Pros: sit down hot meal, quickly prepared; becoming very health conscious; kid friendly; free food.
Cons: The Denny?s stigma; some of the servers could be better.
OK, so Im deprived. Im in my mid 30s, and have never even tried a Dennys, that is until a year and a half ago. Thats when we moved where we are now, and theres a Dennys only two short blocks from our home. So, this review is really only about this particular Dennys, not the entire chain in general, since this is the one we go to at least once a week.
~~ THE RESTAURANT / Description ~~
This Dennys, located in Redondo Beach in Southern California, is an older restaurant, and is rather small. It has about 10 counter-seating stools, 16 booths, and 7 tables with high back, padded seat chairs. The carpet is relatively clean, and seems to be vacuumed quite often. Three of the four walls have windows, with one wall just about floor to ceiling windows, and this makes the restaurant very light and bright. The bathrooms have always been clean and stocked up, and they have a pull-down diaper changing area in the handicapped stall of the bathroom. They accept all major credit cards and cash. They used to accept other restaurants coupons, like Carrows, but they dont anymore.
Here in L.A. County, we have a restaurant ratings program through the Department of Health Services. According to their records, this restaurant scores an A rating (scoring a 95 on 6/17/04 and a 98 on 4/8/04).
~~ EMPLOYEES ~~
What strikes me is the longevity of the employees. Some of them, like Roberto (18 years employed at Dennys) is an incredible server, hell have my tea and the girls milk just about waiting for us as soon as we come in. Some of the others (no names here, but 20 years employed at THIS Dennys) always seem to get something on our order wrong. When we go, I always ask for Robertos section, and give him a 30% tip at the completion of our meal.
Most of the employees here have second jobs. This restaurant does not offer employee benefits, even for those who have been there so long, so they need to supplement their benefits or income with a different job.
~~ THE FOOD AND PRICES ~~
I think that most people know what Dennys offers, so Im going to list some general items with the price ranges.
Dennys serves Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. The menu is divided into three sections for each, and they offer Senior Citizens and Childrens menus.
Breakfasts range in price from $5.29 for a fresh fruit bowl, to $11.89 for a T-Bone steak with eggs.
Lunches range in price from $5.89 for soup and salad, to $7.59 for a double cheeseburger.
Dinners range in price from $8.49 for chicken strips to $14.69 for a T-Bone steak with shrimp.
Sides range in price from $1.29 for an egg, to $3.69 for three pancakes. You can add soup or salad to any entree for $1.29.
Breakfasts range in price from $4.39 for biscuits/gravy, to $5.19 for an omelet.
Lunches range in price from $4.69 to $5.09.
Dinners range in price from $6.09 for country-fried steak, to $7.09 for shrimp.
Children (up to age 10)
Breakfasts cost about $2.59 for smiley face pancakes w/bacon, or a Jr. Grand Slam, or French Toast Sticks w/bacon.
Lunches/Dinners range from $2.59 to $3.19, and include Dennysaur chicken nuggets, cheeseburger, mac & cheese, personal pizza, grilled cheese sandwhich or child fish & chips.
Childrens drinks are .99 extra and so is a scoop of ice cream for desert.
~~ SPECIAL FOOD ~~
This is my favorite part! They have a area on their menu called Fit Fare and Carb Watch. Anyone who has not been to Dennys lately has not seen this, as it is new. I have been watching my calories for several months now (Im now down 64 pounds, but whos counting), while my husband has been watching his carbs, so this is perfect for us. Each listing on the menu gives the total calories or total carbs for that meal. Ill start with the:
Breakfasts range in price from $6.09 for the Slim Slam (421 calories), to $7.09 for the Veggie Omelet (my favorite, at only 332 calories).
Lunches range in price from $6.59 for the Boca (meatless) burger (508 calories), to $6.99 for the delicious grilled chicken sandwich (another favorite of mine, get it with onions at 478 calories).
Dinners range in price from $8.39 for the Pot Roast (375 calories), to $8.49 for the Grilled Chicken Dinner (184 calories honestly for the price, this one is not that great, Id pass on it).
Breakfasts range in price from $6.99 for the two eggs, three meat meal (10 carbs), to $7.49 for the Omlette (11 carbs).
Lunches range in price from $7.09 for the burger patty (13 carbs), to $7.79 for the Chicken Salad (10 carbs).
Dinners range in price from $8.89 for the Roast Turkey (11 carbs), to $13.99 for the T-Bone Steak (8 carbs).
~~ ARE THERE SPECIALS? CAN I GET A FREE MEAL?? YOU BETCHA! ~~
OK, I am always looking for a deal, and this Dennys has a great one! On Tuesdays and Saturdays, KIDS EAT FREE! Thats right, from 4-10 PM, you get two free kids meals from the kids menu for every one adult entree of at least $5 purchased. So, on Tuesday, Ill take my girls out, I buy dinner for me, and get their meals for free. I do purchase their milks for .99 cents each, but its not a requirement, and thats fine with me. Sometimes on Saturdays, well go again, this time with my husband, and the kids eat for free again. Free food and no dishes to wash. I love it!
A nice special they offer is Mondays Catch. That means on Mondays, you can get the Fish and Chips dinner for only $5.99 (instead of $8.59). You really, really, REALLY have to try their fish and chips (ask for the seasoned fries as the chips). My 8 year old even loves the fish. Its not greasy or fishy, its absolutely delicious.
~~ IS THIS RESTAURANT REALLY KID FRIENDLY? ~~
Wow, is it ever. The kids have their own menu to choose items from, and they also pass out kids games to pass the time while waiting for your food. They give you a reusable playing board with Candyland on one side and Guess Who on the other (you leave the playing board at the table when you leave). You also get a large card for one of the games with the game pieces that you get to punch-out. Part of the fun is punching out the pieces of the game. Then, let the game begin! You can take home the game pieces if you want to, but we dont. You really need the playing board to play the games.
~~ WEB SITE ~~
You can check out so much at the Dennys web site at Dennys.com There they have a restaurant locator, specials, franchise information, career opportunities, and you can also get their full menu and nutrition information for everything they sell, even their condiments and beverages.
~~ BOTTOM LINE ~~
People seem to associate Dennys with a lowly truck stop. Dennys has done a lot of changes to make themselves accessible to families, and its too bad that they have this stigma attached to them. With Dennys doing these changes, that means that they listen to their customers. If you havent been to Dennys lately, it might be worth checking it out. You may be pleasantly surprised.
?Sherri (cubmomma) 2004