Best Family Dining Restaurants
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CHILI'S GRILL & BAR
The burger we sampled was satisfactory and accompanied by a relatively small portion flavorful fries. The chicken was lackluster and the broccoli underdone. The house salad included bacon. In online reviews, consumers tend to judge the food mediocre.
Meats and broccoli were cooked just right. Fries were well-seasoned and mashed potatoes were creamy. The house salad was unremarkable. A Foursquare check-in special yielded a heaping portion of fresh chips and salsa. Hundreds of customers have posted positive reviews.
Burger was juicy and chicken was topped with savory barbecue sauce but came with only one side. House salad was extremely fresh and crisp. Unlimited warm bread rounded out the meal. Consumers posting reviews appear to find the restaurant a good value, despite the relatively small portion sizes.
Burger was satisfying and came with snap peas in addition to the customary fries. However, chicken was fatty, almost undercooked, and generally unappetizing. Fresh house salad was the size of an entree salad at most places. Negative comments from customers outnumber positive reviews online.
Both entrees we ordered appeared no better than we could have made at home. The only notable side was the tasty mashed potatoes. Customers posting reviews online generally appear unimpressed.
The food we tried was fresh, delicious, and cooked to order. Chili's comes in a close second to Outback on taste but serves larger portions at lower prices.
Weight Watchers meals and dishes marked on the menu as having fewer than 550 calories.
Guiltless Grill items with fewer than 750 calories, 25 grams of fat, and 8 grams of saturated fat.
Some entrees can be prepared "light."
Fit and Trim options with fewer than 700 calories.
Right Portion Right Price items with fewer than 750 calories.
The restaurant's unique partnership with Weight Watchers makes it easy for anyone watching their weight to eat out.
Allergen information available online lists menu items prepared without soy, egg, dairy, peanut, shellfish, tree nut, wheat, fish, or gluten.
Allergen menu available online identifies choices for customers with egg, fish, milk, peanut, shellfish, soy, tree nut, and wheat/gluten allergies. Vegetarian suggestions are also provided.
Gluten-free menu available online.
Allergen information available online identifies menu options for people with egg, fish, gluten/wheat, milk, MSG, peanut/tree nut, shellfish, and soy sensitivity or allergies.
Guests can request gluten-free and other allergen menus at participating locations.
Applebee's, Chili's, Ruby Tuesday
All three provide thorough allergen menus online.
$3.49 for choice of two options with a side and a drink, the lowest price of any restaurant on our list.
$4.59 for choice of 11 entrees, 11 sides, and a drink, including several options that meet the requirements of the National Restaurant Association's Kids LiveWell initiative.
$4.99 for choice of five meals with a side and a drink (others are more expensive). Two options meet the Kids LiveWell requirements.
$3.99 for choice of four menu options with a side. Beverages cost $1.19 extra.
$3.99 for choice of three entrees with a side and a drink.
Chili's serves the widest selection and most healthful options for a competitive price.
Pick 'N Pair offers choice of two soup, salad, sandwich, or pasta options for $6.99.
Build your own combo of soup or salad and sandwich or other selected entree for $6 to $8.
Open for lunch only on Saturdays with the same menu.
Condensed menu with salad combinations, petite lunch plates, and burgers for $6.99 to $9.99.
Soup/salad/sandwich combos for $6.99 to $7.59. Other menu items range from $6.99 to $13.49.
Chili's offers the cheapest combo choices.
With Carside To Go, order by phone from the full menu (except no half-off appetizers during happy hour) and have food brought out to a designated parking spot.
With Chili's To Go, place an order online or by phone from the full menu and go into the restaurant to pick it up. Delivery is available through Cafe Courier in Ohio, Idaho, and Montana (for an additional charge).
With Curbside Take-Away Online Ordering, order online from the full menu and have food brought to your car.
With Ruby Tue Go, place an order by phone from the full menu and pick it up at the restaurant.
With TGI Friday's To Go, order by phone from the full menu and pick up food at a separate entrance.
Outback is the most convenient, taking orders online or by phone and bringing food out to customers' cars.
Two entrees and one appetizer for $20.
Two margaritas, one appetizer, two entrees, and one dessert for $35; free chips and salsa with Foursquare check-in.
Three courses (starter, entree, and dessert) for $16.99; three courses for $12.99 (different entrees); or two courses for $10.99. Give Me More Stripes program offers one point for every $1 spent, redeemable for food or money off.
TGI Friday's offers the most discounts and no other restaurant on our list has a rewards program. It's free to sign up and members receive perks even before they earn any points.
Drink Prices/Happy Hour
Mixed and frozen drinks $6 to $8 or $3 to $4 during happy hour (3 to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday).
$3 well drinks, $3.99 margaritas (regularly $5), and $2.25 small domestic drafts during happy hour (3 to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday).
House margarita $3.95 or $11 for a pitcher; domestic draft beer $2. Drink of the day specials include Frozen Friday, when all frozen drinks are $4 instead of $5 to $6.
$5 premium cocktails (no happy hour).
Regular prices range from $5 to $8; $4 for drink of the day during happy hour.
Outback offers the cheapest margaritas, the option of ordering pitchers, and money-saving drink-of-the-day deals, none of which are confined to a happy hour.