Best Chain Restaurant
OK, so you have to queue up with what can be described only as an arthritic chorus line of elderly people who, for some unexplained reason, seem to have extremely sharp elbows. Nothing worthwhile comes easy. But once you plop the two big, empty, white plates upon your tray (only novices take one) and begin to work your way down the aisle of prolifically piled produce, you'll be so focused on composing (piling) towers of greens with every salad garnishing imaginable that you won't even notice the body blows from the woman behind you who's trying to grab more garbanzo beans. And that's just the beginning. After taking a seat, it's time to get up again to fill up bowls of daily soups and chilis -- chicken noodle, with giant wedges of roasted chicken, deserves a "best chicken noodle soup" citation all its own. Two types of pastas tossed every 20 minutes, along with freshly baked breads, muffins, and minisquares of pizza focaccia make it tough to save room for dessert, but most patrons manage some frozen yogurt with multiple toppings. All of this for the ridiculously low dinner price of $8.69 --kids under 3 years old eat free, ages 3 to 5 cost $1.49, 5 to 12 go for $4.49. Get in line. Readers' Choice: Houston's, Cheesecake Factory (tie)
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.