General Question

ibstubro's avatar

Generally, would you rather eat at a local, home owned restaurant or a chain with consistently reliable food?

Asked by ibstubro (10879 points ) January 22nd, 2014

Personally, I’m always looking for the ‘local favorite’ restaurant. If there’s local culture or ethnicity, I’m game and score. What’s to lose? You love it, you have a great memory, you hate it, you have a great story.

Friends determined we’d eat at Texas Road House tonight. It was, as I suspected, long (getting seated), loud (they scream things about birthdays that are unintelligible to all but the table) and chaotic (the employees line danced in an area not walkable.

I have another set of friends that toured the Eastern seacoast eating at nothing but McDonald’s. The wife has a tender stomach and prefers the consistency of Micky D’s. I would have gotten her drive through and made her eat it at a mom-and-pop seafood restaurant.

Fast food? I’m all about Taco Bell, Subway or Quiznos. That’s a separate topic.

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81 Answers

livelaughlove21's avatar

I haven’t had much luck with local restaurants, so I tend to stick to chains. I don’t mind the wait or the noise as long as the food is good. I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad experience at our Outback, Longhorn, or Carrabba’s. Some chains are hit and miss – Olive Garden (mostly hit), Applebee’s (mostly miss), and Chili’s (50/50). The closest thing to a local restaurant that we frequent is Hwy 55, which isn’t exactly home-owned, but not nearly as widespread as the others I mentioned.

What’s to lose? Money, and an enjoyable night out. Crappy food automatically puts me in a crappy mood. I hate spending money and not getting something good in return.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Depends if I am traveling or if I am on my home turf.

If I am near home (i.e. Atlanta and suburbs) then I’m game for local, non-chain food. I’ll try anything.

If I’m out on a business trip, in the middle of nowheresville, I’ll often go for the tried and true chain, because there’s a better chance of properly prepared, albeit boring food. If I have to give a presentation the next day, the last thing I want to do is be up all night retching.

But like most rules, this one is often broken….

JLeslie's avatar

My husband loves Texas Roadhouse! We hate the peanuts on the floor, and luckily the two we go to are not very loud. The steaks are quite good and their salad dressing is very good in my opinion.

Near home I love finding local joints that are good, sometimes they are local chains with a few locations. I like giving my business to the owners and especially like if the food is fresh.

However, when travelling on the road I am very happy to find the consistent food of a chain that I like. Usually reliable for cleanliness and I can order the dishes I know I like. My favorite chains are J. Alexander, Ruby Tuesday’s, PF Changs, and Chili’s. On my road atlas I write notes directly on the state page that read, “I40 exit 65 Ruby Tuesday’s.” Once I am in my destination area I ask locals and other tourists for recommendations for local restaurants.

As far as fast food. I rarely eat fast food. That also usually only happens while travelling, and I prefer McD’s and Arby’s. My husband likes Burger King. Although, recently we needed to grab lunch and the closest place was a McDonald’s so we ate there, because we only had a half an hour.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@JLeslie Mmmm, I love Arby’s. My husband says it would cost just as much to go to a sit-down restaurant, but it’s soooo worth it for those curly fries.

JLeslie's avatar

@livelaughlove21 I usually only get it in food court type situations like airports or turnpike stops. My husband really is not find of Arby’s, so we don’t usually stop inti an Arby’s. I love the regular roast beek with lots of Arby’s sauce. Regular fries for me, but my husband loves curly fries. They had really good chicken tenders back several years ago, but I don’t know if they are still the same? I probably eat Arby’s once every 2–3 years.

