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.