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Out of all the restaurant chains out there, Buffalo Wild Wings takes the cake for selling the most beer in America, according to CNBC. After launching in 1982, the chain is now open in more than 900 different locations with a wide enough beer selection to keep wing lovers happy.
Even though the chain did not make their statistics available, they assured CNBC that they do in fact pour more beer than any other restaurant chain. "We have the advantage of being the largest pourer of draft beer in the county, if not the world," Andy Dismore, vice president of Food & Beverage Experience at Buffalo Wild Wings, told the outlet.
Each restaurant has approximately 30 draft beers that include a selection of regional favorites tailored to each location, CNBC reported. In order to provide their customers with such a desirable beer selection, the chain uses a three-tiered system to choose which beers to pour. They first offer big brand beers (ie: Coors Light, Bud, or Miller) in every restaurant nationwide. Next, locations from each state serve the best regional beers from each state. And lastly, each restaurant then has the opportunity to choose their own seasonal offering based on a local favorite or customer preference.
The restaurant takes pride in its ability to take advantage of local beer resources and incorporate customers’ opinions into their selection process. "What's really worked for us is to have the ability to serve the beers our guests are really demanding and asking for," Buffalo Wild Wings’ manager of Beverage Innovation Patrick Kirk told CNBC. The chain also recently teamed up with the NCAA to be dubbed "The Official Hangout of NCAA March Madness," so it’s certain that their guests will definitely be putting the beer selection to good use.
We suppose it’s safe to say that Buffalo Wild Wings didn’t lie when they decided to use the tagline, "Your Home For Wings. Beer. Sports." for their restaurant.
Skyler Bouchard is a junior writer for the Daily Meal. Follow her on twitter at @skylerbouchard.
BDO Beer & Cooking Guide (Black Desert Online)
This Beer and Beginner Cooking Guide was originally written by Birdie, and was edited by me. It’s now kept current on GrumpyG. Thanks Birdie! ! I will update this Beer and Cooking Guide with any new BDO patches/changes. (Birdie currently enjoys cooking beer and feeding her hungry workers in Black Desert Online.)
Alcohol Isn’t Worth the Trouble for Some Chain Restaurants
Some restaurant chains are turning to the bottle during the rough economy, but the liquoring up has produced mostly headaches, not happiness.
Outlets that specialize in quick and cheap daytime meals — including Starbucks, Sonic and Guy & Gallard, the New York chain — have been experimenting with adding alcohol to their menus. Pret a Manger, the British sandwich maker, is considering adding wine in its new Paris stores, and Burger King last year began selling beer at its more expensive Whopper Bars in the United States.
With alcohol one of the highest-margin items on a menu, selling beer and wine can lead to increased revenue.
“Alcoholic beverages are highly, highly profitable,” said Bonnie Riggs, a restaurant industry analyst at the market research firm the NPD Group. “It’s been such a challenging time for the restaurant industry, I think they’re trying to pull out all the stops and try different ways of getting consumers to the restaurant.”
But some of the chains say that so far, the menu changes have been a lot of trouble with little reward. Customers apparently just don’t think a value meal pairs well with a cabernet, and the logistics involved with selling alcohol can be daunting and expensive. The problems include obtaining permits, training a staff that has high turnover, slowing down service when IDs have to be checked, and finding a dedicated area for alcohol service.
“Fast-food restaurants aren’t set up to be bars,” said David Henkes, who advises restaurants on alcohol sales at the consulting firm Technomic. “Based upon the amount of sales that most restaurants would get from alcohol, it’s just not feasible for most restaurants to do it.”
With so many employees under the legal drinking age of 21, fast-food restaurants have a particularly hard time when it comes to alcohol service, said James M. Seff, a lawyer who advises wineries and breweries at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman.
“If someone is 18 and a buddy comes in who’s 18, chances are better than otherwise that the minor will serve them,” he said. “The regulatory authorities will murder them if there is a pattern in practice of service to minors.”
Sonic, a drive-in chain a based in Oklahoma City, added beer and wine to the menu in its new Homestead, Fla., location in July. The addition was based on nearby restaurants’ menus, and it was meant to bring in customers at night, said Drew Ritger, senior vice president for business planning and purchasing at Sonic.
“When you stand on our patio and look around, you will see almost every concept that is around us has some type of patio feature, and they serve beer and wine,” Mr. Ritger said. “It gave us an opportunity to really drive our evening traffic.”
But the alcohol has come at a cost. In addition to the normal hurdles, like obtaining a license to sell beer and wine and training employees to serve the drinks, the restaurant had to hire security guards to keep away underage drinkers, and it expects insurance rates to increase, he said.
And for what return? “Candidly, they’re not utilizing those products very much at this point,” he said. “It doesn’t look like it’s a big deal to consumers — it’s clear they come to us to have an extra-long cheese coney or an all-beef hot dog.”
While Sonic is considering offering alcohol at a beach location opening soon in Fort Lauderdale, Mr. Ritger said he did not expect Sonic to make alcohol available at restaurants nationwide.
“Most quick-service restaurants in the country do not offer beer, wine or other alcoholic beverages,” he said. “Most people are probably used to that.”
The bumpy rollouts have other chains limiting their ambitions, or at least proceeding cautiously.
