We've always commended Chipotle for the integrity of its ingredients. Chains and companies assigned a Preceding-Year rank of “—” fell beyond the No. Chang's first opened in the Scottsdale, Arizona Fashion Square in 1993. The chain … MONEY analyzed the largest U.S. fast-casual chain restaurants like Chipotle and Panera, ranking the 15 that offered the best value. 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. Chang's perfected them. 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. We've got the definitive ranking. 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. The Banzai with Pineapple Burger, Chili Chili Cheeseburger, Guacamole Bacon Burger and Royal Red Robin Burger (shown) are especially good choices. And by the way, there are 23 different sauces to choose from! What to avoid: You really can't go wrong! What to avoid: A burger, added to the menu only to satiate landlubbers, What to try: The award-winning New England Clam Chowder (which is now sold in grocery stores). Did your favorite restaurant make the grade? Quality of Ingredients: D-. Yelpers are more lukewarm, though, giving it on average 2 1/2 to 3 stars, with some lamenting a lack of freshness in the seafood and deeming it a bit overpriced. It started out delivering sandwiches to college kids. Stance on Antibiotics: F. Despite pledging to remove antibiotics from its chicken supply by 2018, Burger King has not reported on their progress since making the pledge. Currently found in 13 states, the chain is more beloved by customers than many more traditional options, though there's some grousing about the service. But Yelp reviewers don't seem to care for it as much, dropping its ranking. Here are the four metrics we used to determine each chain's final grade. The trans fats are gone from its oils, the number of calorie bombs has been reduced, the chicken nuggets recipe got a makeover that eschews preservatives, phosphates, and artificial ingredients, and the chain transitioned to using fresh beef for their Quarter Pounders in 2018 (but they will continue to use frozen beef for the other burgers). Stance on Antibiotics: B+. Immediately upon opening in 1988, there were two-hour waits to get into Outback. On top of being free of nasty additives, Chipotle is GMO-free, most of its dairy products are from "Pasture-Raised" cows, and all of its food is fresh (from farms, not factories). The best strategy for a visit to the Factory? McDonald's is the Walmart of food. What to avoid: Ratings are so good that any complaint is due to a cooking error. What to order: Miller's is known for its 16 sauces. What to try: Cheesecake is the name of the game, so sample one of the 34 menu offerings, like the Tiramusu pictured here. What to avoid: The No. ", The 'cue at this joint has racked (pun intended) up more than 700 awards. Stance on Antibiotics: F. So far, Chili's has not mentioned any plans to reduce antibiotic use. Continue reading for our definitive ranking of the best (and most embarrassing) birthday tunes at these top chain restaurants: 8. What to avoid: Maybe skip on the appetizer, so you have plenty of room for the main course! 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. What began as a man with a grill opening his first restaurant in 1994 has become what Dave Anderson calls the "longest-running backyard BBQ party. Healthy Options: A-. Serving family-style Italian meals — meaning giant plates full of food for sharing — Maggiano's can be found in 23 states and Washington, D.C. The first location opened in Santa Ana in 1978, and there are today 13 states with a BJ's. For more guidance, check out Every Dish at Chipotle—Ranked! This casual American food chain began in 1988 when a couple, The Millers, opened their first ale house in Jupiter, Florida. This is the purpose of an American chain–it informs the national experience. By Adam Lapetina. Chipotle is all about customization, and its menu is very flexible. Yelpers, too, tend to have good things to say, applauding the quality of the food as well as its elegant presentation. What to try: Sample various bruschetta at the Bruschetta Bar, where you can mix and sample numerous options for your own private tasting. 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. Reviews vary from three to four stars, as the chain gets its footing back. It ranks the nation's fast-food and fast-casual restaurant chains … What to try: Flo's Filet is 6 to 10 ounces of melt-in-your-mouth tender-cut beef. Restaurant chains are just plain reliable.. What to try: Fully enjoy the California way of eating with the Enlightened Kale and Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad. What to try: The Buffalo wings, duh. What to try: Go big or go home, right? Sure, chains like McDonald’s and Wendy’s have offered salads for quite a while now, but making an effort to be healthy via a few token menu items does not a healthy restaurant make (as they say, you can put lipstick on a pig…). One of the largest family-operated restaurants, it dates back to the Pappas brothers, who opened their first location in 1976. If you're watching your sodium, at least Panera always offers the option to get most dishes in a half portion. Menu: Americanized Italian specialties, so mostly pastas and pizzas. Get the best food tips and diet advice every day. 