DETROIT - We know Americans love to go out to eat! In fact, Consumer Reports says Americans spend about $1.7 billion each year at the nation's 970,000 restaurants. The consumer magazine surveyed more than 47-thousand readers who ate a total of 110,517 means at 102 table-service chain restaurants.
The rated restaurants serve cuisine for most palates: steaks and burgers, barbecue, seafood, Italian, Mexican, and Asian.
Top Marks for Nine Chains
Consumer Reports says nine chains earned especially high marks across the board for the for things like value, service, and mood-and were praised for menu variety, cleanliness, and a lack of noise. They were:
Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano, focusing on big portions and personal attention.
Black Angus Steakhouse, for flame-grilled steaks with an "over-the-campfire flavor."
Bob Evans, for breakfast and homey fare.
Bravo Cucina Italiana, for "upscale affordable dining" in a "Roman ruin" décor.
First Watch, for eggs, pancakes, and sandwiches.
J. Alexander's, for American classics, sandwiches, salads, and specialties such as grilled fish with mango papaya salsa.
Le Peep, for eggs, crepes, and salads.
Elmer's, for pancakes and comfort food.
Fatz Eatz & Drinkz, for grilled or fried sandwiches, entrées, and finger foods.
Diners Not Impressed With Some Chains
The Consumer Reports survey found some chains that lagged behind the rest. The magazine survey found two family restaurants among the low scorers. Friendly's and the Waffle House both drew low marks for cleanliness and the mood. Friendly's was also criticized for lackluster service. The magazine says the pub-style Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar was another laggard, criticized for value and noise.
For a link to more information on the survey's winners and losers, and other restaurant trends follow this link: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/index.htm. To read the full report, you may need to subscribe to Consumer Reports.
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