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When it comes to dining at chain restaurants, you pretty much know what you’re going to get. For this reason, there’s not much of a reason to read Yelp reviews of major chain restaurants — but people still feel compelled to write them. We tracked down some of the most hilarious ones written about America’s biggest sit-down chains.
The Funniest Yelp Reviews of Chain Restaurants (Slideshow)
If you’ve spent any time reading Yelp reviews (and who hasn’t?), you’ll probably have noticed that there are four main types of Yelp review: the positive review, the average review, the bad review, and the nonsense review. The first three are pretty self-explanatory, but the nonsense review is in a league of its own. These are usually written to entertain the reader instead of actually providing any valuable information, and while most don’t actually succeed at amusing anyone except for the writer, some are downright hilarious.
There’s something about chain restaurants that inspires more nonsense Yelp reviews than any other type of restaurant. Maybe this is because the whole concept of chain restaurants is inherently slightly silly, as these companies are constantly trying to one-up one another with increasingly desperate tactics. At the same time, chains are becoming more and more streamlined and polished, making each visit essentially the same experience as you would find in any chain restaurant anywhere. Also, most people would agree that while most chain restaurant meals are perfectly acceptable, very few of them are legitimately great, which also leaves the door open for comedy.
So read on for a lighter look at the world of chain restaurants from some seriously funny people. They may not be exactly helpful in describing the finer points of cuisine and service, but they’re certainly worth a read for other, more comical reasons.
“If you're a vegetarian, there are just some places you shouldn't go to. Sausage factory. Pig roast. Republican National Convention. And Applebee's.
I've been in Applebeeses before, but they at least tried to have something vaguely edible on the menu, this one had the craziest foods: Caribbean pasta, Thai noodles, WHAT? I ordered a soup and salad and then had to send it back because the salad had BACON on it. IS NOTHING SACRED? It wasn't even a *hint* of bacon, the bacon had solidly proliferated the salad.
Unless you're going for cocktails and appetizers, don't try to actually eat anything at this Applebee's. Try Chuck E. Cheese upstairs. They may have a cheese pizza option for vegetarians. They just might.” — Meghan Sara K, Brooklyn
“Oh hell no. This place is a disaster. We came for happy hour but then decided to sit at a table, which was probably the worst idea of my life. Our appetizer came out AFTER the food, and it wasn't even right. Then, in the middle of my already unclassy meal, I witnessed a drug deal right behind me. I love Inglewood.” — Kalin M., Los Angeles
The Most Popular Fast-Food Chain in Every State, According to Yelp
Courtesy of Chick-fil-A
Fast food has become a staple in American culture, but what truly tops in your state? We reached out to our friends at Yelp to find out what the most popular fast-food chain in every state is.
Methodology: This is a list of the best fast-food spots in every state in the U.S., according to Yelp. All the businesses on this list are in the "Fast Food" category on Yelp. "Best" is measured using an algorithm that looks at the number of reviews and star ratings for a business. Only businesses with more than one location were considered.
You'll notice some chains, like Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza and Chick-fil-A, ranked highly in a number of states. Some things transcend state lines, and Americans' love for these pizza and chicken chains is one of them.
50 states: 50 best restaurants on Yelp
We asked Yelp how to find the best restaurant in each state (and Washington, D.C.) and the platform used an algorithm combining users' ratings and reviews (and excluding chains) to give us these standout eateries. The leader in your state may surprise you or simply reveal what's commonly reviewed on the platform — like the five sushi spots that made the list. Perhaps unsurprisingly, South Carolina's top restaurant serves southern fare, Tennessee's top spot is a newer and nationally known eatery in Nashville, and Wyoming's winner is a well known wine bar in Jackson. Though one may not have guessed that Kansas' best restaurant is a sushi bar, Georgia's standout is a vegan restaurant, and Minnesota's top spot is Vietnamese — all the more reason to check them out. Interestingly, New Hampshire's standout eatery is an actual farm (with more than 20 pancake flavors) and the best eatery in the nation's capital is Ethiopian (though locals know that secret).
Browse the gallery above for Yelp users' top recommendation in each state — it might inspire a new trip.
This double-patty burger is a meat lover's delight. The Schwietz burger features an "Angus patty, sausage patty, Swiss, onion, kraut, ale mustard, [and a] pretzel bun," according to the Brunson's menu.
Amjad MJ S/Yelp
The menu at Stamps Superburger is simple, but that's not a bad thing. The joint knows how to do burgers well, as fans will see from the restaurant's Yelp reviews. The super cheeseburger features a standard set of burger toppings to accompany a whopping 14-ounce patty.
“Delicious food priced fairly. One star.”
The next morning, Cerretini pulled into his parking lot and was greeted by an “avalanche” of journalists, fellow restaurant owners, and supporters. They all wanted to know the same thing: How did it feel to just… not care about reviews?
That Friday, Cerretini did more business than he typically did in an entire month.
“I had to ask the restaurant community for help, extra pizza dough,” he laughs. “It was an absolute madhouse. I’d never seen anything like it.”
Most supporters refused to take the discount, but were thrilled to write a review and partake in what they deemed to be a grassroots, anti-Yelp uprising.
In a few days’ time, Botto Bistro’s Yelp page attracted more than 2,300 1-star ratings (95% of its total reviews) extolling the good food, proper service, and rustic ambiance. “Botto Bistro sucks,” wrote one reviewer. “Delicious food priced fairly. One star.”
