Pros: Great breakfast, reasonable prices, good service, clean restaurants.
Cons: Boring dinner, no real "atmosphere".
Why am I bothering to write a review of a restaurant that already has hundreds of reviews? Because, lately Denny's has become one of our favorite places for breakfast. It has replaced IHOP as our go-to place, when we're craving eggs and pancakes. We find the quality of the breakfast, and the service just as good as IHOP, and as far as value for the dollar, Denny's actually wins.
Note that I keep referring to "breakfast" even though Denny's serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That's because as much as Denny's knows how to do breakfast, and can manage to put together a fairly decent lunch, they do not shine at dinnertime. In fact, that's probably their biggest problem. Their dinner foods are just not great. But more on that later.
For now - let's look at breakfast:
Denny's is known for their "slams". Currently offered are the Lumberjack Slam, the All-American Slam, the French Toast Slam, The Grand Slamwich, and my personal favorite, the Build Your Own Slam. The Lumberjack and All-American slams contain obscene amounts of food - the only difference is that the Lumberjack includes two eggs, two pancakes and ham, where the All-American includes three scrambled eggs with cheese. Both also include bacon, sausage, hash browns, and bread. Like I said, a lot of food. The French Toast Slam includes the obvious main feature plus eggs, bacon, and sausage. The Slamwich takes a whole bunch of yummy stuff (eggs, cheese, bacon, and ham) and grills it all into a huge sandwich. Served with hash browns, for only $4.99, this is a real bargain. But I like to build my own Slam. You can pick any four items from their list of 10 items. My favorite combination is two eggs, English muffin, pancakes, and sausage. It's a huge breakfast, for only $5.99.
My husband tends to go for the omelets. Served with hash browns or bread, these are giant three-egg dishes, filled with all kinds of delicious ingredients. Or, you can have a "scramble" where they use only two eggs, mix all the stuff together, and add bacon, sausage, hash browns, and pancakes. None of these items cost more than $9, so whichever you choose, it's a good value.
So how does it all taste? Wonderful! I have no complaints about their breakfast foods. They look perfect, taste wonderful, and are always served piping hot.
There are other breakfast items, too. Various steaks, skillets, sandwiches, and burritos. But for me, I just want those eggs and the pancakes.
How about lunch?
Well, I must confess, half the time that I come to Denny's during normal lunch hours, I end up ordering breakfast, anyway. They serve it all day long, so why not? But if I do feel like having more traditional lunch foods, I particularly like their Super Bird sandwich. Turkey, cheese, bacon (which I leave out) and tomato on grilled sourdough bread. Served with fries (but they let you substitute a salad, soup, fresh fruit or vegetable), it is absolutely delicious. I also like their salad with grilled chicken. It's a fairly large salad including lettuce, cukes, tomatoes, onions, and cheese, with a grilled (or fried) chicken breast.
Or, if I'm feeling particularly naughty, they happen to have really good burgers, nachos, chicken wings, and onion rings. Not the healthiest choices, I know, but occasionally you have to have some fun, right?
If you are trying to be really good, they have a veggie burger, grilled tilapia, and several other salad options.
On their entire lunch menu, there's no item more than $10.
OK. So what about dinner?
Well, Denny's has many dinner options, and some of them look pretty good on the menu. But it's been my experience that they're just not great. They have steaks, chicken dinners, meatloaf, fried shrimp, and grilled tilapia. Most items come with your choice of two side items. They used to have baked potatoes on their menu, but not anymore. Now they offer country fried potatoes, hash browns, fries, and mashed potatoes. I'm glad they have several healthier options including green beans, mixed veggies, tomato slices, and vegetable rice pilaf. I've tried some of their offerings, and honestly, they are really nothing to write home about. Everything is very plain. Ranging from $8 to $17, some of the items are bit more expensive than I would like.
But what about service?
Here's where Denny's gets some very high marks from me. There are two Denny'ses (Just what is the plural of Denny's??) near me. And I always receive very good service at both of them. The hostess is always friendly, and the wait staff very attentive.
A few other comments...
"Atmosphere" at Denny's is nothing special. The restaurants look very plain, with no particular theme. The ones by me have a counter, and two large dining rooms. They also offer baked goods such as apple pies and cheesecakes for take-out. The restaurants are clean. And, at least at the ones near me, there is ample parking.
I signed up for their email club, and receive tons of coupons from them. Sometimes they offer a buy one/get one, other times it's for a percentage off of the bill. Even though Denny's prices are reasonable to begin with, it's always nice to get an even bigger bargain!
To summarize, Denny's is great place for breakfast, an "ok" place for lunch, and not so good for dinner. It's a shame, with all it has to offer, that it has such a difficult time breaking into the dinner market. Still, for a delicious breakfast, that delivers high value for the dollar, I would recommend it.