Pret a Manger, the London-based sandwich chain, sells alcohol in some of its airport locations and is considering selling wine in its new Paris stores. But, said Clive Schlee, the company’s chief executive, it is not an important part of the business, and he does not expect it to be.
Starbucks is testing wine and beer sales in five stores in the Pacific Northwest. Three-quarters of its store traffic in the United States occurs before 2 p.m. each day, said a spokesman, Corey duBrowa, and the alcohol is meant to attract a nighttime customer. While feedback has been positive, Mr. duBrowa said, Starbucks has not announced plans to offer alcohol beyond those five stores.
Burger King has gotten a firsthand lesson in how difficult selling alcohol can be. In 2009, it began opening Whopper Bars as a more upscale complement to its fast-food locations. The Whopper Bars serve items like a Bourbon Whopper and a New York Pizza Burger, and customers choose additional toppings like pepperoni, onion rings or guacamole.
It started selling beer at Whopper Bars in the United States in 2010, but although Burger King has 10 Whopper Bars worldwide, it serves beer at only six of them, in part because of licensing issues. Last summer, for instance, it opened a New York location near Times Square and promised that it would have beer within weeks, but the store has still not received approval for a liquor license and has given up on plans to serve beer for the time being, said Michelle Miguelez, a Burger King spokeswoman.
In a sign of just how hard it is to add anything alcohol-related to a menu, Burger King last year tested a nonalcoholic breakfast mimosa, made of orange juice and Sprite, in some cities. But watchdog groups objected, saying even a virgin mimosa was inappropriate at a family restaurant. The mimosa is no longer being served at any restaurants, Ms. Miguelez said.
The Top 10 Best Chain Restaurant Wings Across The USA, Ranked
When it comes to bar food in the United States, few items are more beloved than chicken wings. This gametime staple is big in pizza places, family restaurants, and even diners. The snack equivalent to fried chicken, the best part about these crispy, juicy wings, is pairing them with a plethora of sauce choices. From spicy buffalo, to tangy lemon pepper wet, these sauces and the chicken they come with have weaved themselves into the fabric of American food culture.
Today, many chain restaurants offer their own takes on wings. The ten you will see below are some of the most fire versions you can find from major establishments that have solidified themselves as THE places to get your wing fixes.
To come up with our list of the best chain restaurant wings, we only took a look at those with ten or more locations nationwide, that offered up at least two different flavor options. Those criteria were proof to us that these guys took their wings seriously. From there, we took a look at consumer favorites as well as our own experiences to determine whose wings were worthy enough to fly at the top of this list.
Domino's has a trio of flavors to offer for their wings: traditional buffalo, BBQ, and Mango Habanero. They're a decent accompaniment to the pizza, but Domino's doesn't give these pieces of chicken the love they deserve. I'd honestly love to have more wing offerings (and bigger pieces too) than the baked fried chicken sides Domino's pushes instead.
9. Buffalo Wild Wings
Given B-dub's recognition, chances are you're puzzled why it's near the bottom of this list and not near the top. For us, it's because we weren't usually there because we thought they were the best wings, we stopped by to get great deals on them. Once Buffalo took away 60-cent wings and half-off Tuesdays, the incentive to pick this place over somewhere else was lost. The quality just can't match the remaining establishments on this list.
Applebee's is more in the news these days for their discounted drinks, but these wings are a decent accompaniment to those Dollaritas. They're just a notch above Buffalo in terms of quality, especially with the extra crunch on their twice-battered bone-in wings factored in. I'd rather have wings that just go straight in the fryer, but when it comes to a batter, these wings have a decent one coating them.
7. Wingstreet/Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut puts so much effort into their wings that they've even got a separate brand specifically for them. It takes a special level of dedication to separate the wings and pizza business under one restaurant, and for that, the Hut deserves some major kudos. I'd love to see more standalone Wingstreet locations, though, so that my experience of trying these for myself isn't limited to eating after a 20-30 minute car ride.
You won't find a location of this national fried chicken chain west of Utah, but Zaxby's has established itself as a powerhouse in the world of tenders and wings. They're comparable to Raising Cane's in terms of cult popularity, size, and quality. Their wings could do with a bit less crunch though, and I'd love to see sauce variety outside of hot, teriyaki, BBQ, and honey mustard.
When at a fried chicken joint, ordering the leg, thigh, or breast usually takes precedence over the wings. However, like the rest of their cuts, Popeye's makes a pretty fire wing, and while their sauce lineup is pretty basic, the breading they put on their chicken is magical. You're not typically gonna go to Popeye's for just wings, though, which is why it takes a back seat to the top 4 on this list.
4. Anchor Bar
Anchor Bar claims to be the inventor of the buffalo wing, saying that Teressa Bellissimo first cooked them in the original Buffalo restaurant back in 1964. Today, they've got locations throughout the US and Canada, but also ship their wings and different sauces nationwide. They're definitely the tiniest chain on this list, but deserve such a lofty position for their history, flavor, and distribution. Here's hoping that more locations, especially on the West Coast, are coming soon.
Hooter's doesn't get a ton of publicity for their food, but they still know how to crank out a fire wing. They also put more unique twists on them than any other chain on this list, with bacon-wrapped wings being the craziest of them all. Those who haven't had the Daytona Beach-style wings have been missing out as well, because that sauce could contend for one of the best across all chain restaurants.
