Cheddar's Casual Cafe

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Epinions Product Rating: Very Good
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Great food, great drinks, long waits during rush hours.

Jan 2, 2011 (Updated Jan 10, 2011)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Portion size large, mostly good flavors, no rush

Cons:hard to get into during busy times, beans & rice sweet

The Bottom Line:

Good food, big portions plesant service, can be a long wait.


A friend from work decided to organize a meeting of "the gang" on New years Eve for dinner a Cheddar's followed by trip to somewhere else to wish in the New Year.  Last year we had done this and it turned out nice.  Then we had several tables and a booth or two in the back of the house and were able to  mingle and chat amongst ourselves ad have a great time.  This year, we had the advance people show up at 500 or 530 to get us tables.  We ended up spread out throughout 1 section of the restaurant after over an hour of waiting and stuck in booths which prevented free mingling and chatting with anyone other than those at our table and across from ours.  I ordered a Peach iced tea, waited 15 minutes and corrected the waitress it was a peach iced tea not an un-sweet iced tea and still had not gotten to order food.

When the tea came, I paid and took off for the next likely destination of the gang to allow for someone else fro the gang to have a seat and possibly order food.

I have been to Cheddars on several other occasions not during holidays and experienced various waits.  On a Saturday during peak shopping times, and Lunch times through the week, expect 15 min to an hour for a party of 3.  During the week if you are a party of 1 or 2 and are there other than lunch times, you may be able to get right in or a short wait of under 10 min for a table or booth.

large partys (6 or more) plan on waiting between 30 min to an hour to have an area set up for you.

Interior appearances

Ambiance is standard up-scale oasis meets sports bar.  There is a separate bar area with tall small tables and chairs and a nice marble bar with various sports on the several TV's scattered around the bar area.

Beer selections are limited to about a dozen between standard American beers on tap and a few (mostly Mexican) import beers and domestic beers in bottle, Wine list is fair but nothing to jump up & down about.  Mixed drinks are impressively served in BIG glasses and with flair.  There are several specialty drinks in this line, mostly fruity or chocolaty. 

Restaurant area is set up mostly with booths with high backs, and low benches. As a tall guy with long legs and a bad back, I don't like these.  If you can get an actual table, it's not too bad.  The floors are a rough finished slate tiles, dark walls and wood and in the middle of the seating area, a giant slow moving ceiling fan straight out of Casa Blanca.

Wait staff at the one I've been to were dressed in black sacks and white button up shirts, standard.  

Menu
The menu is fairly standard lay out with sections for appetisers, burgers, pasta, chicken, fish, etc.

There is a separate section for the sides as most items on the menu will specify your choice of 1 or 2 sides.

Unlike many places, I've been, the specialty lemonades and teas are free refills as well just like the coffee & sodas.  I have had the raspberry and the Peach iced teas and they are both fantastic if you like sweet teas.  the fruit flavor is from actual fruit nectar or puree added to the tea or lemonade rather than an infusion brewed with the tea.
 
The onion rings are a MUST TRY, at $4.99 for them you get a huge stack with plenty to share or a meal in themselves if you don't share.  The Cajun dipping sauce that comes with it, is great.

Entree prices are a bit high for my frugal preferences for some but the servings are large and the flavor of most items I've had is great.

I don't care for the red beans & rice, there seems to be a Cinnamon/sweet taste to it that I just don't get.

The Fish tacos are one of the several under $10.00 dishes on the menu and are served with roasted corn and slaw and a spicy sauce of some sort on the side similar to a cocktail sauce-ranch-Cajun mix going on with it.  the fish can be battered & deep fried or grilled, I like the crunch of the fried.  

the last time I ate there (yesterday afternoon) I had the onion rings, fish tacos and a peach Iced Tea for just under $15.00. I waf filled up with  about half of the onion rings and one of the fish tacos left over which was enough for dinner that night too.

I have also had the
- Mont Cristo (a battered & fried sandwich with cheese, turkey and ham served with a raspberry preserves) and the taste was great but a little on the heavy side.
- the 3 cheese BBQ burger (the burgers are HUGE 1/2 pounders)
great taste and big enough to share.
- Steak (I forget which cut I had at the time) nicely done, lean cut that melted in my mouth.
- Chicken Fried Steak- big as a spare tire for a VW bug and a rich cream gravy.
- My favorite side is the broccoli & cheese casserole.  Rich & cheesy with a simple cracker or bead crumb & cheese top.

Final words:
For a date night or special occasion, I would spring for a trip here, if you are on a budget, bring a friend and share an order of onion rings and a burger (drink tap water or you'll go over budget).

If you are looking for something fast in & out then pass on these guys.  For a leisurly lingering meal with no rush, head on over.



  


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