March 30, 2006

I Been Workin' on a Chain Gang...

I'm not sure what happened to the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three last week during Spring Break--reports came from various sources about it being seen with a beer funnel and a buxom Tri-Delt in Panama City Beach, but no matter what it was doing then, it's shown up for work on time today!

THIS WEEK'S thrilling set of questions comes to us via known restaurant-haunter, Dr. Jimbo Smith, who wants all of you to please take a seat and answer the following three questions:

1. What is your favorite chain restaurant?
2. What is your least favorite chain restaurant?
3. What chain do you wish was in your town, or at least a little closer to you?

As always, the questions are open for anyone to answer, even if you hate restaurants with nifty theme bric-a-brac screwed to the walls. Second, I think the definition of a restaurant is pretty broad, so it might be good to narrow it down by saying that it means a place with waiters who come and take your order, rather than a buffet place or a fast-food place. (Here's a list of chains from around the world for your edification and amusement.) Just leave your answers in the comments below, or a link to your blog joint with your response.


1. Favorite? Hmm, well, most of the biggies have a presence somewhere in the metro area around here, and I've eaten at most of them. I suppose, based on where we go on Sundays if we have any extra cash, I'd have to say Ruby Tuesday. If we had all day to kill, I suppose I like Cracker Barrel better, but the one in Trussville and the one in Leeds take FOREVER to seat you and serve you, so you have to not really be hungry to go eat there. And, of course, if I'm by myself on the road, there's really nothing like Waffle House.

2. Least favorite would probably be Lone Star Steakhouse--I've only been in a couple, and both times the place seemed as though it were covered in sticky layer of filth, and the service was poor. I've never been to a Logan's Roadhouse restaurant, but the idea of peanut shells on the floor just doesn't do it for me.

3. This one is pretty hard, since Birmingham is a big restaurant town and as I mentioned, we've pretty much got at least two of every national chain somewhere in the area, in addition to all the local favorites. I really can't think of any place that I would just love to have that we don't already have.

So, there you go.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at March 30, 2006 08:24 AM

We don't eat out much.

We like Waffle House for breakfast. Don't care for Shoney's at all.

I wish a decent Mexican chain would come into town. On the Border was pretty good at one time. Tia's was passable.

But that's just wishful thinking. The only national chain restaurant in the area is Ruby Tuesday, which we haven't tried.

Posted by: Janis at March 30, 2006 09:10 AM

I'm up.

Posted by: Larry Anderson at March 30, 2006 09:14 AM

I'm up as well. Wishin for a Hooters in my neighborhood instead of Applebees...

Posted by: Nate at March 30, 2006 09:24 AM

I'm up.

Posted by: Grouchy Old Yorkie Lady at March 30, 2006 10:44 AM

Grrr. Stupid linky thing. How about this?

Posted by: Grouchy Old Yorkie Lady at March 30, 2006 10:46 AM

Me, too.

Posted by: Diane at March 30, 2006 10:50 AM


And getting hungry.
Terry we had a Lonestar and it was OK with a coupon. However it closed a few weeks ago. At Logan’s it is only the shells that go on the floor.

Posted by: jim at March 30, 2006 10:55 AM

My turn!

Posted by: Sarah G. at March 30, 2006 11:27 AM

I'd like for Birmingham to get a Chuy's, but some Mexican restaurants don't leave Texas.

Or a La Madeleine. They're in Texas, Louisiana, and Georgia.

Posted by: megabeth at March 30, 2006 12:17 PM

Lucky for me you picked a topic I can't answer on a day when I have no time to answer. The closest thing we have to a chain in the kosher world is a place called Kosher Delight.

Which is certainly not the latter, and I have my concerns about the former.

Posted by: skinnydan at March 30, 2006 01:14 PM

Hmmm--sounds like quite a nice bit of untapped market potential to me...

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at March 30, 2006 01:24 PM

Hey! Remember me? I was able to answer these questions this week! Yay, me! Here's the link. Thanks for allowing my humble participation!

Posted by: angie at March 30, 2006 02:24 PM

Megabeth, we have La Madeleine here in MD too.