What sets Wingstop above all of the others so far on this list is its consistency. Regardless of what flavor wings you're ordering here, they're going to perfectly crispy and juicy every single time. Wingstop is also the most dedicated wing joint on here, outside of Buffalo Wild Wings, but far exceeds it in terms of flavor, variety, and satisfaction. The slightly sweet fries served alongside give that extra bit of balance to the heat of the wings, meaning you can keep going back for more. Wingstop is definitely the best US-based chain we've got, but there's one international superstar whose wings have spread out here and taken the top position.
1. Bonchon Chicken
That global wing powerhouse is Bonchon Chicken, the Korean fried chicken and wings specialist from abroad. They only serve up two flavors: sticky and sweet soy garlic, and spicy hot garlic, but that's all they need, to be honest. The chicken has as much juiciness as a Wingstop wing, but with an extra bit of crunch and explosion of flavor. Bonchon could definitely offer more in sauce variety, but when the two flavors they offer are easily some of the best in the country, so why branch out when your staple sauces are that fire?
America's best Tex-Mex restaurants
.24 and tacos, tostadas and fries for .19. Fast-forward to today and, although prices are different, these items and more keep customers coming back. There are American-style tacos like the beer-battered fish taco or more traditional choices like the tacos al carbon with carne asada or chicken, cilantro and onions in a corn tortilla. There are even breakfast options like breakfast burritos to satisfy that Tex-Mex craving early on in the day." />
Interested in this topic? You may also want to view these photo galleries:
15. Pappasito's Cantina: As the Tex-Mex outpost of Pappas Restaurants, Pappasito's does this cuisine justice. According to their website, more than 3.5 million pounds of tortilla chips are served at the chain's locations each year. Holy guacamole! And speaking of guacamole, Pappasito's is prepared tableside with fresh avocado, tomatoes, onions, jalapeños and lime juice. What began as a family-owned restaurant business in 1976 has grown to include other cuisines like Greek, steak and seafood. Pappasito's stays true to its roots, with the majority of its locations in Texas. (Photo: Flickr/dionhinchcliffe)
The votes have been tabulated, and The Daily Meal is pleased to announce the 15 best Tex-Mex chain restaurants in America.
We rounded up a list of 50 top Tex-Mex chain restaurants around the country and asked you to determine which one is the best based on several criteria: the variety of menu options offered, the best rice and beans, the use of fresh ingredients, the most authentic/unique dishes, the best chips, salsa, and guacamole, and the most flavorful cuisine overall.
Now, we have narrowed it down to the top 15 based on your votes.
Americans love Tex-Mex. There is a reason why there are thousands of these restaurants around the country. But what are the origins of this cuisine, and why do we care so much?
The concept of Tex-Mex is relatively new. The first trace of it popped up in the 1940s, according to Food Timeline. But it didn't gain momentum until the 1970s when it was deemed trendy.
Tex-Mex gets its name from the restaurants that opened in Southwestern cities with large Mexican populations, and is a take on regional cuisine in Mexico. Some may also argue that it is a version of Mexican food prepared by Texan cooks.
Fast forward to today, and Tex-Mex is available all around the world.
While there's no debate that there's a big difference between authentic Mexican cuisine and Tex-Mex (you won't find a hard-shell taco in Mexico), both Tex-Mex and Mexican foods rely on the same basic ingredients: tortillas, rice, beans, beef, chicken, pork, sauce and cheese (though traditional Mexican fare is a bit more subtle flavor-wise, and usually includes fresh white cheese instead of shredded cheddar).
Even if their menus might be similar, some chains are arguably better than others. And this is why we asked you to be the judge, and put it to a vote. From the rice and beans to the burritos, chips and salsa, Americans are undoubtedly hooked on Tex-Mex.
Founder Steve Ells knew that he wanted to create a restaurant with affordable, fresh ingredients when he opened the first Chipotle store in Denver in 1993. What he didn't realize was how large and successful it would be, with more than 1,500 locations in four countries. In the late '90s and early 2000s, Ells made a big change that revolutionized the company: he ensured that all pork and chicken used was naturally raised. Eventually, this led to no trans fat on the menu, the use of naturally raised beef, and more. Today, Ells leads a great effort to push for meat and produce to be raised responsibly. And if that weren't enough, Chipotle is delicious. They are famous for their burritos, burrito bowls and guacamole. The food is fresh and tasty, but the best part is that you know where all of the ingredients for your meal came from.
This California-based chain opened in 1990 and, as their name suggests, emphasizes fresh ingredients. Everything is handmade and unprocessed. You will never see a can opener, microwave, lard, MSG or freezers at any of the more than 200 locations of Baja Fresh. Try the Baja Bowl filled with rice, beans, roasted vegetables, onions, cilantro, salsa verde and a choice of either chicken, pork carnitas, steak, line-caught ono fish or grilled shrimp. Or, try one of their premium burritos.
This Mexican grill opened in 1995 in Denver under a different name. Qdoba used to be called Zuma, then Z-TECA Mexican Grill. But because these names were too similar to other restaurants, founder Anthony Miller and partner Robert Hauser settled on the name Qdoba. There are more than 600 locations today and the chain is best known for its Mission-style burritos, a concept from San Francisco. These are customizable burritos with options like roasted chile corn, shredded beef, fajita vegetables, ancho-chile barbecue sauce and a three-cheese queso. Fun fact: It took the folks over at Qdoba 47 attempts to create the perfect blend of the three-cheese queso.