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. Or is it the family-style Italian dining, featuring heaps of pasta and other delectables brought to the table, ensuring every person seated leaves with a full belly, as if an Italian grandmother cooked specifically for them? You'll find Caribbean-inspired dishes and tropical drinks in a colorful atmosphere mostly found in the southeast of the country. The 50 Most Popular Fast Food Chains in America. Fun fact: This is yet another California-launched chain. The menu's crispy bird bites are offset by skinless chicken pieces, low-calorie sandwich options, and a host of sides that come from beyond the fryer. Stance on Antibiotics: A. When one of these restaurants opens, it excites newcomers. We may love Outback, but LongHorn had our hearts first. These wines, made in Illinois from grapes sourced from around the world, have won nearly 550 awards. Healthy Options: B-. Said one TripAdvisor reviewer, "Everything was DELICIOUS! (Just make sure you have a designated driver!). Annual sales: $496 million (22nd most successful casual-dining restaurant), Menu: Steak, ribs, burgers, chicken and other grilled items. 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. Story by Tom Sietsema. Debuting first in Tampa, Florida, there are today more than 700 locations across the U.S., as well as 22 international countries. Still, too many of the breakfast and lunch items top 500 calories, the dessert menu is a total mess, and the McCafe menu is hit or miss. While they may get a bit of criticism for their lack of originality, there ' s a certain appeal to knowing you can always expect the same menu, no matter where you might be.. Honing in on casual-dining restaurants (eliminating fast-food and quick-service hot spots), we took the top restaurants in terms of sales and ranked them by customer love, using the Market Force Information 2019 survey of top chains, Yelp and TripAdvisor average rankings, and social media as our guides. In addition to topping-laden specialty pies, the menu includes salads, pasta bowls, and ice cream sundaes. It has only a handful of options (literally) and a sky-high average sodium count of 1,696 milligrams: 74 percent of your daily value of sodium intake. in nearly every state. Even one Yelper who admitted to not typically being a patron of chain restaurants called the Shrimp Portofino "hands down the best pasta I've ever had. Nearly 20 years later, he opened a restaurant beside the market, ensuring diners were getting the freshest fish. The restaurant's beginnings date back to 1950, when founder George Berkowitz sold fish in an Inman Square market next to his father's grocery store. Menu: Greasy appetizers, salads, burgers, steaks, ribs, chicken, pasta. Stance on Antibiotics: B-. 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. Because the sandwich chain set a long timeline for acquiring antibiotic-free pork and beef (2025) as well as cage-free eggs (2025), the chain earned a "B+" rating. What to try: O'Charley's Famous Chicken Tenders are twice-breaded and buttermilk-dipped, and so popular that some locations offer endless chicken tender specials. What to try: The original — and extremely popular — BBQ Chicken Pizza transformed the pizza world when it was introduced. Today, it offers the epitome of made-from-scratch Southern comfort foods. But while prices are right, reviewers don't entirely agree that the eating here is "good." Like many fast-food chains, most Chick-fil-A restaurants have a kids' play area, but their glass-walled site can be viewed from anywhere in the restaurant and they have free Wi-Fi. What to order: Given that it began as a cocktail spot, sample one of the establishment's many drinks, including margaritas, rum punch and a couple different versions of Long Island ice tea. Launching in the mid-'90s in Long Beach, California, it now has more than 80 locations. 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. You'll want to keep your trips to this neighborhood grill to a minimum if you're watching your weight. TripAdvisor reviewers love this chain — giving it four stars, on average. The first chain to bring California cuisine across the country, it favors innovative toppings and fresh ingredients and has rapidly expanded; it is now in more than 30 states with over 250 locations. 