Applebee's

good

Applebee's boasts the cheapest prices overall and half off alcoholic beverages during happy hour. Frugal dieters post glowing reviews of the Weight Watchers menu, saying the restaurant makes it easy to dine out. We found other menu items decent, albeit somewhat lacking in flavor.

Applebee's reviews on TripAdvisor compliment the food, saying the lunch portions are just right and the kids menu appealing. One diner who posted a restaurant review remarked that the chain is a family favorite because the menu has something for everyone. On Epinions, reviewers deem the food decent and the atmosphere casual and comfortable. Dieters laud the menu items developed in partnership with Weight Watchers in reviews on Viewpoints. Having the number of points each meal is worth listed right on the menu makes it easier for adherents to stick to the program when they dine out. Applebee's also caters to customers watching their waistlines with its Resolve menu options under 550 calories.

Applebee's serves the cheapest meal for a family of four, charging $36.74 (without tax and tip) for a cheeseburger and fries, Margherita Chicken with broccoli and mashed potatoes, an entree salad, a kids meal, a side salad, and a fountain drink. Our researcher tasted the cheeseburger and the chicken, as well as a house salad, and found the food generally decent but lackluster. The broccoli seemed very undercooked but was easily the most healthful side she sampled, with just 35 calories and zero grams of fat. The fries were on the skimpy side, but other than that, she had no complaints about portion size.

The $6.99 Pick 'N Pair lunch combo lets customers choose two options from a list of soups, salads, sandwiches, and pastas. Mixed and frozen drinks are half off during happy hour from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, selling for $3 to $4 instead of the usual $6 to $8. Customers with food allergies can find information online that lists menu items without soy, egg, dairy, peanut, shellfish, tree nut, wheat, fish, or gluten. They can also request an allergen menu at the restaurant.

Applebee's is a reliable choice for a relatively cheap, healthful restaurant meal. Reviewers aren't blown away by the food but find it decent, and the happy hour drink prices are a definite plus. The Weight Watchers partnership is this chain's unique selling point.

Raechel Conover

Raechel Conover is a freelance writer whose work has appeared on Yahoo, blogs, and other websites. She's a self-confessed shopaholic and frugal mom, always scouring the sale and clearance racks for deals and taking full advantage of free community activities and events with her husband and young sons.

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