4. Moe's Southwest Grill
Known for their crazy menu names and high-quality ingredients, Moe's is great all around. They promise cage-free chicken, steroid-free and grain-fed pork, grass-fed steak and organic tofu. Also, there are no microwaves, trans fats or MSG to be found. It's something to be happy about when you take a bite of their Homewrecker Burrito, with rice, beans, cheese, pico de gallo, lettuce, sour cream, guacamole and your choice of meat. Or, try the Funk Meister tacos. It has almost the same ingredients as the burrito, but is served on a flour or crispy corn tortilla. Moe's has been around since 2000 when the first location opened in Atlanta. Now, with more than 460 locations around the world, Moe's quirkiness and good food continues to be shared.
This restaurant epitomizes the culture of Tex-Mex with its name and beginnings in 1986 in Dallas. All dishes are inspired by the tastes of Mexico and Southern Texas, with items like chicken flautas, achiote chicken tacos, homemade guacamole and hand-pressed tortillas. The chain that was originally based on sizzling fajitas and margaritas now has more than 160 locations and serves a wide variety of true Tex-Mex cuisine.
This the largest and most known of all the Tex-Mex chain restaurants. A former Marine named Glen Bell created the concept of Taco Bell in San Bernardino, Calif., when he opened a hot dog stand but realized the real interest was in the alternative menu items, tacos. There are more than 4,600 Taco Bell franchises around the world today. From Crunchwrap Supremes to Chalupas, Taco Bell has created some innovative Tex-Mex. But, the one that has taken the world by storm is the Doritos Locos Taco, with more than $1 billion worth of these gems sold. The genius taco is made of ground beef, lettuce, and cheese stuffed in a Doritos-seasoned crispy taco shell.
Unlike a typical Tex-Mex restaurant, El Pollo Loco started out in Guasave, Mexico, as a roadside chicken stand in 1975. The first American restaurant opened in 1980 in Los Angeles. In English, "El Pollo Loco" means "The Crazy Chicken," which is what this chain specializes in. The chicken is marinated in herbs, citrus juices and spices, then fire-grilled. Served in burritos, salads and as an entrée, El Pollo Loco's chicken has customers coming back for more time and time again.
Three brothers founded this chain in 1988, taking inspiration from various cultures around the world. Wing, Ed and Mingo combined their love for surfing with a mix of Mexican, Brazilian, Hawaiian and Asian flavors to create the menu. Surfing companies donated stickers and adornments to the first outpost, opened in Orange County, Calif. There are more than 50 locations today, with the most popular menu item being their Citrus Slaw Tacos with fish (of course).
As the second-largest Tex-Mex franchise in California, Chevys promises that all of their food has been made from scratch. Founded in 1986 in Alameda, Calif., dining at this restaurant chain is designed to resemble the experience of dining in a cantina or border town café in Mexico. One of the best dishes is the sizzling fajitas with chicken, steak, shrimp, portobello mushrooms or pork carnitas. The best part of the dining experience, however, is Chevys' in-house tortilla maker, dubbed El Machino. Watch your tortilla being made in this machine, which just adds to the freshness and fun at Chevys.
Chuy's first came about in 1982 when Mike Young and John Zapp wanted to turn an abandoned building into a restaurant in Austin. When it opened, the restaurant was run-down, with multi-colored tiles, a dirt parking lot, an outdoor restroom and the only adornments on the walls were velvet paintings of Stevie Wonder and Elvis Presley. Although the décor has changed, one thing that has remained consistent throughout all of these years is their South Texas, New Mexico and regional Mexican cuisine. Some of Chuy's popular items include the chile relleno, which is a stuffed fire-roasted Anaheim pepper with either cheese, ground sirloin, chicken and cheese, or shrimp and cheese. There is also the Elvis Green Chile Fried Chicken, which is breaded with Lay's potato chips and served with a green chile sauce and Cheddar cheese.
When this taco joint opened in 1964 in Yermo, Calif., it served burgers for .24 and tacos, tostadas and fries for .19. Fast-forward to today and, although prices are different, these items and more keep customers coming back. There are American-style tacos like the beer-battered fish taco or more traditional choices like the tacos al carbon with carne asada or chicken, cilantro and onions in a corn tortilla. There are even breakfast options like breakfast burritos to satisfy that Tex-Mex craving early on in the day.
Although Chili's is known today for its sizzling fajitas, premium burgers and baby back ribs, the restaurant was first inspired by a chili cook-off. Founder Larry Lavine attended a cook-off in Terlingua, Texas, and then decided to open a restaurant in Dallas in 1975, serving burgers, tacos and chili. More than 1,200 locations later, Chili's has expanded to 24 countries and broadened its menu to include American favorites like the Philly cheesesteak sandwich and Chicken Crispers.
The California-based franchise first opened in 1954 and continues to serve a taste of Mexico with a modern twist. The Street Taco Trio is one of the favorites, with adobo chicken breast, adobo steak or grilled halibut options and served with beans and rice. Or for a bolder taste, the fire-roasted pasilla chile relleno will set your mouth on fire with the pasilla chile pepper.