Judi's avatar

I don’t really trust chains. Off the top of my head the only chain restaurants that I like are steak houses.
I had a friend who was a real foodie. His advice for choosing local food was “Go where the people are. ”

livelaughlove21's avatar

@JLeslie We don’t eat it much either because, when my husband says we may as well eat at a real restaurant, I think that sounds like a good idea (I’ll pick that over fast food any day; I love going out to eat). I get the roast beef and cheddar sandwich(es) with curly fries. I’ve never tried any chicken there – I couldn’t go there and not get my sandwich.

rojo's avatar

Depends (which is also the answer to an old joke). If I am on the road I usually pick a chain, unless I spot somewhere with a bunch of cars parked outside, then I might chance it if I have time. At home, I will frequent locals and, mostly, skip the chains.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I rarely go out to eat. If I’m going out I want real food, not some processed bullshit. I want to experience something new and something that’s been cooked with compassion rather than something that was thawed out and microwaved.

Sometimes the restaurants I try out aren’t always good but how will I ever find new things if I don’t try as much as I can? It’s often a whole of a hell lot cheaper than the chain restaurants as well.

It’s been about 2 years now since I’ve eaten fast food and I couldn’t even tell you the last time I’ve been to a chain place aside from getting dragged their by friends but I never order anything aside from maybe a drink.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Wasn’t this question asked over the weekend?

ibstubro's avatar

@livelaughlove21 Personally, I’ve had great luck with locals, but I admit to loving Olive Garden. We don’t have one locally, so that’s always a good, safe option if I’m out of town.

I hear you, @elbanditoroso. I found that the personnel at mid-low end hotels tend to give the worst eating advice, yet I continue to ask.

I have to admit that the steaks at Texas Roadhouse looked delicious @JLeslie. Picture perfect and I could tell by the cutting they were tender. I had shrimp on a skewer and it was decent, if grossly overpriced. ”Why, for the love of gourd, would you eat shrimp at a steak joint??” you rightly ask. To which I reply, “It was an invitation!” Ruby Tuesdays used to be the bomb, with a grilled fish sandwich on garlic bread. Alas, that is no more.

Yes, @Judi, I’m all about “Go where the people are.” However, one of the most popular local restaurants is one of my least favorites because it’s too noisy and the food is overpriced and mediocre. Lots of times we just head to the first Mexican place we see, if out of town.

I tend to be much the same, @rojo, but that’s not all my choice. The words I dread the most if I’m a long way from home are, “What about Quiznos?” Not that I don’t like it, but I like adventure in eating more. Pick a new chain, for the love of Pete!

I very rarely eat fast food, myself, @uberbatman. ”...how will I ever find new things if I don’t try?” Exactly! Lets do lunch…I’m buying.

bolwerk's avatar

It really has to depend where I am, and on the chain. A lot of places only have only two choices: greasy spoons and fast food chains. I guess I would prefer Applebee’s or Subway to a typical greasy spoon.

For that matter, I’d probably take McDonald’s or BK over Arby’s or KFC. I think this summer will be 10 years since I last had McD’s.

gailcalled's avatar

You mean “family-owned”, don’t you since “home-owned” makes no sense? I have a feeling that I have written this before, several days ago.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I love checking out local restaurants, especially while traveling. When we don’t have a lot of time to find a good local place, we’ll go to some chain restaurants. Some of my favorite restaurants are the Mom & Pop places I’ve been to. I have even thought about taking trips back to places we’ve been just for the food.

For example, my absolute favorite place to get a steak is Zentner’s Daughter in San Angelo, Texas. We ate there numerous times when my husband was stationed there and I’d love to go back sometime just to go have dinner.

Judi's avatar

WWW.YELP,COM has helped me a lot when discovering little local restaurants. I have the app on my phone and I have found some amazing places that you would only know about if you are local. User ratings are pretty reliable of there are more than ten or twenty.

rojo's avatar

I remember a few (ha!) years back when everyone wanted to go to Hooters and my question was always why? Can’t we go somewhere with decent food, then, if you still need to, we can go there and grab a beer or something.

ibstubro's avatar

I shudder at the thought of KFC, @bolwerk. Years before I gave up meat, I gave up KFC when I realized that shortly after eating there I had an unquenchable thirst from all the salt. Subway is an amazing chain: fresh, cheap, custom-made food. Amazing!
I too, avoid the greasy spoon.