1. My wife really likes La Madeleine, and I think it's OK. We're both picky about Italian food, so we prefer the restaurants in Little Italy in Baltimore, but when our son worked at Carrabba's, we'e go there to embarrass him, and the food was OK. GOYL, we aren't that crazy about Ruth's Chris, but there's a semi-chain we like, when we've saved up for a meal, called the Prime Rib. Their locations are DC, Phillie, and Baltimore.

2. There's a terrible shortage of good Mexican restaurants around here. I don't care for Chi-Chi's, Don Pablo's, etc. Since I lived in CA for while I'm picky about Mexican food too.

3. We have yet to explore all the unique restaurants in our area, so I don't care about what chains we're missing.

Posted by: steevil at March 30, 2006 03:56 PM

1. What is your favorite chain restaurant?

Gotta be Popeye's, good food at a good price

2. What is your least favorite chain restaurant?

Hard Rock cafe, loud w/poor food and service. I base this on vists to 4 of them in 4 states.

3. What chain do you wish was in your town, or at least a little closer to you?

I love just about every style of Mexican food from Tex-Cali-Mex to home cooked over a tin stove in San Christobel but my guilty pleasure is Pancho's I wish I had one close I'd love some tacos and fresh sopaillas now!

Posted by: Tony von Krag at March 30, 2006 09:05 PM

Back when I was in my 20's, there was a little family-run Mexican restaurant at the corner of Lemmon and McKinney in Dallas.

They might've seated 40. It was great homestyle Tex-Mex food, and this young, single woman was welcome and looked after.

Good for brunch and dinner, and plenty of Negra Modelo.

Posted by: Janis at March 30, 2006 09:13 PM

But did they have a gigantic shiny stainless steel Viking commercial range?

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at March 31, 2006 07:46 AM

They had something better -- recipes.

Posted by: Janis at March 31, 2006 07:52 AM

Now, now--I have a feeling that although you might not quite be able to recreate the ambience, you could probably cook up a mean batch of Mexican food.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at March 31, 2006 08:05 AM

No, I still haven't found good recipes.

I gotcher Rick Bayless, and your Diana Kennedy, but they're classical Mexican food and depend too much on ingredients unavailable here.

I have a coupla San Antonio cookbooks. The recipes are OK, but not what I'm used to.

I am starving here.

Posted by: Janis at March 31, 2006 08:11 AM

I think you're gonna have to just start making up your own recipes.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at March 31, 2006 08:16 AM

Re: Authentic Mexican food (not Tex-Mex)....
I found this great little authentic Mexican food place in Houston last summer. It was called 100% Taquitos. I ate super yummy tacos there. Fresh food, fun atmosphere (in the middle of the restaurant, it had a real VW Beetle with a few life-size mannequins of famous Mexican characters in it--think The Bee Guy and Vicente Fox!). It was great. But I can't seem to find anything like that here in Dallas. My brother-in-law lives in Mexico City and he eats that yummy stuff all the time. And it's cheap!!

Well, I guess that's the "classical" Mexican food, though! Whoops! Sorry!

Posted by: angie at March 31, 2006 11:10 AM

Chipotle ain't bad, Angie.

I could go for one of those here.

I had one of those burrito bowls the last time I was in Dallas. It ... touched my longing.

Posted by: Janis at March 31, 2006 11:42 AM

Try Roger's Ramblings.

My son, at Wasted Electrons, not only has me doing a blog, but following the Thursday Three and the answers he posts, to the extent that I was harrassing him last week for not having any answers.
My answers for the eat-out questions are posted on my spot. Thanks

Posted by: Roger (Nates Dad) at March 31, 2006 04:00 PM

NATEDADDY!! Welcome, sir! And thanks for staying after Nate--he's a good boy for the most part, but sometimes he starts slacking off, you know.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at March 31, 2006 04:31 PM

You, of course, do know that Chipotle is owned by McDonald's.

Posted by: Janis at March 31, 2006 06:09 PM

Roger is welcome to ramble on over to my digs at anytime.

Posted by: Janis at March 31, 2006 06:13 PM