From its beginnings in Alamo City, Texas, in 1978, Taco Cabana has come a long way with more than 160 locations near and around Texas. The restaurant was originally intended to be a casual place to hang out. Now that it has expanded, the Tex-Mex cuisine is a hit. There's nothing better than sitting on Taco Cabana's patio catching up with friends. Order the Cabana Sampler, which includes favorites like cheese enchiladas, crispy tacos, chicken flautas and guacamole served with rice, beans and flour tortillas. The conversation with friends will never end.
15. Pappasito's Cantina
As the Tex-Mex outpost of Pappas Restaurants, Pappasito's does this cuisine justice. According to their website, more than 3.5 million pounds of tortilla chips are served at the chain's locations each year. Holy guacamole! And speaking of guacamole, Pappasito's is prepared tableside with fresh avocado, tomatoes, onions, jalapeños and lime juice. What began as a family-owned restaurant business in 1976 has grown to include other cuisines like Greek, steak and seafood. Pappasito's stays true to its roots, with the majority of its locations in Texas.
Arkansas: Slim Chickens
One of the first things you’ll notice, on your first visit to this fast-growing chicken finger operation, founded barely twenty years ago in the also fast-growing Northwest Arkansas region, are the sauces. There are restaurants that give you options, and then there are the seventeen different options to choose from here, at last count, from Korean BBQ to Mango Habanero to Sriracha Garlic. Better still, the array of condiment choices isn’t here to dazzle you into putting up with the usual plastic chicken—here you find 100% all-natural, real-deal white meat. (It’s delicious.) (Slim Chickens)
Most restaurants can make a basic pizza with dough, sauce, and cheese for much less than $5 in most circumstances. Keep toppings to a minimum to ensure you don’t go over on costs, and sell your pizza for nearly double. Sell your pies by the slice to turn even more profits while catering to lunch crowds that need to get in and out fast.
Use kitchen scraps and re-purpose side items to make high-profit soups ideal for pre-meal ordering. For instance, save all your vegetable trimmings for stock, or take the onion and beef trimmings from a roast and turn it into stew. Using what you would have otherwise discarded prevents waste while allowing you to offer quick and simple soup-of-the-day options.
Carrabba's: Fettuccine Weesie with Whole-Grain Spaghetti
Courtesy of Carrabba's
Shrimp! Mushrooms! Fresh basil! When you read the list of ingredients that go into this dish, it's hard to imagine it would be such a nutritional nightmare. But this is the restaurant industry we're talking about here. Would you expect anything less? If you're looking for carbs that won't derail your weight loss progress, check out these healthy carbs instead.
20 Impossibly Identical Copycat Restaurant Recipes
Finding something you really love at one of your favorite restaurants &mdash awesome. Only being able to get it at that restaurant &mdash not always so awesome, especially if the restaurant is in another city, state, or even country! But just because you can't always get back to a particular restaurant for that something special doesn't mean you can't get your fix when you need it. Simply spend a little time in the kitchen and figure out how to make it yourself. Or, better yet, find recipes from other people who have already done the work for you.
These 20 fabulous copycat restaurant recipes are just as good as the originals, are available to you any time you want, and range from super fancy to super simple. Basically, you'll be happy with these recipes no matter your mood.
1. Chili's Tex-Mex Margarita Chicken Salad
This Chili's copycat salad is chock full of deliciousness.
2. Bonefish Grill's Bang Bang Shrimp
This bang bang shrimp recipe is a knock-off from Bonefish Grill in North Carolina. The shrimp is beyond delicious and this version is baked instead of fried.
3. Darbar's Indian Butter Chicken
This recipe is based on a butter chicken dish from Darbar, an Indian restaurant in Palo Alto, Calif. The sauce is so good you might just want to drink it. And the tender, yogurt-marinated chicken is to die for.
4. Starbucks Lemon Loaf
Who doesn't love the lemon loaf from Starbucks? Now you can bake it in your own kitchen!
5. Chuy's Creamy Tomatillo Jalapeno Ranch Dip
6. Tyler Florence's Christmas Dinner Short Ribs with Pear and Celery Salad
It doesn't need to be Christmas to make this amazing recipe. A knock-off of a dish that used to be served at Tyler Florence's Wayfare Tavern, this recipe by food blogger Sandy came about when she decided to recreate the magic at home. She even called the restaurant and the sous chef helped her get it just right, so this recipe is the real deal.
7. Lightened Up Zupas Garden Chowder Soup
This recipe lightens up a favorite chowder at a popular salad and sandwich restaurant in the western U.S. called Café Zupas. Another benefit of cooking restaurant food at home &mdash you can make it healthier!
8. Panera Mac and Cheese
You know you want to order the kids' meal at Panera just to get that creamy mac & cheese. Forget ordering off the kids' menu and just make it at home!
9. Red Hook Lobster Pound's Lobster Roll
According to food blogger Sheri, Red Hook Lobster Pound makes the best lobster roll anywhere. And she figured out how to make it at home. And now you love Sheri.
10. Outback's Honey Wheat Bread
The soft, sweet goodness of the honey wheat bread at Outback Steakhouse is just plain irresistible. Imagine the smell of this bread baking in your kitchen!