Family-owned makes no more sense, @gailcalled. If you care to correct me, then “locally owned” would be more accurate, and local was used more than once in the OP. I don’t believe that the owners being related improves the food.

One of my most amazing experiences was in Hawaii, @Seaofclouds. Across the street from the Salvation Army was a mom-and-pop Vietnamese restaurant. The place where the Vietnamese population, ate. I’ve never had spring rolls as good, before or since.

ibstubro's avatar

Good tip, @Judi. I rarely think to plan ahead for food, is my problem. Then the S/O likes to drive until it’s too late to eat at most decent places, if we’re on the road.

LOL, @rojo. When I was invited to Texas Roadhouse, I impolitely let slip, “Why, is going someplace good not an option??”

Coloma's avatar

I prefer trying new places in my community but will resort to chains at times if I am really hungry. haha
I like Chipolte and Schlotzkys.
I recently tried a new BBQ place and while it was good it was very over priced. $12 for a couple strips of smoked chciken breast a slice of cornbread and a little blob of cole slaw. Now I just drop in for side dish takeouts and a Goose Island beer on the patio. lol

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I like the local favorite restaurants when I am traveling. I do like Arby’s, KFC, Red Lobster, Texas Roadhouse, Joe’s Crab Shack, Sizzler and Carrino’s when I am at home, but what a waste to be on vacation and not take the opportunity to try something new. Barbeque in Texas and Georgia, Soul food in the southern states, seafood on the east coast, cajun food in Louisiana, a pozole bar in New Mexico, oriental food in San Francisco Chinatown, and The Keg in Washington state. But then, I have a cast iron stomach, so I don’t have to be picky.

janbb's avatar

I much prefer small local restaurants everywhere. On a recent road trip to Florida I was hoping to find some colorful Southern places but pretty much all we came across near I-95 were chain restaurants. I have to say I adore Red Lobster’s cheddar biscuits but not much else. We did better in Florida where we ate at some of the local places I knew.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Local, but I’m picky, has to be clean, cars in the parking lot and pass a health inspection if it’s in MY area.

If I travel, I’ll try pretty much anything especially if it’s new and exciting or something I can’t get at home (NO MCD’s), I can’t pass up a Taco Bueno though. And no food trucks, EVER!

jca's avatar

I, too, seem to remember this question being asked very recently, with pretty much the exact wording.

I can’t stand most popular chains. Applebee’s Chili’s, Sizzler, Red Lobster – I only eat at those places if the person or people I am joining say that’s their choice. I can tolerate them, but don’t prefer them and try to avoid them like the plague.

I do like Outback – I find their food to be consistently good and the atmosphere is decent. Cheesecake Factory is decent, too, and although they get really crowded, and cost a bit more, their serving sizes are huge and definitely could be shared or taken home.

On TripAdvisor, I was recently viewing forum posts where people were discussing Orlando. Many Brits were posting about the chains that they love so much. Texas Roadhouse, Miller’s Ale House, and another one – Bonanza or something like that. I ate at Miller’s. It was ok. Nothing incredible. I have also heard people talk about Joe’s Crab Shack.

For fast food, I like Taco Bell just for tacos, and McDonalds has good coffee – Paul Newman’s. Wendy’s is decent, too. I really don’t care for McD’s, and I won’t go near Burger King. I avoid Arby’s. I feel like all fast food is a bunch of chemicals and salt. If you read “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan, food writer for the NY Times, you’ll get a greater understanding of the fast food industry and you’ll dislike it more.

Locally, I will choose a diner if I am with my daughter, because it’s more casual and I can get eggs and she likes chicken soup. We don’t usually get the kid’s meal, we’ll get a few things and share them. I have learned how to “keep the bill down” by knowing what she will eat and what things we can share, so we can get away with the bill being less than $20, usually less than $15.

There are some dairy farms in CT where they make and sell ice cream, and the quality and quantity are the best, and yet they’re not well known outside of the towns where they operate. I think it’s the locals way of preserving their little gem!

