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Ranking America’s Top 10 Chain Restaurants

The Washington Post's food critic Tom Sietsema is used to testing the food and services of the trendiest restauranteurs around. But he put food snobbery aside completely for his latest project- nationwide chain restaurants. Sietsema spent quite a bit of time trying the ten biggest-selling chain restaurants out, going to each more than once, usually at more than one location, and trying different menu items each time.  

Over the past several months, Post food critic Tom Sietsema dined at America’s 10 highest-grossing, full-service, casual restaurants, reviewing them as he would independent establishments: two or more times each, sometimes at multiple branches, and sampling a cross-section of the menus. Given the unique nature of the corporate enterprises, broadly popular letter grades rather than the Post’s usual stars were assigned to each brand.

Knowing that you can wake up to the same fluffy pancakes from Denny’s whether you’re in Miami or Minneapolis, or sit down to the identical warm breadsticks at Olive Garden, no matter which of its 800-plus branches you find yourself in, speaks to the chains’ charm offensive: no-surprise comfort.

Find out which chains are on the top ten, and how they rank against each other, here. You might be surprised at the findings. He even took home a doggy bag once, something he says he never does.

(Image credit: Anthony92931)

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Bottom line is that experiences will vary, even in "Mom and Pop' restaurants. Heck, even at home too for that matter. Although don't tell Mrs.O Is said that.
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The only ones on this list where we do not dine is the Outback here. The few times I tried it the meat/steaks were tough and gristly. Compared say to Applebee's where the steaks are fat and gristle free. Texas Roadhouse, not to be confused with Texas Steakhouse is off my list because my ears can't tolerate music at jet engine decibel levels. Lists/rankings like this for the most part are a matter of personal taste and although they are chains, can vary from area to area. i.e. some of the cooks may over do the salt, or not cook properly because they are rushing orders.
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I like breakfast at Cracker Barrel, but you have to crack their egg code, which isn't normal. If you order eggs "well done" or "over hard," you get runny eggs. I don't care for scrambled eggs, but that's what I order at Cracker Barrel, because they turn out like an omelet. If you order an omelet, though, you get charged more.
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