The top 10 casual-dinning restaurants ranked in America  

  • For years America's largest chain-restaurants have been ridiculed for offering customers uninspired food at uniform eateries across the country
  • The survey based the criteria on a number of different factors, including cuisine, ambiance and service among others
  • The restaurant industry employs 14.7 million people with more than a million establishments spread out across the country
  • Casual dining restaurants attract the hungry masses back to their tables, offering the comfort of familiarity

By Daily Mail Online Reporter

Published: 14:25 EST, 24 December 2017 | Updated: 14:55 EST, 24 December 2017

For years America's largest chain-restaurants have been ridiculed for offering customers uninspired food at uniform eateries across the country.

Yet, its these same qualities that paradoxically attract the hungry masses back to their tables, offering comfort in the idea that someone can get the same meal at an IHOP in Denver as they can in Des Moines.

The overall industry, according to the National Restaurant Association, ranks in nearly $800 billion a year, employing 14.7 million people with more than a million establishments spread out across the country.

The list put together by The Washington Post's Tom Sietsema evaluated these familiar food joints from best to worse, offering each a letter grade after months of research and repeated visits.

The list is based on a criteria with a number of different factors, including cuisine, ambiance and service among others.

But can you guess how these all casual dinning restaurants rank on the list?

10. Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar

The survey based the criteria on a number of different factors, including cuisine, ambiance and service among others

The survey based the criteria on a number of different factors, including cuisine, ambiance and service among others

At the bottom of the list sits Buffalo Wild Wings & Bar, who was berated by the Post for its 'thoroughly soulless' selection and paltry side offerings.

'I'm not sure which is more of a travesty, the scrawny wings (pick your poison: traditional or boneless) or the woody carrot sticks that accompany them,' the Washington Post wrote.

Founded in 1982, the buffalo wing chain known for it 'Sauces and seasonings offering endless customization' pulled in $1.8 billion for the 2015 fiscal year.

The paper, in the end, rated the restaurant with a grade of F.

9. IHOP

The overall industry, according to the National Restaurant Association , ranks in nearly $800 billion a yearThe overall industry, according to the National Restaurant Association , ranks in nearly $800 billion a year

The overall industry, according to the National Restaurant Association , ranks in nearly $800 billion a year

The International House of Pancakes fared only slightly better on the Post's list, earning accolades for its good service but nevertheless given a grade of D.

A 'dry cheeseburger served in a cottony bun' along with fish tacos that 'appeared to be fried in a straitjacket' appeared to have left the Post with a bad taste in its mouth.

Founded in 1958, the southern California-based business took in $349.6 million in revenues last year.

8. Outback Steakhouse

The restaurant industry employs 14.7 million people with more than a million establishments spread out across the countryThe restaurant industry employs 14.7 million people with more than a million establishments spread out across the country

The restaurant industry employs 14.7 million people with more than a million establishments spread out across the country

The Australian-themed American casual dining restaurant based in Tampa, Florida was taken to task for 'one of the most vulgar creations any chain has ever whipped up': It's signature The Bloomin' Onion.

The Post also castigated the 29-year-old business for its 'steak, and a pretend notion of what's cooking Down Under.' The Aussie steakhouse did however earn praise for its 'moist grilled chicken with an herbed Parmesan crust and a garnish of tomatoes and basil.'

The best part of the meal, however, was reserved for the desert, a 'spiced carrot cake with actual threads of carrot in each big slice and a veneer of icing.'

Nevertheless, the publicly traded Outback Steakhouse earned a dismal D grade from Chicago.

7. Red Lobster

Casual dining restaurants attract the hungry masses back to their tables, offering comfort in the idea that someone can get the same meal anywhere in the countryCasual dining restaurants attract the hungry masses back to their tables, offering comfort in the idea that someone can get the same meal anywhere in the country

Casual dining restaurants attract the hungry masses back to their tables, offering comfort in the idea that someone can get the same meal anywhere in the country

Red Lobster, known for years as America's most popular seafood restaurant, walked away with some bruises a mixed review helped earn the Florida-based business some notable mentions.

'If snow crab claws require some work to tackle, at least their yield is sweet,' the Post proclaimed.

'And Yucatan shrimp, among the chain's new "tasting" plates, benefit from diced caramelized pineapple and the heat of jalapeños.'

A grade of C- was slapped onto the $2.5 billion chain, for its lackluster clams and salmon that 'might just as well have swum in from a banquet,' along with its garish 'paintings of lighthouses and framed signal flags.'

6. Chili's Grill & Bar

For years America's largest chain-restaurants have been ridiculed for offering customers uninspired food at uniform eateries across the countryFor years America's largest chain-restaurants have been ridiculed for offering customers uninspired food at uniform eateries across the country

For years America's largest chain-restaurants have been ridiculed for offering customers uninspired food at uniform eateries across the country

Despite the claim that its 'Like no place else,' Chili's Bar and Grill was very much graded like its seafood predecessor on this list with a C minus.

Taken to task for its 'Caribbean salad, Cajun pasta, salted caramel cake,' the chain, which has earned just over $3.5 billion in revenues over the past several years, did have some redeeming dishes.

