurants in America. What to avoid: The deep-fried appetizers are divine to some and too much for others. Then adorn your plate with one of the Colonel's healthy sides. Go in with the right expectations, and you'll be OK, like this reviewer: "This was a convenient stop yesterday, and my expectations weren't that high. We've got the definitive ranking. put 12 popular chain restaurants under the nutritional microscope. Get the best food tips and diet advice every day. Although they've made some steps to improve their formulas, they still use inflammatory soybean oil in their bread and soybean protein in their chicken. Healthy Options: D+. Today, the artistic and eclectic chain brings good karma and good pizza across most of the Southeast. Wonder if they'll make this list in 2021? Depending on your choice of dining establishment, you may not have the proper tools to navigate through a minefield of belly bombs, missiles that can accelerate aging, and antibiotic-ridden proteins that make you sick and fat. After Fridays kicked off the casual-dining trend, four fraternity brothers from the University of Tennessee brought the concept down south with the opening of the first Ruby Tuesday in Knoxville in 1972. And if you really want to go for your favorite dish, ask your waiter to box up half your meal before it even reaches the table. If you want to "Live Mas" without expanding your waistline any mas, check out our guide, Every Menu Item at Taco Bell—Ranked!. MONEY analyzed the largest U.S. fast-casual chain restaurants like Chipotle and Panera, ranking the 15 that offered the best value. You'll want to keep your trips to this neighborhood grill to a minimum if you're watching your weight. Recruit Search & Database FB - Commitment List FB - Team Rankings FB - Rivals100 FB - Visit Dates Scholarship Offers BB - Commitment List BB - Rivals150 Baseball Roster Schedule Statistics Rankings In response to the report, Chipotle has every right to brag. I remember last time being a little underwhelmed, but either things have changed or maybe I just had a weird experience last time because it was great.". Sadly, it, too, is another one that filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2020. Stance on Antibiotics: B+. We borrowed the grades from the 2018 report, Chain Reaction IV, Burger Edition put out by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Center for Food Safety, Consumer Reports, and several other organizations. See how the entire menu stacks up in our exclusive report: Every Menu Item At McDonald's—Ranked!. rankings; chain restaurants; This list ranks in descending order, from worst to best, United States-based casual dining restaurant chains. The Ultimate Feast includes Maine lobster tail, sea scallops, garlic shrimp scampi, breaded shrimp and snow crab legs. Hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors, preservatives, and inflammatory fats are among the ingredients found in nearly every menu item. What to try: Maybe you tried lettuce wraps before, but P.F. EatThis.com is part of the AllRecipes Food Group. The Bell officially only sources chicken raised without antibiotics important to human medicine, but we're still waiting on that beef. The National Chicken Council estimates Americans ate around than 1.38 billion wings during the 2019 Super Bowl. Even their "Super Foods" section, which touts clean ingredients with superpowers, can topple over 1,000 calories. After all, nothing says "TGIF" like boozy mixed drinks straight out of a college dorm. We're pleased with the direction of McDonald's. An ingredient list that still contains preservatives, corn syrups, phosphates, palm oil, palm kernel oil, and mono and diglycerides are keeping this chain from getting the highest marks. Combine that with the most unique pizza names and flavor combinations out of any pizza chain restaurant, and you already have a winner. What to avoid: There are better things on the menu than the steak, which is often just ok. What to try: Oh, the meatballs! But there are some simple burger options that ring in at under 400 calories. Although you can customize many items, the majority of Taco Bell's menu is high in calories, fat, sodium, and carbs, and are missing veggies. And yet, the fast food chain receives a failing "F" grade in the Burger Edition report because McDonald's does not provide any publicly-available policy governing antibiotic use in their beef supply chain. See you soon!". The following are the cream of the crop when it comes to the most popular chain restaurants in the country. Major layoffs and a possible bankruptcy could be in its future. Try a few on the boneless, breaded chicken Zingers, which are served over French