Pros: The great food; Lots of choices; Attentive service
Cons: Poor beer selection; Dark interior might not fit your mood
Ruby Tuesday is a sit- down restaurant chain that was founded in 1972 by Sandy Beall, a University of Tennesse student who came up with the concept for this restaurant while still in college. Named after the hit single Ruby Tuesday by the Rolling Stones, Beall opened up his first restaurant near the university and it has since grown to more than 700 locations in 39 of the 50 states and in some foreign countries as well.
Ruby Tuesdays has one of the best, most diverse menu selections of any American- style, sit- down restaurant. Here is a breakdown of the food choices:
Appetizers- Start off your meal at Ruby Tuesday with one of more than a dozen different appetizers, including choices like cheese fries, Queso and chips, buffalo wings, chicken tenders, cheese sticks, veggies & dip, and others.
Soups & Salads- About five different salads and five different soups are offered, with such choices as Buffalo chicken salad, low- carb peppercorn chicken Caesar, onion soup, chicken chili soup, etc.
Fast & Fabulous- This includes options like unlimited salad and soup bar, sandwich combo, wrap combo, and loaded baked potato combo.
Burgers & Sandwiches- Twelve different styles of hamburgers, along with fish sandwiches, chicken club, and roasted turkey sandwiches can be found in this part of the menu.
Wraps- These are like sandwiches in a tortilla, with choices such as pepper jack burger, peppercorn chicken Caesar, roasted turkey, turkey burger club, veggie burger, and others. Using the wrap, in place of bread/bun, makes these a good choice for those on low- carb diets.
Specialties- These are some of Ruby Tuesdays dinner options, and they include about fifteen choices like Church Street chicken, Stacked steak, Shrimp Azteca, Smoky Mountain chicken, Creole Catch, and others along with several low carb and low fat options.
Pasta- Here, you will find about six choices including Sonora Chicken Pasta, Pasta Marinara, Chicken Parmesan with Pasta, Shrimp Alfredo pasta, and others.
Ribs & Tenders- Spicy honey BBQ ribs, Memphis ribs, Barbecue tenders, Buffalo tenders, and other meaty choices are included in this part of the menu.
Steaks- Choices here include Rubys ribeye, Spicy Honey BBQ ribeye, Sirloin tips, Top Sirloin, and a few others.
Desserts- Ruby Tuesdays offers a handful of dessert options, including choices like Strawberry Tallcake, Strawberry shortcake, Chocolate shortcake, Chocolate Tallcake, Low fat cheesecake, Blueberry DLite, and Blondie (a cookie pie with nuts, chocolate chips, caramel, and vanilla ice cream).
Beverages served at Ruby Tuesday include Coca- Cola products, misc. choices like tea and lemonade, approx. 10 to 15 different wines, bottled and draft beer, specialty drinks (Megaritas, Tuesday Martini, Ruby Relaxer, Ruby Runner, and others), and your choice of mixed drinks, from the fully- stocked bar. There is also a Kids menu, for children 10 and under, with junior- sized portions of food.
Ruby Tuesday tries to maintain a certain ambiance inside its restaurants. The lighting is soft and it illuminates from hanging, Tiffany- style light fixtures, above the tables. The walls are covered with old- time photos of celebrities and other things and there is usually woodwork and other fixtures, giving the restaurant a more intimate feel. The seating consists of booths and tables, and there are usually (but not always) a few barstools at the bar, for casual dining or drinking.
Music is piped into each Ruby Tuesday, and it varies a little from place to place. It is usually something softer, like pop or soft rock music. There is no jukebox, so you have to accept the music that you get. You can also expect to see a few television sets, placed in each corner of the restaurant, and usually tuned- in to sports programming.
Food pricing at Ruby Tuesday is average and very much in line with other sit- down restaurants of similar style. A sandwich platter will cost you between $6.00 and $9.00 (not counting the price of your beverage) and dinners sell for anywhere from $8.00 to $14.00.
Soft drinks will cost you about $1.75 each, but this includes unlimited refills. Alcoholic beverages are constantly on sale, and its common for the happy hour to continue through the dinner hours, offering $1.50 mugs of beer and other good discounts on mixed drinks and wine.
Ruby Tuesday has an employee or two at the front, ready to greet each guest as they enter and take them to their seat. If you visit during peak hours, they could be a wait for a table and, unfortunately, the bar area at most Ruby Tuesdays isnt very big so there may very well not be a place to sit and wait. You may be stuck standing while you wait for a table to open up.
