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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Longhorn Steakhouse and Cheddar's

        When traveling, my wife and I tend to mostly eat in restaurants or get take out food.   Our Christmas vacation was no exception.  We had a few quite good meals and a lot of fast food.  Today I want to give a review of sorts of a couple of the standout restaurants.  This is not a comprehensive review by any means, but a short look at our experiences with these two establishments.

          On Wednesday December 22 my daughter Emilee treated us to dinner at the Longhorn Steakhouse in Lakewood, New Jersey.  The place was nearly full when we arrived at about six in the evening, but we were seated immediately.  The service was quick, efficient, and attentive.

            I ordered a 7 oz filet that was served with very tasty honey wheat bread, salad, and steamed vegetables.  The steak was perfectly prepared and melt in your mouth tender.  The seasoning was very savory.  This was one of the better steaks I've eaten.  The vegetables had the right amount of crispness and an excellent flavor.  At $18.79 this meal was in line with other restaurants of this caliber.  The serving was adequate.  I ate every bite and was well satisfied.

            My wife ordered a Grilled Chicken & Strawberry Salad.  This salad was a huge delightfully presented mixture of grilled chicken breast served over mixed field greens with strawberries, grapes, mandarin oranges, candied pecans, red onion, feta, and raspberry vinaigrette.   She loved it, but was not able to finish it because it was so big.   At $11.99 I'd say this was a good deal for a high quality salad like this.  Too bad they don't offer a half size version for half the price for smaller appetites.  This of course is something I would say about many restaurant meals.

            The restaurant is clean with pleasant western-style decor and well lit, which makes it conducive for family or business dining.  Perhaps not the environment for a romantic dining experience, but this is the kind of place I would prefer to go for the business of getting something good to eat for a price that won't make you feel a big void in your wallet.

           I was looking forward to trying one of these restaurants again, but alas they are only located in the eastern U.S.   I'll have to wait until next Christmas I guess, or whenever it is I'm back east again.


                A few days later we were visiting family in Maryville, Tennessee.  On the Tuesday following Christmas we decided on a family dinner at Cheddar's Restaurant in sister city Alcoa, Tennessee.  I'd been hearing about this place from my mother, but I'd never seen one.  As we started passing through urban areas on our trip we began to see many of these restaurants.  Cheddar's has its greatest concentration in some middle America and southeastern states.

             It's a family oriented chain that offers home-cooking with a gourmet touch.   I'd been told about how busy these restaurants get and I believed it everytime we'd passed a location during business hours and saw the full parking lots.  Our family dinner was set for 4 P.M. hoping we'd beat the crowds.  We still had to wait--the place was packed.  However our wait was only about fifteen minutes and once seated the waitress was very accommodating to our needs.

            The food was quite good-tasting and seemed of excellent quality.  My wife ordered a lemon-pepper chicken breast for $7.99 and I had tilapia in a mango salsa.  Both meals came with two sides with a fine selection from which to choose.  My sides were carrots and cole slaw.  Everybody had a healthy portion and no one went home hungry.  The price is right at Cheddar's and it's easy to see why the place is so popular.

            Have any of you eaten at either of these restaurants?  What's your opinion?   What have you heard from others?


  1. No Lee I haven't eaten in those restuarants as they are a wee bit far away from me, but reading the meals have made me hungry long before my meal time. They sound very tasty pleased you enjoyed yourself,

    Happy eating.

  2. hehe, that restaurant was established the year I was born :)

  3. Longhorn is probably similar to our Texas Steakhouse, but I've never eaten at either place.

  4. We have a Longhorn restaurant in our area and it has good service and food. I haven't heard of a Cheddar's before but it sounds nice.

    Thoughts in Progress

  5. Yvonne -- Maybe you'll be able to try them when you come in February. I'm sure they have locations in Nashville.

    Dezmond - Hopefully they don't still have any food left over from then.

    NYC/Alex-- I'm so disappointed they don't have a Longhorn in the L.A. area. I really wanted to try the restaurant again.

    Alex -- Not familiar with Texas Steakhouse, but I have eaten in a Texas Roadhouse. Longhorns is similar to Black Angus if you have those where you are.

    Mason -- I'm sure Cheddars has a location near you. They seem to be pretty prevalent in the southern states from what I saw when I was back there.

  6. We have a Longhorn, but I've never eaten there. We don't have a Cheddar's, but you've really made me hungry! I thought I was the only person who loved slaw :)

  7. There was a Longhorn in the Western Philly suburbs that we went to all the time growing up.

    While I've been to Lakewood (a little too far north in NJ to really be part of my "ole stompin' grounds" but close to it), I can't say I've been to that one.