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. Stay away from anything "smothered," "XXL," or "Supreme" and be skeptical of the salads. Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema recently checked out the country’s 10 largest sit-down restaurant chains. Chick-Fil-A prides itself on its fresh-squeezed lemonade, handmade biscuits, and chicken breaded and seasoned to order. But trying it fresh in the restaurant is far better. List of defunct fast-food restaurant chains; List of ice cream parlors; List of pizza chains; Lists of restaurants; List of revolving restaurants; List of seafood restaurants; References This page was last edited on 8 January 2021, at 06:58 (UTC). Quality of Ingredients: C-. Then, it was only 99 cents, but today, it continues to provide bargain steak dinners in a buffet setting. What to avoid: The pasta, which many describe as ho-hum and, at times, cold. You can feel assured that your diet likely won't be thrown off course if you stop at Panera. Hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors, preservatives, and inflammatory fats are among the ingredients found in nearly every menu item. Here are the four metrics we used to determine each chain’s final grade. Infamous for its scantily clad Hooters Girls, we're not so sure the popularity of this restaurant has anything to do with its food. Still, Pappadeaux makes it onto the list. Chili's makes it easy … What to avoid: As my North Carolina-born Southerner dad claims: It's all good. Quality of Ingredients: D-. Shutterstock. That's four wings for each man, woman, and child in the country, if you're keeping count. While other Italian chains have more locations and have brought in more revenue, those who have been enjoying the food since it first opened in Chicago in 1991 turn to Maggiano's for special events, even though it's a casual joint. These are breaded with 11 signature sauces. 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. There are more than 200 restaurants in nearly half the states of the country. Makes you feel like you’re in some other sort of America. The Bell officially only sources chicken raised without antibiotics important to human medicine, but we're still waiting on that beef. Steer clear of the breakfast platters and milkshakes and go for the grilled chicken sandwiches or a classic fried chicken sandwich. It may be one of the oldest steakhouse chains appearing on the list — it opened in 1958 — but it's still in the top 40 chains with the more modern big boys. The top three spots in this ranking are separated by a razor thin margin. Menu: Bruschetta, salads, steak, veal, chicken, seafood and pasta. rankings; chain restaurants; This list ranks in descending order, from worst to best, United States-based casual dining restaurant chains. "When Bar Louie opened up, it was such a novelty. About the QSR 50/ QSR 50 is an annual ranking … © 2020 Galvanized Media. It's great that Wendy's offers a handful of Jr. Burgers that stay below 400 calories, but there are still many burger and chicken sandwiches that are high in calories and high in fat. What to avoid: The pizza is what shines here, so it's best to choose that over more off-the-beaten-path choices like the tilapia or garlic chicken. Founded in Iowa in 1972, there are now also Happy Joe's restaurants in Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. Unfortunately, nearly half their offerings exceed 1,000 milligrams of sodium per sub—and that's without any condiments. Besting Olive Garden not by revenue but by taste, Carrabba's is the first chain to enter the top 10 on our list when it comes to customer love. Logan's invites its diners to come as you are, although we'd advise against flip-flops so you don't cut your foot on the peanut shells tossed on the floor. Even their "Super Foods" section, which touts clean ingredients with superpowers, can topple over 1,000 calories. Almost every sandwich has an extra 90-calorie smattering of fat from a heaping serving of soybean-oil-based mayonnaise. Add on the namesake cheesecake and food that typically earns at least 3 stars from Yelpers and 4.5 stars from TripAdvisor reviewers, and you can see why the Cheesecake Factory has been a hit since 1972. Tons of quality beers on tap, creative cocktails, good food. ), Menu: Asian staples including dim sum and sushi. The only grief we have is that they still use preservatives, additives with known negative side effects in humans, and inflammatory oils. But there are some simple burger options that ring in at under 400 calories. To find our favorite sandwiches, don't miss these Every Subway Sandwich—Ranked for Nutrition! Stance on Antibiotics. Today, you can try its food in 40 states across America. But be warned: A fair amount of reviewers complain about long wait times here. Popular. 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