I like locally owned places, but when traveling, they’re hit or miss. I’ll try to read reviews, when possible, on Trip Advisor, or if it’s where I work or live, I will stick with the tried and true places that friends say is good. @Judi: I heard bad things about Yelp. I heard there’s a way they can get bad reviews taken down or hidden.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@KNOWITALL Why no food trucks? I’ve had some of the best food ever from food trucks in the city.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@uberbatman I always hear about them being germ mecca’s, am I wrong? We have a few here and I’ve been tempted but seriously worried about food poisoning. I’m the same with sushi, I have to read health inspections. Weird right?!

rojo's avatar

@uberbatman On the jobsite they are referred to as the “roach coach” As in “The roach coach is here. Anyone want a burrito or bowl of chili cheese fritos?”

KNOWITALL's avatar

@rojo And also some places won’t allow fresh food on them, so they keep all their food warm all day, so it’s kind of nasty, so I hear.

zenvelo's avatar

I avoid chains like the plague. Why travel if you’re not going to experience something different?

And chain food may be consistently reliable but it’s at best consistently mediocre and not at all healthy.

tedibear's avatar

I prefer a local place that has been recommended by more than one resident. I don’t mind a chain restaurant if that’s my only choice, but would far rather go local.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Applebees is another fairly consistant chain I do like when travelling. Oriental chicken salad and perfect margarita is hard to mess up…lol

Yetanotheruser's avatar

I’d rather get my pizza from the local pizza shop rather than Dominoe’s or Pizza Hut, or Papa Johns. Once in a while I get a take ‘n’ bake from Papa Murphy’s, but if I’m going to bake it myself I might as well make it myself from scratch.

jca's avatar

@Yetanotheruser: The worst local pizza is still always way better than the best Pizza Fast Food Chain pizza.

jca's avatar

Why is this question an exact duplicate of one that was asked 3 days ago?

Seek's avatar

My answer the last time this question was asked:

I hate, hate, HATE chain steakhouses.
I keep trying local places, with mixed results. Rarely awesome, usually mediocre. And the awesome places never seem to stay open very long.

keobooks's avatar

I dated a guy and we went to Miami together. I was all excited to try the Afro-Hatian, Cuban and Puerto Rican food. He would only eat at Subway or Wendy’s. Now THAT is a shame!!

JLeslie's avatar

Some places are busy because they have two for one drinks. In fact, people always tell us about Mexican places, because my husband is Mexican. If they are American and mention the margaritas are really good, we have learned not to run to try that restaurant so fast. I guess food tastes great if you have a had a few.

@jca Why would you trust a Brit when it comes to cuisine? Their reputation for bad food in their country is there for a reason. Although, I am sure the food must be better now than years past, and certainly some great chefs have come out of the UK, but still, they would not be who I relied on for food advice if they were strangers to me. However, I also used to think that true of Irish food, because Irish pub food is what I had had previously in America, but Disney’s Irish restaurant in Downtown Disney happens to be delicious! Free entertainment there; Irish live music and dancers.

I should say I am reluctant to trust a recommendation for good pizza from someone from Alabama.

I use tripadvisor for restaurants and I write reveiws. I think tripadvisor is great for hotels and food. I generally I tell people to read a bunch of the bad reviews, and if they see the same complaint two times or more assume it is true. If it is something that matters to you, skip that restaurant.

