What's Your Favorite Casual Dining Restaurant?


Millions of times every day it comes up in conversation, “Where do you want to go for lunch?”

We have a lot of choices.

New Market Force asked 6,700 American consumers about preferences in casual dining and found out overall the nation’s favorite is Maggiano’s Little Italy among all categories. 64% of respondents listed the Italian restaurant as their favorite, slightly more than the 63% who chose Texas Roadhouse, and the 58% who were torn between First Watch and Cracker Barrel. Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen got 57%.

KTRH News took to the streets to ask about Houstonian preferences, first encountering a delightful couple who wondered if Long John Silver counts. It doesn’t (though we like the choice), casual dining referencing places where you sit to order but generally don’t require a reservation. The woman who enthusiastically wanted Chic-fil-A was also discounted (though we like the choice). We found Houston offers so much variety it was impossible to come to any clear conclusion. We like choices here.

Among General Menu Chains, Cracker Barrel made it to the top of the list this year, beating out, in order, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, BJ’s Brewhouse, Cheesecake Factory (Corey Olsen’s favorite), Red Robin.

Among Breakfast Restaurants, give it up for First Watch, which scored a 58%, ahead of Bob Evans at 51%. Waffle House was three at 49%.

Blaze Pizza is tops for Pizza Restaurants, four points ahead of Mellow Mushroom. Pizza Hut was third at 43%.

A diner twirls his spaghetti at Pellegri

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