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Restaurant Food Chains V. Mom and Pop Restaurants

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5,353
Points
31
Trail Nazi started a pretty interesting thread back at the temp forums on this.

When I'm on the road, I prefer to dine at locally owned and operated restaurants. Corporate chains like Applebee's and Bennigan's are simply disgusting. They only serve a purpose when there's absolutely nowhere else to go.
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
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25
I try to eat at local restaurants when I'm on a road trip and in no real hurry to get anywhere. I've found some suprisingly good places in several small towns just by asking at a local store or gas station where I could get something good to eat.

As for chains, I typically avoid them. Although, I have been spotted eating a Wendy's spicy chicken sandwiche and fries in the car when trying to make time.

Cracker Barrel is good fatty road food. Appelbees = Bleeeeeck!
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
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19,461
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44
After I got out of college, I started to eat at locally owned places more and more... now it is to the point where I can not remember the last time I have eaten at a fast food chain. When I am traveling though, and I am on the turn pike, I just stop at the service stations.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
12,741
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42
I generally go the opposite way.

When I'm out on the road and choosing a restaurant to dine at with no previous recommendations, I usually go for the better chain places, ie: Max&Erma's, etc.

I know what to expect and if there is a problem they usually fall all over themselves to fix it, which I understand is part of their MO.

But I don't go to such places where I live, because it helps to preserve the local character when you dine at good local restaurants, and the local places in my neighborhood are amazing.

If I am just passing through a place, preserving the local character is not much of a concern to me.
 

SlaveToTheGrind

Cyburbian
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1,243
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23
Ah....good to be back in Cyburbia...did not know what I was going to do here at work...work? I agree with Planderella. I like to try the one of a kind places. If I am traveling, I want to experience what makes a place unique. That is also why I prefer to drive when I travel. I can stop and take it all in. While I was at the APA conf. in Chicago, went to some great eating places. One way to experience the locale is through the food.
 

Plannerbabs

Cyburbian
Messages
1,038
Points
23
You take a chance when you eat at the locals, but then I've gotten food poisoning from chains too. And the locals, when they're good, tend to be very, very good and worth patronizing a lot. For example, I will soon be driving eight hours to eat chicken wings. The wings aren't the main reason, but they're definately a highlight. And this isn't the first time a trip has been planned mostly around food.
 

Seabishop

Cyburbian
Messages
3,838
Points
25
I like to go to the locals more but with us sometimes the chains win out. My wife's a vegetarian and I viciously eat the flesh of innocent animals. Chains seem to have at least one token vegetarian item and we know we can agree on them. We also tend to go to places that don't mind screaming 1 year olds. Some good restaraunts near me also have very limited hours.

I used the same "support local business" rationale for getting coffee at a certain small coffee shop rather than Dunkin Donuts. Then I found out that the owner is the father of Tampa Bay Devil Ray Rocco Baldelli - I don't think he needs my support anymore. :)
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
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5,984
Points
29
I have found sanitation to be an issue in some places with the mom & pop vibe. I stick to chains I can sue whille I am on the road. All it takes is one night in a foreign hospital praying that God claim your soul NOW to avoid the local board of faire. I still have dairy issues.
 
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27
Totally depends - if we're visiting people in said city, we'd definitely prefer that we'd go out to a local place, that they can recommend. However, Rob is a VERY picky eater, so when we travel, its tried and true chains for us - Friendly's, Ruby Tuesdays, Friday's. But at home we mostly eat out Mom and Pop.
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
I stop at the mom n pops, but have had some bad experiences (nothing major just crappy food). It is a gamble, but usually worth it. Applebee’s and friends are just so boring and are the icons of American cultural homogenization, which I am against (of course). I do like the CB though it takes too long. So I don’t stop there often.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
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3,232
Points
25
The last time I ate at a chain I did so because I was in the suburbs and it was the only thing availuable. It was Arbies and it made me sick.

Oh, unless you consider local chains like Potbelly's a chain.
 

Miles Ignatius

Cyburbian
Messages
368
Points
12
Mom & Pop!

I go Mom N' Pop but not without some research; a cursory review of the menu and premises and before I arrive, a quick look at the capsule reviews of restaurants either on the Web or local paper.

Haven't been burned yet. I just can't stand patronizing a chain; all of the local feel is lost.
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
I usually try to go the mom and pop route, unless I need something predictable (or if the City I'm visiting has a chain restaurant that isn't in my area, that I really miss). Like when I was in Halifax, I went one night to TGI Friday's, because I haven't had their broccoli cheese soup in years and I really missed it (and it's still yummy!)...

The best breakfasts are always at the greasy spoons, and not at the chains. If anyone going to WA State wants some breakfast recommendations, I've got plenty.

My favorite greasy spoon is Beth's Cafe in Seattle (especially fun when the punk and rave crowd comes in around 4 a.m.).
 

SkeLeton

Cyburbian
Messages
4,853
Points
26
Mc D's is the only chain here, and I haven't eaten there in years...
Pizza Hut is decent enough for me though, and other national chains that are convenient when traveling....
 

Big Easy King

Cyburbian
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1,361
Points
23
I truly enjoy experiencing the local flavor. Chain restaurants are almost everywhere, hence "chains." Thus, snap that chain and try cuisine that's unique to that area.
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,853
Points
39
We have a few non-chains (but that I wouldn't call a "mom and pop") and a few local chains here that get a lot of biz from co-workers. Including a very nice little steakhouse (mmmm...meat!) for lunch that all the higher-ups in county government patronize.
 
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