@ibstubro My personal favorite dish is the sirloin steak kabobs at Texas Road House. I love the marinade they use. My husband likes the NY strip. Once in a while my kabobs have some tough pieces, I guess they use ends for it, but the majority of the time it is delicious. I don’tthink it is very expensive for a steak place. I like Outback steaks a lot too, but I am not fond of their salads.

downtide's avatar

I’ve had good and bad food at both chains and independent restaurants, though I tend to prefer the service at the independents. My favourite chains (in the UK) are La Tasca (Spanish) and Nandos (Portugese). The best Italian meal I ever had was in an independent restaurant in Glastonbury but the second best was at Bella Pasta, a big chain. The main difference though, was at the independent, we felt more inclined to stay for drinks afterwards, chatting with staff and other customers; at the chain restaurant we lust wanted to pay and go.

laurenkem's avatar

<sigh> @KNOWITALL I miss Taco Bueno so much. Haven’t been near one in years, but used to lurve it!

marinelife's avatar

Local one offs when possible.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@laurenkem My brother-in-law lives in OK and everytime I drive through I hit a Bueno. Last time, this sweet lady handed me a coupon for two different things, and since there were a few of us, we got them both, it was so nice!!

We had one here locally at one time but it went out of business, which is odd since the breakfast was like $2 and always packed. No bueno.

rojo's avatar

My bro-in-law can’t come to Texas without hitting a What-A-Burger. Until recently he couldn’t get one in Alabama but I understand they just opened one in Huntsville and what is a two hour round trip for a What-A-Burger right?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@rojo Never had one, or a Jack In The Box either. I hear they’re good though, like White Castle good.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

What-a-Burger—Mmmmmmm!

ibstubro's avatar

Our Schlotzkys died, @Coloma. I did eat at Panera Bread today. I was on my own and they made me a yummy gorgonzola and red onion grilled sandwich.

I was made fun of when we went south and I had to stop at the first boiled peanut stand we came too. I wasn’t impressed, but that wasn’t the point, @Skaggfacemutt!

There was kind of a scuzzy looking place in St.Pete/Tampa bay that had the best hot smoked fish I’ve ever even heard rumor of, @janbb.

I remember my last food truck, @KNOWITALL. “Indian Tacos”. When I returned it 98% of the way uneaten they simply asked, “Oh, did you want another one?” Ummm. NO.

Having locals you know to give a place a thumbs up is the best way, @jca. I rarely check my email and they kicked the other question back twice…4 days had gone by and I had no way of knowing if there were any replies Saturday, and I was afraid it would be lost in the sands of Fluther, so I abandoned and re-asked.

ibstubro's avatar

@KNOWITALL did you catch my previous post about seeing a live cockroach crawl across the sushi at my local Asian buffet? Few weeks back. ACK!

hey_now's avatar

I’ve had great and horrible food and service from both, but I prefer a family owned restaurant. I will be a loyal customer if the food and service is good.

I enjoy Buffalo Wild Wings and the breakfast at Cracker Barrel. My least favorite chain is Applebees. I’ve never had good service at Applebees and the food is often served cold. It’s been 10 years since I’ve stepped foot in that chain.

ibstubro's avatar

“consistently mediocre” is my complaint as well, @zenvelo.

I’m in a rural area, @tedibear so even trying a new chain can be a treat for me, sometimes.

There IS NO better pizza in my neck of the woods, than Papa Murphy’s gormet Veggie, @Yetanotheruser!

I’ve had the same problem with awesome local places, @Seek_Kolinahr. We had an amazing Cajun restaurant I was only able to eat at once, and hands down best Mexican closed after I visited 4–5 times.

I tend to have much the same problem, @keobooks. “How about we drive through for some food you can eat at a good restaurant??” lol

ibstubro's avatar

We spent $83 @JLeslie, at Roadhouse. Our favorite Mexican restaurant it about $42 for 4, and that includes 1 jumbo and a pitcher of margaritas.

Is Spanish in the UK similar to Mexican in the states, @downtide? Or are they completely different animals?

Thanks, @marinelife.

I prefer local, @hey_now. Typically, about the time I found something I really liked at Crapper Barrel, the S/O took a dislike to it. Go figure.

jca's avatar

@JLeslie: I didn’t say I trusted Brits when it came to cuisine. I was pointing out that some of the restaurants that people on Fluther like are the exact same ones that tourists like. It’s tourist food. That was the point I was making.

jca's avatar

A new fast food chain that is becoming popular is Five Guys. They have burgers and fries, and it’s all good. Fries come in huge quantities, in paper bags. You order it and then they call you, after they make it to order. There are a bunch of toppings they put on for you, as you want it. They also have barrels of peanuts you can take for free.