This earned the restaurant the distinction of being the worst-rated restaurant on Yelp.
Botto Bistro attracted more than 2,300 1-star reviews (Botto Bistro Yelp page, via Wayback Machine)
“I got thousands and thousands of letters, thousands of emails a day,” says Cerretini. “People were sending me boxes of chocolates, cash, checks. Business owners from all over the country stopped by to thank me and write a bad review.”
Yelp was none too pleased about Cerretini’s newfound fame.
The chef soon received a threatening email from a member of Yelp support, claiming he was exchanging reviews for “incentives” (a discount on pizza) — a clear violation of the platform’s Terms of Service.
Cerretini replied with mocking language, then posted both emails publically on social media, further stoking his followers’ Yelp hatred.
Emails between Yelp and Cerretini, edited for brevity (via Davide Cerretini)
As the press continued, Cerretini positioned himself as an anti-Yelp spokesman.
“It wasn’t about the discount, or the pizza, or even the reviews,” he says. “It was about the general public saying enough is enough. They no longer wanted to be surrounded by Yelpers’ bullshit.”
The best takeout restaurant in every state, according to Yelp
During these trying times, it's more important than ever to support as many local restaurants and businesses as possible.
According to a report by Business Insider, restaurants are among the hardest-hit industries amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. According to the National Restaurant Association, 30,000 restaurants have already closed, and roughly 110,000 restaurants nationwide are expected to close permanently in the next month.
Some businesses, however, are still able to serve customers by offering takeout. Business Insider consulted Yelp to determine the highest-rated restaurants and food spots offering takeout in each state.
Yelp identified businesses in the restaurant category then ranked those spots using a number of factors, including the total volume and ratings of reviews between January 1, 2019, and March 27, 2020. When available, all businesses on this list had a passing health score or a score greater than a B/80.
Yelp also put together its own collections of restaurants offering takeout and/or delivery across 40 states and 100 metro areas, so there are plenty more restaurants to support.
Cuisines on this list range from pizza to sandwiches, Thai food to sushi, but all were lauded as nothing less than amazing by customers. Here are the best takeout places in every state.
Business hours, as well as takeout and delivery availability, may be affected by the ongoing development of COVID-19 advisories. Before visiting or placing a takeout or delivery order, please contact the business directly for updated hours and availability.
10 of the best keto meal options at popular chain restaurants
Life on the keto diet can be challenging as you carefully track macronutrients (carbs, protein, and fat) to turn your body into a fat-burning machine. But eating out isn’t something you have to completely eliminate.
What follows is a list of keto-friendly meals at popular chain restaurants, vetted by Jonathan Valdez, registered dietitian and media spokesperson for the New York State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and Pegah Jalali, MS, CDN, and registered dietitian at Middleberg Nutrition.
Jalali told Business Insider that keto, a high-fat, low-carb, and moderate protein diet, is not for everyone.
"If someone is pursuing keto, they should work with a healthcare professional who understands the diet and can help keep patients safe and thriving," Jalali said. "Keto has many side effects, and if patients want to do it long-term, they need to be closely monitored."
Though the following chain restaurant meals tick the boxes when looking at carbohydrate, fat, and protein content (the recommended ratios of which will differ from person to person), it's also important to note that it's probably best to limit how often you're consuming these items.
"Food quality is really important, especially on keto when the diet is so high in fat as some fats can be very inflammatory," Jalali said. "Restaurant foods tend to be overly processed, not good quality, and high in preservatives which can increase the sodium load."
That said, here are 10 of the best keto meal options at chain restaurants.
Here’s How to Structure a Memorable Restaurant Review
1 Set the Stage
Let readers know immediately that the review contains useful information and is worth reading. Open the review with an enticing line that promises an interesting payoff (whether delicious or dreadful).
Next, share some context. Why did you decide to try this particular restaurant? What time of day did you go? What size was your party? How did the waitstaff treat you? What was the ambiance like?
I wandered in with two friends on a Friday night, and was immediately greeted by the friendly staff and incredible aroma of baking pizza. The restaurant was filling up quickly (it was almost 7:00 pm) but we managed to snag a table.
2 Deliver the Main Course
How was the food? If a dish was “great,” be sure to describe why. What were the flavors, textures, and appearance like? Carefully select a few punchy adjectives for your descriptions—too few will leave your writing bland, too many will bog it down.
The garlic knots were little bombs of buttery, yeasty goodness, and the garlic was robust but not overpowering. When our pizzas arrived, our expectations continued to be exceeded.
The crust was crisp, flavorful, and chewy. The toppings worked together beautifully. The marinara and pesto were packed with flavor, and the mozarella had a great consistency and very little oil. By the end of the meal we were planning our next visit.
3 Wrap Up the Takeaway
End with a punchy summary of why you think other diners should (or shouldn’t) visit the restaurant.
KFC's fried chicken is rolled in a secret blend of herbs and spices.
The Louisville-based chain began cooking crispy fried chicken over 70 years ago. Now, the Kentucky company has expanded to over 21,000 locations in 130 countries. KFC's slogan is "Finger Lickin' Good!" and many people seem to agree.
The fried chicken is rolled in a secret blend of herbs and spices and then pressure cooked for a better taste. Popular items include the extra crispy chicken bucket, popcorn chicken, and the crispy colonel sandwich. The president of KFC's US business told Business Insider that the chain plans to innovate its menu in 2019 to include options such as chicken and waffles and Cinnabon biscuits.