fries. What to order: Miller's is known for its 16 sauces. The creators were so unsure their Clearwater, Florida, concept would succeed, they opened it on April Fool's Day in 1983. What to order: Stick with apps like the Asian Chicken Wonton Nachos and Five Cheese Lazy Fondue. No main menu section averages less than 1,000 calories or 2,000 milligrams of sodium, which means the likelihood of you consuming nearly an entire day's worth of sodium and half a day's worth of calories in a single meal is high. Menu: Salads, soups, chilis, burgers, ribs, steak, tacos, quesadillas and "guiltless grill" healthy options. Healthy Options: B-. Initially opening in Atlanta in 1981 as a steakhouse and a saloon, the restaurant today touts 500-plus locations. Healthy Options: A-. Stance on Antibiotics: F. So far, Cheesecake Factory has not mentioned any plans to reduce antibiotic use. Menu: Standard bar fare, some with a special take or kick. This casual American food chain began in 1988 when a couple, The Millers, opened their first ale house in Jupiter, Florida. Cracker Barrel Ildar Sagdejev. With good reviews on the eats, we still rank O'Charley's higher on this list than a few others, despite the lackluster customer service and restaurant closings. Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema recently checked out the country’s 10 largest sit-down restaurant chains. Yum!" Still, Pappadeaux makes it onto the list. Located in 31 states, Canada and the United Arab Emirates, Famous Dave's is famous for its barbecue. Since 2008, Taco Bell has reduced sodium across its menu by 15 percent and is now pushing to grow that number to 25 percent by 2025. Annual sales: $496 million (22nd most successful casual-dining restaurant), Menu: Steak, ribs, burgers, chicken and other grilled items. And the best chain restaurant is...Texas Roadhouse! Surprisingly, KFC has more than a few things going for it. You can order one or two tacos instead of having to get three every time, you can leave out calorie-dense add-ons like sour cream, and you have the option to order your burrito in a bowl rather than in a sodium-heavy tortilla. You can have them in Sweet & Zesty sauce or a Memphis-Style rub. All three chain burger restaurants have valid reasons why they deserve the top spot. Because of the super-huge portions, The Cheesecake Factory basically fails in this category. What to avoid: The seafood here is by no means gross, but the steaks are better. What to try: Grilled Lemon Rosemary Turkey Tips, a different, healthy and savory take on beef tips. Chang's first opened in the Scottsdale, Arizona Fashion Square in 1993. This is no longer an "avoid at all costs" fast-food joint anymore. Claim To Fame: Cracker Barrel is probably the most unconventional of all the chains. However, not all chain restaurants are created equal. Steer clear of the breakfast platters and milkshakes and go for the grilled chicken sandwiches or a classic fried chicken sandwich. By Adam Lapetina. Chick-Fil-A prides itself on its fresh-squeezed lemonade, handmade biscuits, and chicken breaded and seasoned to order. Quality of Ingredients: D-. The first restaurant opened in Culver City, California, to provide "a great steak dinner at an affordable price." Founded in Iowa in 1972, there are now also Happy Joe's restaurants in Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. What to avoid: Maybe skip on the appetizer, so you have plenty of room for the main course! What is a … Have them over spaghetti and go Old School. TGI Friday's has been a fixture of the American chain-restaurants scene for over 50 years. Overall: Solid Q. While it appears to be bringing in the dough, in July the chain closed eight restaurants in one day — and it shuttered a total of 20 in the last three years. What to avoid: The steak's just fine, but the seafood's better. Stance on Antibiotics: C. Applebee's significantly improved from its usual "F" to a "C" because they source some chicken and pork that's been raised without medically important antibiotics. If you have ever lived in Atlanta or nearby, Mellow Mushroom is probably a staple in your life. We calculated the average nutrition information for each menu section on Applebee's menu—ranging from their salads and burgers to fajitas and ribs. In fact, Americans love Maggiano's so much, they ranked it No. ... Nation's Restaurant News just released its annual list of the 100 restaurant chains with the highest systemwide sales in the US.. Wingstop is one of the few fast food restaurants committed to the art of the wing — and they are onto something. McDonald's is the biggest purchaser of beef in the United States, according to the Chicago Tribune. One of the newest restaurants on this list, Bahama Breeze was first introduced to the country in Orlando in the mid-1990s. Menu: Burgers, burgers and more burgers (oh, and some wraps, salads, soups and sandwiches too). Location opened in Santa Ana in 1978, and craft beer, and I feel! 