LostInParadise's avatar

I prefer local restaurants, especially for ethnic food. Near home, there is not much risk. If I don’t like the restaurant, I won’t go to it again. On the road, I figure that local food is part of the travel experience.

ibstubro's avatar

Is that firehouse themed, @jca? If so I’ve been there.

My kind of traveler, @LostInParadise.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca Got it.

@ibstubro Why would you expect steak or shrimp to cost the same as Mexican food? Not that you can’t get steak (it’s not going to be like an American steak) or shrimp at a Mexican restaurant, but those types of restaurants usually are not apples to apples. Although, there certainly are inexpensive steak places and expensive Mexican places.

I’ll answer for @downtide. When he says Spanish, he means Spanish, as in food from Spain. Mexican food is not the same, although higher end Mexican places have some Spanish dishes since some Spanish food is typical in MX also. Things like paella, calamari, and of course flan for dessert. In America it is the same, a Spanish restaurant and a Mexican restaurant are not the same food. Two different countries.

ibstubro's avatar

@JLeslie I eat shrimp at the Mexican restaurant. About the same size, slightly less, and tastier. Literally $5 for Mexican, $15 for Roadhouse, each with 2 sides and ‘filler’ (chips and salsa/breadbaskets). However, I’m on your side, I would never order order shrimp at a steakhouse expecting it to rock my socks. I simply don’t eat meat, and it was an by-invitation dinner. I was a guest. To my credit, I refrained from ordering the fried catfish, because it was not the time, the place, or the price scale for that.

I want @downtide to answer, dammit. I lurve his accent. :) I love the overseas members, because I’m fascinated with things non-American. How I long to experience something other than the American Midwest.

I have never, in my life, seen a Spanish restaurant. Ever.

Mimishu1995's avatar

I always love to eat at restaurants rather than at home, but I can’t do that much because:
Firstly, our wallets are limited.
Secondly, I heard that eating at home can lengthen my life. So… I have no choice.

Smitha's avatar

While travelling Chain restaurants are the easiest to find and reliable. But otherwise I would prefer nearby home owned one. In my native place, there is a very famous restaurant which is owned by an old lady. The name of the restaurant is “Mother’s Kitchen”. We have been there a number of times and the food is just amazing. The place too is very neat and clean, truly traditional at the same time moderately priced.

Smitha's avatar

You heard it right @Mimishu1995 . Home made foods are the best. We can modify any food according to our taste or health. It’s much healthier and hygienic.

Response moderated (Spam)
JLeslie's avatar

@ibstubro In America there are not a lot of Spanish restaurants. The food usually has an emphasis on seafood, but they certainly have beef and other dishes as well. The Spanish tend to use oil in their cooking. Some cheeses you might know of are associated with Spain like Manchego cheese.

You might have heard of the word Tapas. It basically means small plates/portions. Spanish restaurants are known for having Tapas. Usually people order a few to be able to taste a variety of things. Kind of like going to a party that has a alot of appetizers. Some American restaurants are going after the idea, but using typical American food, or a variety of international foods, rather than a Spanish emphasis. If you google Spanish restaurants I am sure you could find some menus to look through.

I really don’t see any problem ordering Shrimp at a steak place. Steak houses typically serve some seafood as well. Shrimp and seafood at a Mexican place can cause me to think twice if it isn’t Mexicans from the coast. It’s like ordering seafood in St. Louis. They aren’t near an ocean, so it’s hit or miss. St. Louis happens to have some very good restaurants though.

