By Hannah Allen
A good rule of thumb when it comes to dinner and dating is to avoid chain restaurants. Whether you’ve been married for a decade or only been out a few times this is solid advice. Chains have their place, they do. Mostly for family-style get-togethers with mixed company, for safe bets when in a new place, or on a road trip but not a date night.
Here’s the thing, chain restaurants do have consistency on their side. Your favorite appetizer and entrée is going to taste the same every time you go and that is invaluable to you, the hungry consumer. But they also consistently have balloons, obnoxious birthday sing-alongs to whatever poor soul chose to celebrate there, and are basically just this side of McDonald’s.
Now, when I say chains I’m not talking about locally-owned and operated chains. I’m talking about the staples – the equivalent of big-box retailers – do I really need to name them here? Those Southwest Eggrolls and Bloomin’ Onions are wonderful, they are. But when you’re going out to celebrate, even if it’s to celebrate a moment alone together, just take one tiny step up the restaurant food chain and take the platform of “No Chains on Date Night.”
Don’t become intimidated by this ideal. There are all kinds of ways to find a place to fit the relaxed and no fuss atmosphere of a chain (Yelp, Urban Spoon, etc.) if that’s your thing. You don’t have to adjust your budget most of the time either. It’s just a way of shaking up the status quo without doing anything drastic. In a metroplex like ours you’ll find so many new options that’ll keep things interesting or set a nice precedence. Trust me on this.