'Chili's makes it easy with its Triple Dipper, your choice of three snacks,' the Post raves, advising readers to also 'Zero in on the tasty mini-burgers, the spiced onion rings and the kicky Southwestern egg rolls filled with corn and black beans.'

5. Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar

Known for its 'Eatin' good in the neighborhood' slogan and $1 margaritas, Applebee's has a harder time earning recognition for its foodKnown for its 'Eatin' good in the neighborhood' slogan and $1 margaritas, Applebee's has a harder time earning recognition for its food

Known for its 'Eatin' good in the neighborhood' slogan and $1 margaritas, Applebee's has a harder time earning recognition for its food

Known for its 'Eatin' good in the neighborhood' slogan and $1 margaritas, Applebee's has a harder time earning recognition for its food.

Taken to task for its 'Ribs, salmon, apple chimicheesecake,' the Post was kinder in its assessment of other standout dishes.

'Better than you might expect are the juicy-enough steak on the surf-and-turf combo and slices of lemony grilled chicken arranged on quinoa jazzed up with dried cranberries' appears to come off as a pleasant surprise while 'zesty Sriracha shrimps' offers a bold and tasty treat.

Founded in Decatur, Georgia in 1980 but now based in Glendale, California, the multi-billion dollar business earned a C for overall satisfaction.

4. Olive Garden

The Post gives the Olive Garden a grade of C, but praises the casual-dinning chain's ability to get the basic rightThe Post gives the Olive Garden a grade of C, but praises the casual-dinning chain's ability to get the basic right

The Post gives the Olive Garden a grade of C, but praises the casual-dinning chain's ability to get the basic right

The Post gives the Olive Garden a grade of C, but praises the casual-dinning chain's ability to get the basic right, with its unlimited soup and salads and friendly service.

'You don't have to be a vegetarian to appreciate the fresh-tasting minestrone, thick with beans and tomato, and serious comfort can be found on a plate of spaghetti and meatballs, a "create your own pasta" selection. "More salad? More soup?" the friendly severs repeatedly ask. What the restaurant lacks in finesse it makes up with generosity.'

Its not all good news for 35-year-old restaurant with an 855 restaurants spread across America. The Post warns hungry customers to stay away 'Sangria that tastes like Kool-Aid for adults' and its 'Tour of Italy' dish 'whose chicken parmigiana and gloppy fettuccine Alfredo taste' nothing like something from the old country.

3. Texas Roadhouse

The Texas Roadhouse earns a respectable B grade from the Post's understandably caustic critic, who suggested that hungry patrons stick with the meaThe Texas Roadhouse earns a respectable B grade from the Post's understandably caustic critic, who suggested that hungry patrons stick with the mea

The Texas Roadhouse earns a respectable B grade from the Post's understandably caustic critic, who suggested that hungry patrons stick with the mea

The Texas Roadhouse earns a respectable B grade from the Post's understandably caustic critic, who suggested that hungry patrons stick with the meat.

'Beef is your friend here, be it in a bowl of zippy chili, chopped steak under a cover of cheese and caramelized onions or an agreeable rib-eye cooked the color you ask and best paired with mashed potatoes cratered with cream gravy.'

The Roadhouse was not without its flaws, however, which was marked down for its 'dry pulled pork and stiff catfish.'

Founded in Louisville, Kentucky in 1993, the franchise has seen revenues climbed to nearly $2 billion over the past five years.

2. Denny's

With 1,700 Denny's restaurants spread across the US alone, the 64-year-old eaterie pulled in more than $500 million in revenues last fiscal yearWith 1,700 Denny's restaurants spread across the US alone, the 64-year-old eaterie pulled in more than $500 million in revenues last fiscal year

With 1,700 Denny's restaurants spread across the US alone, the 64-year-old eaterie pulled in more than $500 million in revenues last fiscal year

Whether you're a hungry breakfast seeker looking to get fluffy pancakes in the morning, a tired driver needing to recharge after driving for hours through the country side or a drunk college junior looking to sober up with a burger at 3am, 'America's diner is always open.'

The Post gives Denny's a B grade for its 'Pancakes, hash browns, spaghetti and meatballs, warm chocolate lava cake,' but warns to stay clear of 'Seasonal specials such as pancakes smothered in what tastes like white chocolate with orange zest.'

With 1,700 Denny's restaurants spread across the US alone, the 64-year-old eaterie pulled in more than $500 million in revenues last fiscal year.

1. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store

Revenues for the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, which was founded in 1969, cracked $2.9 billion dollars for the 2016 fiscal yearRevenues for the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, which was founded in 1969, cracked $2.9 billion dollars for the 2016 fiscal year

Revenues for the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, which was founded in 1969, cracked $2.9 billion dollars for the 2016 fiscal year

Coming in at number one, the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store earns the Post's highest grade of A, topping the list of America's best casual dining-restaurant.

Offering slight criticisms for 'doughy' chicken dumplings along with corn bread muffins that proves to be a 'tad salty,' the Barrel seems to satisfy the Post's most important criteria.

'Meatloaf, pork chops, trout, macaroni and cheese, pecan pie' get the best reviews from the Post, which would be be happy to try every meal again.

Revenues for the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, which was founded in 1969, cracked $2.9 billion dollars for the 2016 fiscal year.

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