Chain v. Locally Owned

What do you do when you want to go out to eat at a really nice restaurant but you have to go out with another couple whose tastes in restaurants runs toward Perkins and Applebees? This problem came up during the holidays. Normally, we would have gone to a favorite place like Centro, or Mojos. But we have taken them to the locally-owned restaurants in Des Moines before and they declared them to be “strange.” The menus, decor, and food at those high end restaurants do not remind them of the Applebee’s, Perkins, or Macaroni Grill that they love. No plastic menus, the menus change, pizza isn’t like Dominos, fewer than fifty entree choices, the list goes on and on. It is an alien concept to me: that chain restaurants are naturally the best and that locally owned restaurants are just pretenders, hoping some day to become a chain restaurant. I had never thought that idea could be in somebody’s head but I am always surprised. Oh well, what can you do? But, since I was buying, I was not going to waste a lot of money on unappreciative palates. I did waste my time explaining to them that all of their favorite chain restaurants get their food out of a freezer or plastic bag and that the (non-pasta) dishes are almost entirely made in large factories run by companies like Sysco, US Foodservice, and Performance Food Group. So, we looked for a place that might have more of a popular appeal while still not resorting to serving defrosted factory-made entrees.

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