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Posts Tagged ‘Fast Casual Dining’

Chilis Grill & Bar Review, Markham St, Little Rock, AR

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Chilis Grill & Bar ReviewI rarely visit establishments in this segment – fast casual chains.  Just not my thing. However, I’ll go, if I’m invited and somebody is insistent.

In this case, when I asked the inviter why she chose this restaurant, she said “for the irony.”  I get it.  You probably don’t.

Anyway, this is a “new” location for Chili’s, in that they moved a bit west from a location they had occupied for decades. So in that regard, it isn’t “brand new,” personnel should be used to the menu, systems, customer service and such.

It’s too loud. If one of the restaurants goals is to get people to linger at the bar, they ain’t gonna, if they can’t carry on a conversation. It’s quite an extensive menu, offering appetizers, salads, sandwiches, burgers, entrees and some Tex-Mex.  I’m gonna go out on a limb here and suggest these types of restaurants, with this many items offered, aren’t cooking from scratch in-house.  Lots of ‘heat and eat’ going on, especially in the entree department.

There were three of us, we skipped the appetizers, tried some of their fancy pants cocktails (meh), and ordered.  One sandwich, one spicy burger, and my entree choice.

Fifteen minutes and a “manager” shows up and tells me they are out of my entree, but will get some in the following morning.  I offer to wait, but she doesn’t get it.  I’m forced to make a decision for a substitute within seconds.  I screw up and order a burger. (Incidentally, this is one of those places that doesn’t trust your judgment to order a burger at the doneness level you prefer).

Few minutes go by, the rest of the tables food arrives.  Not mine.  Tick tock tick tock.  Fifteen minutes.  Just a burger and fries, nothing special except the cost – 2-3x fast food. Fries have seasoned salt on them, which I don’t care for generally.  Cheese and bun were both cold. Not “not warmed,” but cold.  With the order confusion, I think they should have knocked something off the check. Nope.

They’ve joined the technology age in they have the tablets at the table where you can order, pay, or play games (for a fee).  The tablet completely freaked out trying to pay the bill. Saw this same unit (“Ziosk”) at another chain recently, also not working.

Despite this automation upgrade, four different servers called at our table, not out of a quest for excellent service, but rather out of confusion.

The entire experience reminded me of why I don’t like fast casual.  Also a segment which millenials are abandoning in droves, I’ve read. Expect some to fold.

Chilis Grill & Bar Review

 

 

 

Chili's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chilis Grill & Bar Review
Chilis Grill & Bar Review

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IHOP – Bacon ‘N Beef ™ Burgers

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Bacon & Beef Burger

I rarely get to chain restaurants, especially for burgers. But Mrs. Burgerdogboy and I were out and about last nite, and feeling a little peckish late in the afternoon. By coincidence, I had grabbed the mail as we left the house, and in it was the local coupon flyer, which had a BOGO coupon for IHOP. Why not? Though lately I have really tried to cut down on carbs, the notion of a “Rooty Tooty Fresh N Fruity” sounded kind of good.

Once inside, it was the Mrs that went for the flapjacks, a special they were running on some apple and cinnamon concoction, served with bacon and eggs, and I tried out IHOP’s new attempt to set themselves apart in the the burger world, the “Bacon ‘N Beef” ™ burger.

For you bacon (or burger lovers) – this new variation includes bits of bacon mixed right into the ground beef, even before you add your choice of toppings? More bacon? Sure.

Here’s what the IHOP menu has to say about the entree: “Hickory-smoked bacon is blended right into the beef to make our burgers juicy and delicious with bacon flavor in every bite. Served with your choice of seasoned fries, onion rings, fresh fruit, soup or salad and a dill pickle spear.”

Props to IHOP for sure for giving one all those different side choices without the usual “for….add $1.50.” And with fruit or salad, it also gives a diner the choice of trying to have a somewhat healthier meal, casue these burgers top both the calorie and sodium charts.

Burgers are served with tomato, lettuce, and a thick slice of purple onion. Pourable-type condiments will be brought to the table upon request.

Bit-by-bit description: The kosher pickle spear was great. I chose the rings as my side, because I had not consumed any for some time. They are ample in size, and quantity, thick-sliced, and the coating is smooth in appearance, and crunchy in texture. I would venture a guess that they are made on location.

The burger comes on a toasted soft bakery roll, and I liked the bun. The patty is good-sized and appeared to be hand-formed, but I couldn’t swear to that. I finished my personal prep and cut the sandwich in half, in order to take a glance at the embedded bacon.

I couldn’t really see any. Nor was I able to taste any discernable bacon or smoky flavor. The added pork sure gives the patty a juicier texture and flavor overall, tho.

Going with the bacon and cheese option, two strips adorned the top of the melted cheese, were ample in size, and had good flavor.

Would I return to have another? Unlikely, but not because I found anything unappealing about the experience. It is certainly a better effort than any of the chain’s fast-casual competitors, and even better (to me) than burger-specific competitors, say, like Fuddruckers or Red Robin. And it’s relatively inexpensive, as well.

With our BOGO coupon, we consumed the following: burger, onion rings, coffee; bacon, eggs, hashbrowns, and pancakes, cola. For less than $12.

If you regularly frequent fast-casual dining establishments, IHOP’s Bacon N Beef Burger is about as good as you are going to do; add the fact that many locations are open 24/7, and a true burger hound will be happy with the experience.

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