Consumer Reports: best and worst restaurant chains

Consumer Reports says Americans spend about $1.7 billion each year eating out. The magazine surveyed more than 47,000 readers who ate a total of 110,517 meals at102 different chain restaurants and ranked them on taste, value, service, and mood. Here are the restaurants that rated at the top--and bottom.   



    Best: Elmer's  Style: diner Where: 25 locations in the Northwest  Won points because: pancakes and comfort food.


    Best: Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano  Style: Italian   Where: 23 locations in 12 mostly Midwestern states  Won points because: focuses on big portions and personal attention.
    Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano


    Best: Black Angus Steakhouse  Style: steakhouse  Where: 45 locations in California, Washington, Arizona, Alaska, New Mexico and Hawaii  Won points because: flame-grilled steaks with an “over-the-campfire flavor."
    Black Angus Steakhouse


    Worst: Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar   Style: sports bar  Where: Over 600 locations through out the U.S.  Lost points because: low value for money and too noisy 
    Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar


    Best: Bob Evans  Style: diner Where: almost 600 locations in 18 states  Won points because: breakfast and homey fare
    Bob Evans


    Worst: Waffle House  Style: breakfast place  Where:1600 locations in 25 states, many in the South  Lost points because: cleanliness and the mood


    Best: Fatz Eatz & Drinkz  Style: sandwich place Where: 48 restaurants in the Southeast  Won points because: grilled and fried sandwiches, entrées, and finger foods
    Fatz Eatz & Drinkz


    Best: First Watch  Style: breakfast place  Where: about 100 restaurants in 13 states  Won points because: eggs, pancakes, and sandwiches.
    First Watch


    Worst: Friendly's  Style: lunch and ice cream place  Where: throughout U.S.  Lost points because: cleanliness, mood, lackluster service


    Best: J. Alexander's  Style: upscale American  Where: 33 locations in 13 states  Won points because: American classics, sandwiches, salads, and specialties such as grilled fish with mango papaya salsa.
    J. Alexander's


    Best: Le Peep  Style: diner  Where: 60 locations in 14 states  Won points because: eggs, crepes, and salads
    Le Peep


    Best: Bravo Cucina Italiana  Style: Italian  Where: 47 restaurants in 20 states  Won points because: “upscale affordable dining” in a “Roman ruin” décor.
    Bravo Cucina Italiana
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