T.G.I. Friday's cooks up new menu items: It's all about the details

Categories: Jenn in Chains

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I used to work at T.G.I. Friday's -- I was young, I needed the money -- and when customers would ask me what they should order, I unfailingly advised them to stick to appetizers and cocktails: no mussy, no fussy, and no details for me to screw up.

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J. Wohletz
Curious to see how T.G.I.F would handle mussy-and-fussy-sounding new menu items like Corned Beef Sliders, Warm Pretzels with Craft Beer-Cheese Dipping Sauce, Korean Steak Tacos, Caribbean Rum Spiced Ribs and Salted Caramel Cake, I decided to pay a call on "ol' stripes."

I stopped in at the Thornton location shortly after 2 p.m., the slow time between lunch and dinner rushes. Only a handful of tables were occupied, and the place was about as peaceful as T.G.I.F can be, given the inexplicably loud '90s dance-party hits blaring from the sound system. I hadn't heard that "blue deeb-a-doober" song in a while, so, bonus.

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J. Wohletz
T.G.I.F servers are still insane perky. They are supposed to be all shoot-from-the-hip conversational and upbeat, and mine was, indeed. I remember the various legal/illegal substances I used to use to keep up the bouncy, and was glad my liver and kidneys survived my tenure as a Friday's employee. (It's debatable whether or not my brain survived it.)

T.G.I.F has always had an ample and relatively great selection of starters: The wings, potato skins and potstickers are undeniably amazing bar food. I scanned the menu for appetizers that were actually new -- not recycled from ingredients on hand -- and decided on the Corned Beef Sliders and the Warm Pretzels with Craft Beer-Cheese Dipping Sauce. (I skipped the Langostino Lobster & Shrimp Mac 'n' Cheese, because last I knew, T.G.I.F used Stouffer's macaroni and cheese, and although that may have changed, I didn't want to pay $8.99 to find out.) I noticed that T.G.I.F no longer offers a soup/salad with entrees: It's a $2.69 up-charge now. But I skipped that option when I ordered the Korean Tacos and Caribbean Rum Spiced Ribs; the dishes both had their own sides.

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J. Wohletz
The starters came quickly, and the sliders were above average, even by T.G.I.F's standards. The warm pretzel bun was all the good sort of chewy, the beef was fall-apart tender, the caramelized onions and melted Swiss cheese were in the right amounts to be complementary but not overly sloppy, and while I hadn't been wild about the combination of mayonnaise and mustard -- "mayostard" -- when I saw it on the menu, it worked.

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J. Wohletz
The breadsticks and beer-cheese dip were a fabricated sort of delicious: The bread looked and tasted par-baked (it comes into the restaurant already partially baked and is finished on site), and the bacony sauce not only had a distinguishable pre-prepared quality, but was so salty that it made the grains of pretzel salt on the breadsticks seem even more overwhelming than intended. Pick one, people: Over-salt the dip or the bread, but not both -- unless, of course, the goal is to get customers to cleanse their palates with massive amounts of beer.


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8 comments
Amber Taufen
Amber Taufen

Jenn, how sad is it that I could actually identify the "blue deeb-a-doober" song just from that phrase combined with "'90s dance-party hits"?

Steveo65
Steveo65

I agree about In-N-Out, but part of what makes it so special (for me) is that I only get to have it on my annual Vegas trip. My wife loves Jack in the Box but will only eat it in S.California, where she went to college. Location is part of the allure, I guess.

steveville
steveville

According to the Denver Post, a Southern Hospitality BBQ restaurant will be opening later this year in a place by Union Station.  Even though it's a smaill chain out of New York City, I'm more than willing to give it a try.

Guest
Guest

So, isn't In and Out exploring opening in Denver? Jenn, please find out as that's the kind of chain info that I'd actually find useful. 

steveville
steveville

I agree with your wife.  I only go to the Jack in the Box in southern California. I also had forgotten about In-N-Out in Las Vegas.  I've been to the one by the Palace Station several times.

Real Estate Guy
Real Estate Guy

They signed a lease in the St. Elmo building at 17th & Blake. What do you think about that location?

In & Out will eventually come here.  They are working on distribution and expanding further into Utah right now.  I'd say give them 2 more years.

steveville
steveville

I'm all for In-N-Out opening here.  The only time I get to the In-N-Out is when I travel to San Diego (two or three times a year).  I make a pig out of myself there.

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