This is really all I need to write to defend Waco's assortment of chain restaurants. If at least one of those items — and more likely all three — didn't make you want to change this evening's agenda to include a trip to one of those chain restaurants, then there's nothing I can do to convince you. You have different taste buds than me and perhaps anyone I know.
Nonetheless, there's a certain stigma that has been attached to chain restaurants. I don't want to dissect it, but let me suggest one place that it might originate. We love our local places. Why shouldn't we? We have a ton of spots here in town that were started by people who live here, people you still see whenever you walk through the door. And that's a wonderful thing. It's ideal really. It makes our town unique, it gives us good places to dine and socialize and therefore local people have a successful business.
But maybe we go so far in loving our one-of-a-kind local spots that we dis chain restaurants more than they deserve.
My friend Cameron Weed and I were on a road trip once upon a time when I discovered he could not even pass a certain chain restaurant without retching.
And so I challenged Mr. Weed to a chain restaurant progressive dinner. One week from tomorrow, on Friday the 13th, we — along with anyone else who wants to spectate the event — will begin with appetizers at one chain restaurant, proceed to another for the main course and finish with dessert at yet another chain restaurant. Preliminarily, we're thinking apps at Applebee's, main course at Olive Garden and dessert at Chili's. But we're still figuring out the route and we're open to suggestions for alternatives or additions.
Following the progressive dinner — most likely the next day as we're almost certain to be sluggish by the end of the night — we'll write point-counterpoint blogs giving our final analysis of the challenge.
We'll also tweet throughout the night for the entertainment of everyone in WacoFork land.