We’ve been good all week. I’ve made dinner every night and we haven’t eaten out since last Saturday. Before J left for work today, I asked if she wanted me to pick her up for dinner. Of course, she said yes.
I’ve learned the hard way that we can’t really head towards Michigan Avenue or East Lansing on her dinner break, but the edge of Okemos is usually ok. She actually said she wanted to eat at a chain tonight and I said Applebees. Yes, we could have just went to the South Lansing location, but it is Friday night and if they were busy, I wanted to make sure we had options. There’s plenty of other restaurants near the Okemos location, so that’s where we went.
The Applebees in Okemos is just off of Okemos Road and I-96. You would think the address would actually be Okemos Road, because it faces that street, but the address is on the side street that you turn on to which is Woodland Lake Drive.
Like I figured, the parking lot was packed. Still, I found a spot in the front parking lot, so I was holding out hope. We made our way to the door where a waitress/hostess was there to greet us by opening the door….something that I’ve noticed at pretty much all the chain restaurant we’ve been to in the last year. Once we were inside, we were stuck behind what must have been a large group. It took three people to figure out where to put them. The hostess that opened the door finally grabbed a couple menus and showed us to a booth in the dining room that is to the left of the bar.
This was the first time I’ve ever actually eaten inside an Applebees. I’ve done the Carside-To-Go before, but never ate inside. As I was looking around at all the crap on the walls, J brought up an interesting point that one of her co-workers made to her a few nights ago when they all ate at the South Lansing Applebees. Where do places like this get the crap on the wall? Who actually makes new stuff that is supposed to look old? You know they don’t go to flee markets or clean out their basements like the neighborhood pubs they’re trying to emulate. You know somewhere someone is making brand new croquet sets and trying to make them look antique.
Our waitress came over right away and took our order for Pepsi’s. When she came back, we had already decided on the 2 for $20 so we didn’t let her go. For the appetizer, J wanted the boneless buffalo wings. When the waitress asked what kind of sauce, I instinctively said mild, but J wanted the honey BBQ. I didn’t argue. Not my favorite, but they were still good. For an appetizer, we got quite a few pieces of chicken. It came with ranch, bleu cheese, and celery. Like I’ve mentioned in the past, boneless wings aren’t my favorite, but these were pretty good and they almost filled us up before the entrees even came.
When we go to these chains, I usually just get a burger. Sure, there’s other things that look good on the menu, but one thing I can say about the chains, they always give you a huge burger. There were several to choose from on the 2 for $20 menu including the Fire Pit Bacon burger. I didn’t really want the chipotle mayo that came on the sandwich so I passed and just got the bacon cheeseburger. Like I assumed, I got a huge chunk of meat on a toasted bun with a pretty good side of fries. The fries were a little salty, but I did see some skins on them. The burger was good and I struggled to finish it. We don’t usually do appetizers and even though I didn’t eat much all day, they really put a dent in my appetite.
J needed to with something light because they’re having some heat issues at work so she didn’t want to eat a heavy meal. There were two salads on the 2 for $20 menu and she chose the one that she thought would be more than just iceburg lettuce. She got the Oriental Chicken Salad which is said to have fresh Asian greens. Looked like salad to me which onion and carrots. J actually said it tasted sort of like a giant, mayo-less plate of cole slaw. The salad also came with some fried chicken strips and there were quite a few of them. The dressing was billed as a “tasty Oriental vinaigrette.” No idea what that means, but again, J said she really liked. She didn’t quite clean her plate, but that was because the salad was huge.
Like most chain restaurant experiences, our waitress was on top of things. When she set the meal down, she went to get me another Pepsi. She got sidetracked with another table and I saw her walk out of the kitchen, look at me, and mouth “oh shit.” I had a Pepsi a few seconds later. It wasn’t a big deal. I didn’t sit that long without a drink. There have been places I’ve gone the whole main course without something to drink. A few minutes wasn’t going to kill.
The only bad part of this trip to Appleebees were the other guests. There must have been a large group divided over several tables. They were secretly taking pictures of each other, acting like they were five years old, blocking the walkway so the wait staff couldn’t get through and standing next to our table with their asses almost on our plates. After we paid the bill, we couldn’t even get up and leave because they were actually blocking us in. When the finally did leave, we followed them out of the restaurant…and they stopped as soon as they got out of the door….we couldn’t even get the door open. It was seriously like they were the only ones in a restaurant that was filled to capacity.
Other than that, we had a good meal and only paid about $25 for it. We don’t usually order appetizers and I didn’t mind paying a little bit more than we usually do for this kind of meal because we actually got a substantial platter of wings.
Like I always say when I wrap up reviews of these chains, they’re great options every now and then, but they’re about a once a month thing for me. I still prefer the local pubs that actually have real old junk hanging on their walls, but I do like the portion size and service that usually comes from the chains.