Applebees: Still the worst restaurant on the planet

posted by Jeff | Thursday, August 18, 2011, 9:52 PM | comments: 19

I often talk about Seattle's apparent distaste for franchise restaurants, and I do admit that many franchise chains are pretty crappy. But I'm not fundamentally opposed to them, as I'd kill for a Buffalo Wild Wings or Macaroni Grill close to where I live.

Applebees, however, has been at the top of my shit list for years. There was one near my house in Cleveland, and I think I went once because someone asked me to meet them there. It blows. It's the worst fucking microwaved shit in the world. I don't understand how (Seattle not withstanding) there appears to be one on every other corner.

So we decided to spontaneously go east to visit Silverwood, in Idaho, near Spokane, WA. As anyone who has ever done the I-90 trek knows, the number of actual restaurants you can sit down in and have food brought to you, between Seattle and Chicago, numbers in the teens at best. On our move west, the only place we had in five days of driving was an Outback (also not great) in Rapid City, SD.

But we got into the Spokane and Coeur d'Alene area a little on the late side, and we had to get food in Simon before he crashed for bed. The only thing reasonably close was an Applebees. I figured, what the hell, I haven't been to one in three years, we'll give it a shot. How bad could it be?

Pretty fucking bad, it turns out.

It started with the service. The shittiest waiter in history neglected us for more than five minutes after sitting down, and with no silverware, it made getting Simon's food rolling harder. We immediately ordered, including drinks, and asked for silverware so we could cut up Simon's food. The dude brought back one roll of implements, apparently expecting us to eat with our hands. Drinks came a full ten minutes after that. The pattern of neglect continued, but I'll spare you those details.

On to the food. They have a $20 deal for two entrees and an appetizer. That seemed likely to control the damage, so we agreed to do that. The appetizer was cheese sticks. Surprisingly, there were nine of them, which was three too many for us, but they were typical food service cheese sticks and not bad. However, they were served with whatever burned crap was also in the frier at the time, which was gross. Who plates this shit?

We both got "fiesta lime chicken," which is a chicken breast covered in some limey sauce and smothered with cheese, on a bed of tortilla chips, rice on the side. The plate was super hot, but the food was not. The chicken was overcooked and dried out, so I'm going to go with microwaved. I mostly could taste salt. The rice was dry, as if it had been cooked too long, then sat under heat lamps, and dried out to its original state.

It was just generally nasty shit, with shit service. The restaurant itself was surprisingly clean, but it looked like it had a recent renovation. I don't remember it always being like this. I think the first time I went to one was with my mom, coming home from school, maybe in late 1992? It's not the only place to go to shit, either. Friday's was good once upon a time, in part because of the fantastic burgers (though I don't eat red meat anymore).

I just don't understand how the chain can survive, serving shit that I wouldn't give to my cats. And the place had people lined up out the door, too. Has watching Food Network raised my standards, or is it really that bad?

Applebees, you suck. Your microwaved shit food sucks. You should be embarrassed that people even plated that crap.



August 19, 2011, 9:27 AM #

While I agree with your review, I question your strategy when going to crappy places...I mean, fries and chicken tenders are hard to screw up.


March 15, 2012, 9:05 PM #

Unfortunately man, I work for Applebee's(Bartender). I agree, the food at Applebee's sucks!! I hate the place so much, I'm so ready to quit the shit hole. The place is so fucked up because the owners have changed the meaning of the place. They want to turn the place into a sports bar, but still keep their family restaurant values. Uhhhh... WTF?! Isn't that the dumbest fucking thing you've ever heard of? Also, how are the servers suppose to make money with shitty food that has been microwaved. It's almost embarrassing to work in such a place. The reason I bartend is cause I try to avoid selling shitty food. I believe the drinks make their food taste better. Anyway, I'm done ranting.


March 18, 2013, 2:12 AM #

What's really strange is that I had an identical experience near Seattle at Crapplebees. Even the one role of silverware thing was the same. It must be something that they are doing on purpose. BTW their is a Buffalo Wild Wings near Seattle and it SUCKS pretty much for the same reason.


March 17, 2014, 5:48 AM #

I just ate at Applebees yesterday I am still severely sick stomach cramps so severe I'm doubled over


May 28, 2014, 10:34 PM #

it used to be good service bad food, now it just sucks all the way around. HORRIBLE FOOD AND SERVICE! I'll eat the corn out of someones poop before I will go back to applebee's


April 3, 2015, 11:00 PM #

Well the trend continues. Just tried the one in San Diego and the was pretty bad. The steak was some very cheap cut, and they didn't season it at all. Also screwed up on two of the entrees bringing the incorrect items to the table. Our service person was attentive and quick, so no problem there. A general note: I think we got lucky with our waiter as the others seemed more concerned with their personal lives then their customers. Also it could had been cleaner in the place. I left a decent tip for our waiter, he did his job well, just not the rest of the staff including the manager. Palomar Street location 91911.


April 27, 2015, 1:14 AM #

I made the mistake of giving Applebee's a retry after about 2 years. I'm a steak guy and Applebee's is the closest thing to a steakhouse I have around me. I was feeling lazy and didn't want to cook that night so I took the wife out for steak. I've worked in good service for 15 years off and on so I should have known better. We both ordered the 7 oz sirloin with mashed and veges. As expected the mashed were instant, but they didn't even mix them right. They were gritty like old ice cream. The steamed veges were practically mush. The steak was tough and over microwaved. Medium to them apparently is the strength of the microwave. All I could taste was salt and bromelain solution. I've had better steaks from Wal Marts frozen section. Never again.