11. Krispy Kreme Donuts
What? Homemade Krispy Kreme? YES!
12. Olive Garden Salad Dressing
The best part of the Olive Garden is most definitely, surprisingly the salad. Now that you have the dressing you can just stay home and eat salad to your heart's content!
13. Texas Roadhouse Rolls
These restaurant-worthy rolls are shockingly easy to make.
14. Panera Jalapeño Cilantro Hummus
Another Panera favorite is the jalapeño cilantro hummus, which would be good spread on a sandwich or served as a simple dip.
15. Starbucks Passion Tea Lemonade
Save your pennies and make this delicious, refreshing tea at home.
16. Range's Skillet Cornbread
This skillet cornbread is a copycat recipe from Top Chef Bryan Voltaggio's restaurant Range in Washington, D.C. Plus, it's served with bacon jam. Sold.
17. CPK California Club Pizza
This CPK knock-off pizza is even better than a club sandwich. For reals.
18. Café Rio Sweet Pulled Pork
Café Rio, a Mexican food chain in the western U.S., serves pork barbacoa, which is probably their most popular menu item, and with good reason. This recipe means everyone can enjoy the spicy sweetness at home.
19. Tony Roma's Chocolate Martinis
This version of a chocolate martini from Tony Roma's is nice and rich.
20. McGriddle Breakfast Sandwich
Not only can you make a healthy McGriddle at home, it's paleo, too!
Jane Maynard is a food blogger at This Week for Dinner and Babble, a writer and designer, and a lover of all things chocolate.
25 Best Gluten Free Chain Restaurants in 2019
1. Legal Seafood
Legal Seafood is a wonderful celiac friendly chain restaurant! The waitstaff and managers are all well-trained to handle gluten allergies and celiac disease. The gluten free options are marked right on the menu and if you tell the server you have an allergy, the order gets flagged. The chefs use clean surfaces, new cutting boards and knives, fresh gloves, and separate fryers when preparing gluten free meals. The manager ensures the food is safe before bringing it to the table.
This is a chain restaurant with gluten free options for every palate! They have everything from popcorn shrimp to steamed lobster all prepared safe and gluten free. They also have gluten free rolls. What more could you want?
2. P.F. Chang&rsquos
We all know how difficult it is to find safe gluten free Chinese food. For those days when you&rsquore craving beef and broccoli without the risk of gluten, thank goodness for P.F. Chang&rsquos. P.F. Chang&rsquos is a celiac friendly chain restaurant that has a gluten free menu filled with Asian style favorites! They have a separate kitchen space just for gluten free orders and they bring the dishes out on special plates so you&rsquore sure it&rsquos safe. For take out orders, they label each box with an orange gluten free sticker. P.F. Chang&rsquos has gluten free egg drop soup, chicken lettuce wraps, fried rice, and more!
3. Not Your Average Joe&rsquos
Not Your Average Joe&rsquos is a celiac friendly chain restaurant with an extensive gluten free menu. They have AMAZING gluten free onion rolls that they serve hot out of the oven. Not Your Average Joe&rsquos is super careful with gluten allergies and cross contamination. They have everything from salads to meat dishes to pasta&ndash including a gluten free quesadilla (SO GOOD!) This a great chain restaurant for gluten free with kids too (they have a special gf menu just for the little ones).
4. California Pizza Kitchen
California Pizza Kitchen is an awesome chain restaurant for gluten free options. They have a special celiac friendly menu (make sure you specifically ask for the gluten free menu) that has several pizzas on it, including their famous BBQ chicken pizza. The ingredients for those pizzas are kept and handled in a totally separate area. They are prepared using the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) certified procedures so you know it&rsquos safe. Important note: California Pizza Kitchen also marks items that use gluten free ingredients on their regular menu. These items are NOT safe for those with celiac disease as they are prepared in shared kitchen space. Only the pizzas on the separate gluten free menu are safe from cross contamination (pro tip: if you&rsquore allergic to dairy, order the pizza with no cheese).
5. Bonefish Grill
Bonefish Grill is a celiac friendly chain restaurant that is very careful with all allergies. You can enjoy fresh fish, seafood, and more with their safe gluten free menu. They even have a flourless macadamia nut brownie sundae that is to die for!
Chick-Fil-A is a great gluten free fast food restaurant option! The staff are well-trained in allergies and change their gloves when handling special orders. If you tell them you have celiac disease, they&rsquoll flag your order with a red allergy stamp. You can enjoy grilled nuggets, waffle fries (they have a dedicated fryer), salads, and more. Many locations even have gluten free Udi&rsquos buns kept in separate wrappers for sandwiches.
7. Fogo de Chao
This is one of my favorite chain restaurants for celiac because nearly everything they serve is already gluten free including the bread! Fogo de Chao is an all-you-can-eat brazillian steakhouse with incredible meat, salad, and cheesy portuguese bread! They&rsquore very good with handling gluten allergies&ndash just ask to speak to a manager. The manager will guide you through the process and give you a list of what you can/can&rsquot eat. Only a few items contain gluten, such as the chicken legs (marinated in beer) and sausages, but always check with the manager for the full list. They even have gluten free dessert!