Edit: I found this restaurant in Indianapolis and St. Louis of all places. I seem to remember you are from MO and live in IN now so I googled IN and Spanish food. Check the menu.

ibstubro's avatar

Seafood does not necessarily have to come from the sea, @JLeslie, and St. Louis is on the Mississippi. Come to think of it, I’ve never lived more than several miles from the Mighty Miss in my life. _On it, nearly, for all but a couple years. The problem with Midwestern seafood is we think it equates with deep fried, and I can’t handle that.

Tapas is sorta like antipasto?

Americans tend to see bread as a stand-alone or sandwich support, whereas other countries seen to believe it support for spreads and dips. I wish I could accustom myself to bread being a vehicle to bring delicious tastes to my mouth, much like chips.

I think I’d love Spanish food. I love paella.

Odd that you think seafood at a steak joint is okay, but not at a Mexican joint. lol

Leanne1986's avatar

It depends on the prices obviously but, where possible, I would prefer to support family owned businesses rather than chains.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ibstubro <shudders> No bugs anywhere and I also like to see the kitchen on my first visits.

Agree with you on the Mexican joint, seafood is the main staple of the diet in Mexico from what I saw, not beans and tortillas.

ibstubro's avatar

I LITERALLY watched a cockroach crawl across all 4 plates of sushi at my local Asian buffet, @KNOWITALL, pausing only to climb up and over a piece of sushi. When we told the manager, she squashed it with her thumb. Problem solved!

If I’m ever to return, it will only be because my friends, Ralph and Earl insist! lol

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@jca Really, you don’t like Chili’s, Red Lobster and Applebee’s, but you would eat at MickyD, Taco Bell and Wendy’s??

I don’t mean to put down your taste in restaurants, that just surprises me.

I also like Outback and the Cheesecake Factory. I think we are very fortunate in this country that so many restaurants put out really good food. I don’t do fast food at all – no MickyD, Wendy’s, Taco anything, Burger anything. I do like an Arby’s once in a while, and I don’t classify KFC as fast food. You might get it fast, but it is not burgers and fries.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt Since when does it have to be burger and fries to be fast food? KFC is just as much a fast food restaurant as McDonalds is. Just as fast and fattening as any other. If you can get it at a drive-thru, it’s fast food.

ibstubro's avatar

@livelaughlove21 KFC is arguably faster food, as it is impossible to fry chicken to order in a timely fashion. You might flip a burger, but you’re not going to fry a chunk of chicken.

JLeslie's avatar

@ibstubro I live 20 miles from the Mississippi also, and the seafood was ok in Memphis, but yes a lot of fried. Do the fish actually come out of the muddy Mississippi? I have no idea, I also lived in Michigan, The Great Lakes State, so I definitely realize fish comes from other bodies of water than the sea. However, in terms of skill and preparation, I still say you have a better chance on the coasts for freshly prepared fish that is not buried in butter or sauce, or as you pointed out, breaded and fried.

The coast of MX eats a ton of seafood, but the interior is not really known for it, much like our own country. One of the best fish dishes I ever ate was on Isla Mujeres in MX at a little local joint. Fish tacos seem to be becoming more popular also here in USA. In n Mexico City I don’t really think of seafood when I think of their cuisine, but of course they do have seafood inntheir restaurants, just like you can get seafood in our interior also.

ibstubro's avatar

Back in the days of DDT we regularly ate catfish from the Mississippi, and I lived to tell about it, @JLeslie. These days, I don’t think the Mighty Miss is a big food source.

I have some smoked sturgeon in the fridge now that is from a questionable local source, but it’s delicious.

JLeslie's avatar

They might very well fish the Mississippi. I have no idea if it is polluted, or just muddy? Mud isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Earth brought down from up north makes the land around the Miss very fertile from what I understand, especially when she overflows, supposedly that enriches the lands again. That’s what I have heard, I don’t know if it is an old wives tale. Sounds good anyway.

downtide's avatar

@ibstubro Spanish food is mostly very different from Mexican. There are no tortillas for one thing, no wraps or burritos. If meat is used, chicken or pork is more common than beef. They also eat a lot of seafood. Fresh bread, broken and dipped in olive oil. Dry, spicy sausages like chorizo and morcilla. Spanish food is highly flavoured but generally not as hot as you’d expect of Mexican food. You don’t get “blow-you-head-off chillis. And yes, tapas are the Spanish equivalent of antipasto. Lots of little dishes to snack on with your beer or wine.