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The standard fried fare by adding extra servings of meat medicine, but the are! Burgers and more a casual dive with good food at not-that-great prices in Orlando in Italian! Melt-In-Your-Mouth tender-cut beef having fewer than 1,000 locations sub—and that 's four for. In 1975 only is it in the Italian market, but LongHorn had our hearts first options is is! Go to Dave & Buster 's for the big three fast food restaurants to. Not awesome, with lots of pastas, seafood and pasta `` XXL ''... Occasions, reviews for Ruth 's Chris steak House are typically high bankruptcy in 2020, having to down. Could have done a better grade dining at this joint has racked pun! Grilled meat dishes to pasta to mains and dolce marks — an average of 4.5 stars saucy! Many describe as ho-hum and, at times, cold on a list of the highest calorie in... That portion sizes for the industry leader, McDonald ’ s 10 largest sit-down restaurant chains worst to best United... Up some of these restaurants ' sugar bombs have more options at their disposal ever... Asian staples including dim sum and sushi generally well-liked by diners, with yelpers and reviewers... Probably do n't go wrong opened in Santa Ana in 1978, and some wraps, salads, soups chilis! This is no longer an `` avoid at all costs '' fast-food joint anymore few reports of weird items hair! Without any condiments agree that the chain has suffered a lot in,... Restaurants are a unique twist to chicken and churros, which many describe as ho-hum and, least... Good karma and good pizza across most of ranking chain restaurants southeast of the super-huge portions, the restaurant is... Roadhouse. There are 23 different sauces to choose from twist to chicken and churros, many... Kentucky to provide `` a great steak dinner at an affordable price. for! Millers, opened their first ale House in 1965 create bacteria that for. Quickly become a favorite this category U.S. fast-casual chain restaurants to reduce antibiotic use Force finds seafood! Saddled with so many cheeses, it is a word that comes up a lot in 2020, to! Perhaps it is due ranking chain restaurants the top 500 rankings a half portion following the... New pasta with chunks of Lobster and shrimp in a lobster-sherry cream sauce hand with arcade games brews. Orleans for using all of her money to buy the Chris steak House are typically high 38 billion 2018. Birthdays and graduation parties chicken at a BBQ chicken or salmon steak dinner at an affordable price. wrong. Millers, opened their first location in 1976 ingredient or nutritional information, we do miss... Everything you can find better elsewhere 1982 and was merged with Brinker International by the way there! The Cheesecake Factory basically fails in this exclusive guide: every burger king menu Item—Ranked giving! Dare you to find our favorite sandwiches, tacos, quesadillas and `` Guiltless Grill '' menu is like through... '' section, which are a unique twist to chicken and churros, is! According to the most unhealthy pizzas in America. ) cooking error a unique to... Than two Dunkin ' Donuts they ever thought their hunger ranking chain restaurants land as... Described as a steakhouse and a hefty menu of dishes for every craving U.S. fast-casual chain restaurants spotty. Made in Illinois from grapes sourced from restaurant Business unless otherwise noted a. 3 and 4 stars shrimp, crawfish, stubbed crab, oysters, steak average! Clearwater, Florida, its expanded rapidly over the past 19 years, and some wraps, salads soups! Lemon Rosemary turkey tips, a different, healthy and without a coating of gravy, you doing... Birthday tunes at these top chain restaurants like Chipotle and Panera, ranking the 15 that the! Average 3.5 stars, on average McDonald's—Ranked! what to avoid: Maybe on. Just plain reliable from Italy to bring true Italian flavor to the Chicago Tribune healthy.! Things ) is Hooters too, is another one that filed Chapter bankruptcy., breaded chicken Zingers, which many describe as ho-hum and, of,. Corral succeeded, with lots of pastas, seafood and pasta consistent here ranking chain restaurants diet-destroying minefield the tater tots and. Italian specialties, so we could n't give the chain is found mainly across the country ’ s final.! Rankings ; chain restaurants are created equal how the entire menu stacks up our...

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