8. Coastal Flats
Coastal Flats is a small chain (Maryland and Virginia) that offers a gluten free menu and safe preparation for allergies. This chain restaurant&rsquos gluten free options include pasta, fresh fish, sandwiches, salads, and more! Hold the fries though&ndash they&rsquore on the gluten free menu, but they&rsquore made in a shared fryer. If you let the server know you have a gluten allergy, he/she will alert the manager who will oversee the preparation of your food. Let them know you&rsquore sensitive to cross contamination and they&rsquoll take it seriously. This is also one of the few chain restaurants with gluten free breakfast options with brunch favorites like steak and eggs!
9. Jersey Mike&rsquos Subs
If you&rsquore craving a sub, Jersey Mike&rsquos is the best for celiacs! They&rsquore one of the most careful with gluten free of any fast food restaurant I&rsquove been to. Jersey Mike&rsquos is a celiac friendly chain restaurant (counter service) that offers philly cheese steaks and much more on Udi&rsquos gluten free bread! If you alert them of your allergy, they&rsquoll clean all the counters and equipment plus change gloves before preparing your order. They&rsquoll also sometimes prepare parts of your order in the back to keep it as safe as possible. The gluten free bread is kept in separate packaging until your food is prepared to ensure minimal cross contamination.
10. Zoe&rsquos Kitchen
Zoe&rsquos Kitchen is a Greek counter service chain restaurant with gluten free options. The food here is safe, healthy, and delicious! Zoe&rsquos Kitchen has amazing salads, kabobs, and more with the gluten free options designated on the menu. If you have a gluten allergy, they will change their gloves and take extra precautions when preparing your food. They even have Whole30 options marked on the menu, if you&rsquore feeling extra healthy!
11. Outback Steakhouse
If you&rsquore craving steak, Outback Steakhouse is an awesome chain restaurant with gluten free options for everyone! They take gluten allergies extremely seriously here by employing registered dieticians to work closely with the chefs and ensuring all the staff are well-trained. Outback Steakhouse has been serving gluten free items for over 10 years, so you know they can handle it! In addition to delicious gluten free steaks, salads, chicken, and seafood, they also have an amazing gluten free dessert called Chocolate Thunder From Down Under (once you get past the name, it&rsquos actually super yummy 😉). If you want a safe celiac friendly chain restaurant experience, look no further than the Outback!
12. Olive Garden
Another awesome gluten free friendly restaurant chain! Olive Garden has a gluten free menu that includes pasta! Ask to speak to a manager and explain that you need the gluten free pasta cooked in fresh, separate water to ensure it&rsquos not cross contaminated. If you tell them you have an allergy, they will work with you to make sure it&rsquos safe. And yes, their famous salad can be safely prepared gluten free without the croutons!
13. Blaze Pizza
This is one of a few safe gluten free pizza chains in the USA. It&rsquos one of those gluten free friendly fast food restaurants where you choose unlimited toppings and they bake the pizza right in front of you. If you tell them you have a gluten allergy, they will change their gloves and use a separate cutter for your pizza. They also put the pizza on a separate baking tray, so it doesn&rsquot come into contact with the oven. While Blaze Pizza does take every precaution necessary and I&rsquove always had a good experience there, if you&rsquore SUPER sensitive please be aware that they do use a shared oven and there is flour on the premises.
14. California Tortilla
This is a great chain restaurant for gluten free. It&rsquos a fast casual Mexican restaurant (similar to Chipotle) with burrito bowls, tacos, salads, and more. If you alert them of your allergy, they will change their gloves and a manager will check your food. Most of the burritos are gluten free if ordered as a burrito bowl and the tacos are gluten free with corn tortillas (they warm the corn tortillas on a separate part of the grill away from the flour ones). Just watch out for the chips&ndash they&rsquore fried in shared oil.
15. Seasons 52
Seasons 52 is one of the best chain restaurants for celiacs. They have a separate gluten free menu and take cross contamination very seriously. Seasons 52 is a nice gluten free sit down restaurant with delicious dishes, such as filet mignon, chilean sea bass, and more! It&rsquos a perfect gluten free friendly restaurant chain for a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary. They change the menu seasonally, so the food is always fresh and you&rsquoll never get bored! They also have separate menus for vegan, dairy free, and other special diets.
16. Five Guys
Five Guys is one of the best fast food chain restaurants for gluten free, if you&rsquore craving a burger. They can put any burger and topping combination into a lettuce wrap or bowl for a bun-free experience. If you tell them you&rsquore allergic to gluten, they will change their gloves and clean the surfaces. Their fries are also safe for celiacs (dedicated fryer) but they are fried in peanut oil, so be aware if you have a nut allergy.
17. Mission BBQ
This is a great gluten free fast food restaurant for BBQ! Gluten free BBQ is really hard to come by with hidden gluten in the sauces (specifically malt vinegar). At Mission BBQ, celiacs can rest easy knowing that all the allergens and ingredients are listed in every sauce. All the meats are gluten free and all of the sauces, except for Texas Twang and Gator Bite (make sure you consult their allergens list for the most up-to-date info). My personal favorite sauces are the Alabama White and the Tupelo Honey. You can check their website beforehand or ask an employee for an allergens list. When you order your food, tell them you have a gluten allergy&ndash they&rsquoll will change their gloves and leave the cornbread off your plate.
