There are a lot of chain restaurants in New York City—Red Lobster, TGIFridays, Chevy’s, Olive Garden—and most of them can be found in Times Square, where tourists love to congregate, and, curiously, shell out a ton of money for the similar dining experiences they can get in a lot of places in the U.S. where chain restaurants find a home.
So when my friends and I walked over to the TGIFridays next to our hotel this weekend for a quick bite and drink, we weren’t expecting much. We didn’t have a car, and it was our only dining option. We were given a drink menu, and were told that drinks were “2 for 1.” We were then handed a dining menu and became privy to their “2 for $10″ special: One appetizer and one entree for $10.
“I got two scotches for $5!” one of our fellow friends from the city exclaimed from the bar. His mind had been equally blown. Two scotches! For five dollars!
Now, TGIFridays is not the place to go if you’re looking for anything healthy to eat. Most things are fried. Most things have cheese on them. That doesn’t mean their food doesn’t taste good, because let’s face it, fried food generally tastes good, but healthy this food is not. They had a “slim menu” where you could choose items that are “750 calories or less.”
I got the “2 for $10″ special, and ordered the “spinach florentine flatbread,” which was enough to be a meal on its own (I happily shared with everyone at the table):
For my entree, I got a pulled pork sandwich, but skipped the fries for a salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
Everyone at the table kept talking about how cheap everything seemed to be—probably because we’ve lived in New York City for too long.
Here’s what the five of us ordered:
• 2 margaritas
• 2 glasses of pinot grigio
• 2 mojitos
• spinach florentine flatbread (appetizer)
• fried mozzarella (appetizer)
• bruschetta chicken pasta (entree)
• 2 strawberry field salads (entree)
• pulled pork sandwich with garden salad (entree)
• black bean burger with french fries (entree)
Total, with tax: $70.12
Our minds were blown. We left our very fun, and very kind waitress a 40 percent tip. We could afford it.