    But whenever I read about the NYC to DC corridor, I get homesick!

    Even when they've got mountains of snow!

    Never heard of Cheddar's, but I've really only been to downtown Nashville (where my company has offices).

    All I remember about food in Tennessee was that everything came drowned (literally) in butter.

    Lee-no NYC pizza or Philly cheese steaks?

  8. No, sir, I have not heard of either of those restaurants. So, I have no experience with either one of them. They certainly sound very good however! Glad you liked them.

  9. My girlfriend is a waitress at Longhorn's here in Atlanta. I can tell you that the food tastes even better when it's half off.

  10. Ooh sounds like you enjoyed your meals. Spare a thought for those of us who had a luke warm institutionalised Christmas dinner with their parents in a nursing home. ;O)

  11. I've never heard of either of these restaurants, but it sounds like they're good places to eat!

  12. I've heard of Longhorn's but not Cheddar's. Haven't tried either one but Longhorn's sounded really good!
    Love Di ♥

  13. I've never heard of either - but they sound fabulous. I'd love to try that salad your wife had at the first one!

  14. Words Crafter -- If you like steak, I highly recommend Longhorn.

    Larry -- No cheesesteaks, but I had some good New Jersey pizza. Had another very good pizza in Gilbert--a place called Rosetti's I think. It's a chain and they have a few Phoenix area locations. Cheddar's is usually found in suburban areas I think.

    Gregg -- I'd say you would have appreciated both of them--especially the value obtained at Cheddar's.

    Matthew -- Half off would sound really good.

  15. Madeleine -- I feel for anyone who has parents in that situation. I do hope that your parent(s) was/were blessed by your being there.

    Golden Eagle -- I enjoyed them and it looked like a lot of other people were also.

    Diana -- Longhorn was the better of the two, but Cheddar's was the best bargain.

    Jemi -- She loved her salad. The sad part was that she put it in the refrigerator at the motel and forgot about it until after we had checked out and were in the next town.

  16. We have a Cheddar's in the area, and it's one of my favorite restaurants. The only thing I dislike is that the place is always packed, and a bit noisy. But the food and the price are great. I love those buttery croissants they have. The size of the meal is quite generous, I can't never eat it all.

    I'm glad you had such a fun trip :-)

  17. Haven't heard of these two establishments. Sounds like a great place to get a bite, if one plans ahead, to get there early or make a reservation.
    Lee, you made me hungry! ;-D

    I will have to look for these restaurants.Just because there isn't one in my neck of the words, doesn't mean, I can't cross the border to VA and find one. Fun post~

  18. Thank your for stopping by my blog and taking the time to tag my book on Amazon. I didn't know about tagging until recently myself. Here's a great link that explains how it works:

  19. My husband and daughter love Longhorn - I could take it or leave it. We've only eaten at Cheddar's once, but really liked it. There aren't many around here though.

  20. I’ve eaten at several Longhorn Steakhouses and have always enjoyed my meal. I haven’t heard of Cheddars but it sounds good.

  21. No, been to neither. Enjoyed your descriptions though. Now I'm hungry.

  22. Doris -- Apparently Cheddar's is a favorite with a lot of people. My mother had mentioned that it was noisy and crowded. When we were there I noticed the crowd, but not the noise--maybe our group was contributing a lot to that noise.

    Ellen -- I'll bet there's a Cheddar's not too far from you. You can check the restaurant locator on their websites.

    Lisa -- Wish you lots of success with your book.

    Carol -- I guess you must not be much of a steak lover? I was seeing Cheddar's all over the place in my travels during my holiday trip. Funny, I'd never noticed these before.

    Jane -- Good cheap eating.

    M Pax -- I get a craving for a good steak everytime I think about my Longhorn meal.

  23. I've heard of Cheddars, but never been to it or the Longhorn Steakhouse. That salad your wife had sounds delicious. Next time, tell her to order it, but tell the waiter to put half in a to-go container. Most restaurants will do that before they even bring the plate out.

  24. We have a few Longhorn Steakhouses in San Antonio. And a Cheddars. I haven't eaten at any of them. I'm glad to know they're good, though. Maybe next time I'm out.

  25. Hi Lee .. too far for me to visit - over the pond! But I like the sounds of the salads and the tilapia .. interesting .. & your wife must love chicken as she had it both times?!

    Pleased to be home - near your Mexican .. do you like Mexican food?! cheers Hilary

  26. Helen -- Haven't ever tried that, although before we start eating we're usually so hungry that we think we're going to eat everything.

    Carol-- They're worth trying out.

    Hilary -- I do like Mexican food, but not all the time. And my wife does like chicken, but she also likes beef, pork, and shrimp.


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