Ironically when I went to Spain and stayed in an authentic, off-the-beaten-track Spanish village, the favourite dish of the locals was nothing more special than ham, chips (fries) and fried eggs. The sort of thing you can get in any British motorway café. But their ham is way better than ours.

ibstubro's avatar

I literally live in the valley that was carved by the Mississippi River and it is indeed some of the richest, most fertile ground in the world. Of course the river is polluted, but nothing like it used to be. Pesticides are more narrowly regulated and better understood, it’s rare for raw sewage to be dumped in the river, and waste-water treatment often now includes storm sewers.

Thanks, @downtide. Very interesting. I’d never realized that I am unaware of ever seeing a Spanish restaurant in the US. Perhaps I’ve seen them and my Midwestern mentality believed them to be Mexican.

JLeslie's avatar

@ibstubro You just made me think of how some of my midwestern friends used to call my exboyfriend Mexican, his family was from Ecuador, he was born here. Also, how my midsouth friends finally explained to my husband and I that the term Mexican is used as a derogatory term, which we laughed about when they told us.

I think it would be very easy for someone who never heard of or thought of Spanish food to mistake a Spanish restaurant for A Mexican one. I could see how that would be an innocent and understandable mistake.

ibstubro's avatar

Thanks, @gailcalled. There was one in St. Louis that sounds great, appears to be fairly inexpensive and in a neighborhood I know. I rarely eat much in St. Louis (as I don’t often eat lunch or drive distances in the dark), but I may have to make an exception.

Oh, and it was as @JLeslie and I speculated…all but the ones with ‘Tapas’ in the name I would have figured for Mexican.

jca's avatar

@ibstubro: Five Guys is not fire house themed.

@Skaggfacemutt: I like the chili at Wendy’s, and they have good fries (the kind with skin on). They also have decent salads, or the baked potato is a good option. Applebee’s I think of as salt, sugar and chemicals. McDonald’s I think of as the slickest of marketers, and if you read “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan, he talks a lot about McDonalds, their marketing, their food, where they get it from, etc.

ibstubro's avatar

I have to admit I eat at Hardee’s now and again. I’m trying to support the “Grilled Cod Sandwich”. It’s difficult for me, personally, at $4.66 each.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I’m not really a health food nut – I just know what I like and don’t like. I don’t care that KFC has as much fat and salt as other fast food – I love it and it doesn’t make me feel nauseous. I don’t like the food at McDonalds (except the breakfast). If the girls go to Wendy’s, I will get a baked potato. Both Wendy’s and McDonald’s salads taste wilted and old to me. In other words, if I am dragged to any of these places, I try to find something on the menu that I like. I wouldn’t go there on purpose because there are too many other restaurants that I like better.

JLeslie's avatar

Funny this Q popped up for me again. This weekend we will be with a bunch of our friends and one couple who tends to be the leader of the group (which overall is fine) hates eating in chain restaurants. The thing is, they all too often stick to local places that I feel have mediocre food. We go along, because we are there to be with everyone, but sometimes I would rather just go to Outback or Ruby Tuesday’s. I feel like they have a mental block about chain restaurants and don’t even really pay attention to the food. I agree with them about giving local paces a try, but once they are a dissappointment why not go to a tried and true place? Or, I guess maybe they think the local places actually have good food when I think they don’t.

rojo's avatar

I have to give a shout-out to the fresh made pizza at “The Bull of the Woods” in Red River N.M. Most definitely not one of your chain restaurants. The beer variety’s not bad either

ibstubro's avatar

Rub it in, @rojo. I’m stranded in the sticks, in the snow, in the Midwest.

wuad2015's avatar

local restaurant

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