Waiters and waitresses are very accommodating at Ruby Tuesday. They will quickly service your table, often bringing a soft drink refill before you even ask for one. They are helpful and friendly and I can honestly say that I have never had a problem with the staff at this restaurant.
Ruby Tuesday is one of the better restaurants of its type and also one of the easiest restaurants to find. Not only is this establishment growing rapidly, with more than 700 locations, but many of these locations are in shopping malls. In fact, the first time I ever dined at this restaurant was on a trip to a mall. I remember that the restaurant seemed a little out of place, considering that just about every other restaurant in a mall is a fast- food establishment with walk- up service. I didnt know what to expect when I walked in for the first time, but it looked like a decent place, so I gave it a try.
Today, about 18 years later, Ruby Tuesday is still one of my favorite restaurants in its class (American food, sit- down service). I appreciate the fact that Ruby Tuesday has so many menu selections to choose from and so many choices that are great- tasting and reasonably priced. I usually go for the Hickory Chicken sandwich or one of the twelve different burger selections when I dine here, but on occasion, I have been known to try something different, like the delicious Spicy Honey BBQ Ribeye Steak or the chicken tenders platter. Its often very difficult to decide what to eat. This is in sharp contrast to many other restaurants, where I already have a good idea what is good and what isnt as soon as I walk through the entrance. With Ruby Tuesday, it is often a tough decision with so many great- tasting food dishes to choose from. They all have a good- sized portion of food without going overboard or leaving you feeling cheated. And they all taste fresh and delicious.
One change that Ruby Tuesday has made recently that is very helpful to dieters and others who are wary of excessive calories, carbohydrates, and fat, is the updating of its menus. Ruby Tuesday has revamped its customer menus and now all food items include the total calories, grams of fat, net grams of carbohydrates, and the grams of fiber. After each menu item, there is a row of four numbers separated by slashes, indicating the total amount of each (for example, if a menu item shows 600/26/30/6, this would mean there are 600 calories, 26 grams of fat, 30 grams of carbs, and 7 grams of fiber). I dont think any other chain restaurant offers this much information on its menus. Many restaurants include the nutritional breakdown for the low carb menu, but I think Ruby Tuesday is the first national chain to include this data on every single item on the menu. Its a very nice, helpful service and Ruby Tuesday deserves to be congratulated for taking the lead in this area. Even for people who are not dieting (like me) this is still a nice feature. I can look at the calories and fat and decide what to get based on how hungry I feel at the time. If my stomach isnt growling, I can look down the menu for something a little less filling, like the Chicken tenders platter, which has only 883 calories, with 51 grams of fat, 66 grams of carbs, and 6 grams of fiber. On the other hand, if Im hungry enough to start chewing the table cloth, I can opt for a heavier, more caloric meal, like the Collosal Burger, which contains 1,677 (The most of any item on the menu) calories, 114 grams of fat, 73 grams of carbs, and 5 grams of fiber.
Ruby Tuesday restaurants are a little bit dark on the inside. Add to this the fact that many of them are located inside shopping malls, and you have an atmosphere that is sometimes completely devoid of any natural light. This is something to consider, if youre the type who enjoys the bright rays of sunshine through the window while you dine. With the stand- alone restaurants, this is not an issue, because they have large windows to allow light to pass through. For me, I dont really mind the darker interior. It gives the restaurant a more home- like and more intimate feel.
The beer selection isnt very good at Ruby Tuesday, and this is one of my few complaints about this establishment. They usually have draft and bottled beer to select from, but the beer snobs among us will be very disappointed. There is usually only one craft beer among the ten or so selections (it is usually Sam Adams Boston Lager). The rest consist of the usual mass- market swill, like Bud, Bud Light, Miller Lite, Coors Light, etc. I dont expect to have multiple selections of craft beer available on draft when I go to a restaurant. But a few more selections in bottled form would be nice.
In many ways, Ruby Tuesdays reminds me of TGI Fridays and other American- style restaurants. The atmosphere is similar, and the menu options are very diverse in both places. Personally, I prefer Ruby Tuesday to most of these other chains, mainly because of the great- tasting food. It sometimes takes a little longer to get served at Ruby Tuesday after placing an order, but I can wait a few more minutes if I know the food will be better than average. And Ruby Tuesdays food selections are very good, and priced right.
Overall, Ruby Tuesday earns a positive recommendation from me. The ambiance, the customer service, the prices, and (most importantly) the delicious food options make it one of my favorite chain restaurants. The diverse menu and attentive service from the staff make Ruby Tuesday a good choice for family dining and casual gatherings.
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