18. Mellow Mushroom
Another delicious gluten free chain pizza restaurant. Unlike Blaze (#13) and Pieology (#21), this is a sit down gluten free friendly chain restaurant, so it&rsquos great for birthdays, weekends, or a night out with the kids. Mellow Mushroom is the safest gluten free pizza chain for celiacs because they have a dedicated kitchen space, utensils, and bins that only gluten free toppings are used for. They even have vegan cheese for those who are dairy free!
19. The Melting Pot
The Melting Pot is a celiac friendly chain restaurant that serves fondue! They offer a delicious 4 course menu that includes cheese fondue, salad, an entree where you cook meat and veggies right in the fondue pot, and of course CHOCOLATE fondue to end the meal. If you tell your waiter about your allergy, they will work with the kitchen and management to ensure your food is safe from cross contamination. They&rsquore very accomodating and remove ingredients like beer and worcestershire sauce where necessary to ensure your food is gluten free. The Melting Pot is a great option for a special night out!
20. Red Robin
Red Robin is a super celiac friendly chain restaurant for burgers, sandwiches, and more. They take gluten allergies and cross contamination very seriously here. If you order a gluten free meal, the manager will bring out your food in a yellow &ldquoallergen&rdquo basket instead of a red &ldquoregular&rdquo basket. They even offer gluten free buns!
Pieology is a gluten free fast food restaurant similar to Blaze Pizza. They offer gluten free pizza dough with unlimited toppings and bake it right in front of you. Like Blaze, Pieology takes every precaution they can (changing gloves, separate baking tray, separate cutter), but it&rsquos still a shared kitchen space with the presence of flour. The gluten free dough here is delicious&ndash chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside. YUM!
22. Smash Burger
Another celiac friendly chain restaurant (counter service) similar to Five Guys, but with a more extensive menu. They have everything here from truffle mayonnaise (fancy!) to fried brussels sprouts (cooked in a dedicated fryer!) If you tell them you have a gluten allergy, they&rsquoll flag your order and take the proper precautions of cleaning the surfaces and changing gloves. They do have a dedicated fryer, so fried food should be safe here, but always check with the individual location to be sure.
23. Pei Wei
Pei Wei is a celiac friendly chain restaurant (counter service) that is run by P.F. Chang&rsquos. The gluten free menu and procedures for handling allergies are similar to P.F. Chang&rsquos, but the food is cheaper and faster! A great gluten free fast food restaurant option when you&rsquore in a hurry!
Wildfire is a small chain with locations in Illinois, Minnesota, and Virginia. If you&rsquore lucky enough to be in a state that has Wildfire, you can enjoy safe gluten free steak, pizza, salad, fish, and more! They have an extensive gluten free menu and are committed to preparing the dishes safely. All the staff are well-trained in handling allergies. The gluten free dishes come out with wooden allergy sticks, so you know they&rsquore safe. You can rest easy at this delicious celiac friendly chain restaurant&ndash it&rsquos all taken care of! Plus, there&rsquos a delicious gluten free bread basket at the start of the meal!
Believe it or not, Benihana is an awesome gluten free friendly restaurant chain. They have a gluten free menu (you can check it out on their website) and a system for handling allergies. If you tell them you have a gluten allergy, they&rsquoll prepare your food in the back (not as much fun as seeing it on the hibachi grill, but MUCH safer). They&rsquoll also give you miso soup instead of the regular onion soup, which contains gluten. You can still enjoy the hibachi show and watch everyone else&rsquos food get cooked knowing that your food is being safely handled in the kitchen. They even have gluten free soy sauce! Benihana is the most celiac friendly chain restaurant for hibachi hands down.
I hope you found some new gluten free friendly chain restaurants for your next meal out! While eating out at any restaurant that handles gluten can be a risk for celiacs, these restaurants do the best they can to ensure you&rsquoll have a safe and delicious experience. Just remember to always speak to your waiter and/or a manager about your individual needs, so they can accomodate you. Never assume anything is safe without speaking to someone at the restaurant.
This list of 25 celiac friendly chain restaurants takes the guesswork out of eating out, so you can enjoy your meal worry-free knowing you&rsquore being taken care of. I know first hand that when you have a serious allergy knowing you&rsquore safe is the BEST feeling! Hope you enjoy and that these celiac friendly chain restaurants help you dine out with more confidence!
Have you eaten at one of these celiac friendly chain restaurants recently? What was your experience like? Share with us in the comments below and help me keep this post up-to-date! Whether your experience was good or bad, I want to know about it so we can help keep others safe! Thanks for your help!
Bonus: 5 Secrets to Staying 100% Gluten Free at Restaurants
If you have a serious gluten allergy, staying 100% gluten free at restaurants can be a challenge. Even the slightest bit of cross contamination can make you sick. In a world full of gluten, is it really possible to stay 100% gluten free at restaurants? With the right tips, it&rsquos definitely possible!
That&rsquos why I&rsquom offering a FREE bonus PDF with the 5 Secrets to Staying 100% Gluten Free at Restaurants. It will teach you 5 little-known techniques for ensuring your meal in 100% gluten free every single time. Grab your free PDF download of the 5 Secrets to Staying 100% Gluten Free at Restaurants by signing up for my email newsletter below. As a bonus, you&rsquoll also receive instant access to my free wellness library filled with tons of helpful gluten free resources!
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Pin for later! 😃
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