Five chain restaurants that should be locked up in chains
Denny's "Baconalia" is back, completely and utterly ruining one of my favorite foods, and again offering a hideous reminder of all the chain restaurant meals I wish I'd never eaten. There are plenty of decent, good and even great restaurant chains that serve up above-average food for reasonable prices, and I'm grateful for them. But there are also too many deplorable crap-shacks that dish out things that should never be served to humans.
Ewwww! Not again!
There are some meals even bacon can't help. Here are five chain restaurants I avoid at all costs.
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5. Carl's Jr
What a Carl's Jr. burger really looks like...
I have tried to like Carl's Jr. over the years, wooed by its clever advertising and the promises of gargantuan, cheap, delicious hamburgers slathered with guacamole and crowned with bacon. But when you actually get a hamburger there, the beef patties are flavorless and dripping with salty grease, the lettuce wilted, the tomato slices tough and edged with green, the uneven bacon hunks chilly and plastered to the half-melted cheese, and the buns unevenly toasted with crunchy outsides and doughy middles. While the shakes are actually tasty, there is less shake than you think if you scoop off the gobbets of wilty whipped cream. The fries are stubby and undersalted, and the one time I ordered something off the menu that wasn't a burger I got the nastiest strips of breaded fish I've ever seen -- or smelled. Carl's now has a new, charbroiled Atlantic cod fish sandwich that looks plump, moist and well-garnished -- but I figure if the place can cock up pre-made, freezer-to-fryer fish sticks, it can do a lot of damage to a fish filet.
4. Church's Chicken
If this is the best part of fried chicken -- something is really wrong.
I have never understood why some people are devoted to Church's Chicken and go out of their way to eat there, when there are far better fried chicken joints -- like, all of them. Church's is a lazy chain that doesn't do anything particularly well. The original-style fried chicken is bland, the signature spicy chicken not spicy at all, and those house honey butter biscuits taste like they're made with straight-up sweetened margarine. I have asked fans of Church's why they like eating there so much, and every time they answer with this: They give you peppers.
Yes, you get a couple of whole pickled jalapeno peppers with every chicken order, and yes, you can give those peppers a hearty fist-squeeze to produce droplets of pepper juice that might give the chicken actual flavor -- but why should you have to do the work? I have heard tell that Church's has a strawberry shortcake dessert that's not bad, but I'm leery of any fried chicken restaurant that can't even get fried chicken right.
3. Domino's Pizza
A better pizza than one from Domino's.
Domino's made a big deal about changing its crust recipe a while back, and I temporarily -- and insanely -- gave the chain another chance to earn my attention, as well as my $20. And to my complete lack of surprise, the new crust wasn't much better -- or much different -- from the old crust recipe. Domino's has always been my extremely-starving-desperate-last-choice for ordering a delivery pie; even a Little Caesar's cardboard-crusted and heat lamp-lashed creation is superior to any pie I've ever eaten from Domino's. My super peeve is the cheese Domino's uses: It's stringy and gluey when hot, wonky and mushy when cold. The sandwiches are so disgusting they ought to be used for torturing Guantanamo prisoners, and the delivery personnel are jerks. I usually don't hold it against them, though, because I'd be a f*ck salad with ranch if I had to go home every shift reeking of bad cheese and failure.