Casual Dining Restaurants, Ranked

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A couple days back, Complex published an interview with Allen Iverson, which you should most definitely read, if you want. In it, there were lots of good tidbits, but perhaps the primo tidbit came when Iverson swore his allegiance to T.G.I. Friday’s, which is something (erroneously!) attributed to him here and there in the near past. Here is that tidbit:

Also heard you got a thing for TGI Friday’s?


What is it about that place?

Just that it’s not too uppity. It’s not bougie. It’s a down to Earth restaurant. I like doing things like that. Unless I’m like taking my girl out. I’ll take her to the real expensive, you know, exotic restaurants. Other than that, when I’m hanging with my friends, we just like to go to a spot where we can chill out. And we like the food there, so it’s always been love at Friday’s.

We at Deadspin are an inquisitive bunch, and so this quote naturally raised the question of whether T.G.I. Friday’s was indeed dope (to which the answer, as you will find below, is: sorta). The conversation flowed naturally to the reputed dopeness (or lack thereof) of other casual dining restaurants—you see where this is going. This is still a sports site on occasion, which means that a healthy love of competition runs through our blogblood, and so soon enough, someone proposed that it was only right to rate and rank casual dining restaurants. Everyone but Samer agreed.


There was a precise methodology. Restaurants had to classify themselves as casual dining, and they had to be, like T.G.I. Friday’s, true chains with more than 15 locations nationwide. Nothing too uppity or breakfast-y. Once we came up with a set, we then went about rating the full dining experience on a scale from zero (shitty) to 10 (the shit). If we hadn’t eaten at the restaurant, we left the spot blank; at least three of us have had to have eaten there for the restaurant to remain on our list. (The only restaurant disqualified on these grounds was Vapiano, which is a fake place Albert Burneko made up this week, on the spot, and no one else had ever heard of.)

The process was painstaking—a Google Doc was involved—but we ended with what you will certainly recognize as a definitive, exhaustive-ish ranking of every casual dining restaurant chain worth mentioning in these United States of America, barring Sizzler. Because science, our findings are final, righteous, and indisputable; therefore, though the comments section below is technically open, it would be in your best interest to consider it closed. Fuck Yelp.


1. Benihana (average points: 7.67)

2. Buca Di Beppo (7.13)

3. Cracker Barrel (7.09)

4. P. F. Chang’s (6.64)

5. Macaroni Grill (6.5)

6. Red Robin (6.29)

7. California Pizza Kitchen (6.27)

8. Red Lobster (6.09)

9. Texas Roadhouse (6.0)

10. Uno Chicago Grill (5.92)

11. Cheesecake Factory (5.86)

12. Chevys (5.71)

13. Outback Steakhouse (5.62)

14. Fuddruckers (5.58)

15. Dave & Buster’s (5.44)

16. Carrabba’s (5.4)

T-17. Bennigan’s (5.33)

T-17. Buffalo Wild Wings (5.33)

19. Chili’s (5.31)

20. T.G.I. Friday’s (5.08)

21. Houlihan’s (5.0)

22. Olive Garden (4.89)

23. Rainforest Cafe (4.83)

24. Ruby Tuesday (4.5)

25. Applebee’s (4.33)

26. Longhorn Steakhouse (4.25)

27. Planet Hollywood (4.0)

28. Hard Rock Cafe (3.88)

29. Tony Roma’s (3.75)

30. Ponderosa Steakhouse (2.8)

31. Hooters (2.55)

32. Old Country Buffet (2.5)

33. Being Hit By A Car (2.36)

34. Golden Corral (2.29)

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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