June 10, 2015, 11:13 PM #

Sigh, I made the same mistake of visiting an Applebees after a few years, just to see if it got better. Turns out, it got worse.
I have a shellfish allergy, and I mean an actual allergy. Like, death as a side effect if untreated with an epi pen. So I always make sure I tell the waiter, as I did at my last Applebees visit. She writes it down, says "I'll make sure to tell them to keep your dish away from shellfish."

By the way, I ordered some dish labeled as salmon with some kind of artichoke sauce.

Out comes the salmon, tastes okay, nothing exciting. Maybe 10 minutes into my eating, the manager guy comes rushing out to my table and tells me the sauce is a "scampi" sauce. Like. Wtf. I just ate half this dish and he's telling me, even though I specifically TOLD them about my allergy, that there is shellfish in my food.

I panicked, drank a couple mouthfuls of benadryl, and hoped I would survive the night. I'm thinking the benadryl stopped anything serious from happening as I never went full blown reaction, though for two days after I was in and out of the bathroom all day.

Never going to Applebees again.

Hilda disappointed

August 23, 2015, 9:57 PM #

I wanted to spend a great dinner ,quality time with my hubby and omg , nasty chicken penne uncooked pasta , then our steak was very raw, then very dry cooked the second time they braught it out , when I complained , they offered me a free desert , wow.
I've had this issue in the past so why did I forget , sad,disappointed and out of my hard earned money .
This is in temple texas.

Applebees sucks

August 27, 2015, 6:44 AM #

Ordered chicken ceaser salad and penne chicken and taco wonton for appetizer my wife had a cup of coffee I had water. The ceasear salad had way way to much dressing it was horrible ( should have sent it back, the penne was such a small portion with one tiny piece of microwaved garlic bread, only ordered the apeteizer after because we were still hungry. Bill came to over $30 Had stomach cramps within a half hour of eating there, never again! Over priced horrible food~!


September 11, 2016, 5:16 PM #

The food litterly taste like it was microwaved. The French fries were just terrible. The only thing that was decent was the dessert. The hostess just came up to us when we went in and I immediately asked for a booth. She didn't smile or say anything. She just got some silver wear and some menus and walked away. It wasn't until my mother motioned me to walk foward that I realized she was leading us to our table. She could have at least said "this way" or "I'm leading you to your fucking table" something!
They just really looked like they didnt wanna be there. Or were very uncomfortable. The restraint itself was alright. Just the service.

Kelly H

January 20, 2017, 11:39 PM #

I used to be a host at an Applebee's and I'm appalled at the servI've you recieved! (Even thought this was 6 years ago) the one I worked at requires that servers greet and get drinks within 30 seconds, and be attentive to each table. As for food goes, the chicken was cooked as soon as the order rang in on the grill, depending on what it was. We also were required to be extremely sanitary, I was a hostess and had to check the bathroom every half hour to make sure it was clean, stocked, and presentable, clean being the most important. And the disinfectant used on the tables was to be changed every hour

Kylah Jones

April 21, 2017, 11:23 AM #


Pat Price

May 17, 2017, 9:50 PM #

May 16, 2017 - Had a choice tonight, go to Mexican family owned restaurant or meet friends at Applebee's. Foolishly agreed to Applebee's. Wanted Ribs from the menu - out of ribs. For F** sake there is a Walmart right next door, go shopping!. Wanted baked potato, was told they couldn't do baked potatoes tonight. Aske the server if they had a microwave and asked that they microwave baked potatoes. Server was very apologetic. Asked to speak to the manager, no manager showed up. Never again.


August 26, 2017, 10:11 PM #

How do you snowflakes survive under such harsh conditions?


March 21, 2018, 11:09 PM #

I try them about every 6 months if it's late and there is nowhere else opens (it happens). Disappointed every time. Better to just get something at Walmart and microwave it myself and watch a movie. Even after 9:00 there are still little kids running and screaming around the bar area, and no wonder the bar tender looks like she wants to kill herself. That or she has had to mix too many buckets of nasty dollaritas. Also I don't know who orders this shit to go, but LOL!

Cassandra L.

April 4, 2018, 10:44 PM #

Worst food ever! Microwaved steak! Brown broccoli! Burned and dryed out brown baked potatoes.

I am black and I am going to talk about these black waitresses, hostesses and managers. The worst, mean, nasty, attitude ever. I bet they eat microwaved food everyday because they did not know that mess they called a steak was microwaved. It was like a tough lether that had been boiled and the water boiled out. Manager tried to give me the glass my tea came in and said he did not care because he ordered more. FIRE THE WHOLE PLACE.

Cassandra L.

April 4, 2018, 10:47 PM #

Let me correct this...leather. Apple Bees sells leather steak boiled to perfection. Nasty folks.

Where is the CEO? Undercover Boss those sorry folks.


September 7, 2019, 10:47 PM #

I'm going into enemy territory here, but to be honest, I love applebee's, I've never been disappointed whenever I go, never had bad service, the food has always been great. I've never understood the people who says it's the worst thing ever. It may not be amazing, but It's certainly nowhere near the bottom of my list.

Post your comment: