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TGI Friday's

1 rating: 3.0
Chain Restaurants

T.G.I. Fridays, the first American casual dining chain, is a dining experience that has become the favorite pastime of millions since 1965. T.G.I. Fridays offers an unsurpassed menu selection of food prepared to perfection, served in a lively, engaging … see full wiki

1 review about TGI Friday's

One of The Oldest American-Style Chain Restaurants

  • Apr 29, 2005
  • by
Rating:
+3
Pros: Atmosphere, Service, and food

Cons: Prices of appetizers and main courses are a little too high.

The Bottom Line: T.G.I. Fridays: the atmosphere is agreeable, the service is always top-notch, the food is outstanding, and the prices, while not as low as I’d like, are reasonable.

I’m never really sure what theme of T.G.I. Fridays from month to month; every time I go into the restaurant the visuals seems to have changed. On my latest visit to an establishment in downtown Chicago on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Erie Street, the theme was decidedly sports. Sport wafting from dozens of very large television sets place high into the black ceiling; lucky me, I had one within eye shot and the Cubs were playing. Not that I follow the Cubs mind you, but it was nice to watch something other then that passing wait staff while I ate.

It was a busy Wednesday recently that found me in the city; I had a voice-over job in the locally famous NBC Tower to do in the late afternoon, and a mid-evening appointment with a client not far from the Tower. In between appointments I had about three hours to kill, so I stopped by the Erie Street T.G.I. Fridays for dinner.

About The Restaurant

T.G.I. Fridays specializes in quintessential American style food. And by that I mean burgers, steak, ribs, and chicken dishes are the centerpiece of the menu. T.G.I. Fridays is a chain-restaurant owned and franchised by Carleson Restaurants International.

The first T.G.I. Fridays located at First Avenue and 63rd Street in New York City opened its doors in 1965. The original restaurant featured the now signature red and white stripes, blue exterior and the moniker—T.G.I. Fridays. From those humble beginnings, the chain has grown to be a nation-wide and world-wide presence with T.G.I. Friday’s restaurants in 54 countries around the world.

Atmosphere & Service

The Erie street T.G.I. Fridays restaurant is a storefront affair, and not a standalone eatery like most. Nevertheless the front of the restaurant is decorated in T.G.I. Fridays signature red and white striped awnings over the windows. The inside of the establishment, which is always semi-dark when (I) we visit, is festoon with an even mixture of booths and tables all decorated with red and white striped tablecloths.

On this particular evening I was greeted at the door by a quartette smiling young women who at first stared at me blankly as I had just flown in from the moon. Finally one asked very sweetly, “will there by just you tonight sir?”

“Yes” I answered back.

“And will that be smoking or non-smoking?” She asked, bright smile still plastered on her pretty brown face. I always choose non-smoking of course. My waitress took a little while to show up, but when she did she was very friendly, and attentive. She took my drink order, disappeared, and not a minute later re-appeared with my Diet Cherry Coke and water.

Inflation has hit T.G.I. Fridays in a notable way; prices have risen a considerable amount since my last visit about six months ago. As is my habit whenever I visit T.G.I. Fridays I ordered the Jack Daniel Burger and I was shocked to find that the price had drifted up to $8.99! Last visit: $6.99. Now it could just be the city; things always tend to cost more in Chicago; I’ll have to check the prices in the restaurant by my house to make sure. In any case the Jack Daniels Burger, which consist of Crispy bacon, smoked Provolone, grilled onions and our signature Jack Daniel’s® sauce, is delicious, and is served with a side of French fries.

To my surprise my burger arrived in a very respectable amount of time; in under 10 minutes, not even enough time to really get into my MySQL, The Definitive Guide. Indeed I (we) have never had to wait longer then 20 minutes for our main course to be served. The food is never cold, or semi-warm, it is always piping hot. Our waitress—or waiter—usually checks in once or twice during the meal, and never hovers or tries to be too attentive; there is nothing worse then being asked multiple time during the course of the meal if everything is okay.

Menu Choices & Food

Appetizers
Salads & Soup
Jack Daniels® Grill
Steakhouse Grill
Ribs & More
Shrimp & Fish
Chicken
Pasta
Burgers
Sandwiches
Beverages
Desserts
Brunch Menu
Kids Menu
Atkins® Approves Menu


As you can see, the selection of food at T.G.I. Fridays is quite extensive, and like most chain restaurants the appetizers are meal onto themselves. And they should be considering the price of most selections. For that reason alone I usually skip the appetizer menu unless of course I am really hungry, then I, or my wife usually get one appetizer—Loaded Potato Skins, which are, “loaded with Cheddar cheese, crisp bacon and served with sour cream and chives,” which we share. The price: $6.99.

For some reason I equate T.G.I. Fridays with burgers and true to form I usually order the restaurants signature Jack Daniels Burger every time I visit. My wife on the other hand tends to stray, but is still likely to order something from the salad or sandwich menu. But T.G.I. Fridays has branched out considerably and offers a full array of food for the discerning palette. I must admit however, that the prices of most of their beef selection (steaks, ribs, etc.) are a bit more then I want to pay.

Not matter what we choose, the meals are delicious; favorable without being over powering; i.e. too spicy. The meat is always cook just right and nothing is over or underdone. At the end of the meal we almost always too full for desert; invariably something always goes home with us and ends upon my wife’s lunch plate the next day. However, sometimes one has to go to T.G.I. Fridays with the express intent on getting the Brownie Obsession (a warm brownie covered in Ghirardelli® chocolate-fudge sauce, vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce and pecans), at the end of the meal. The warm chocolate alone is enough to make my mouth water, but add ice cream and caramel and I am sold; the nuts do it for my wife. Checking in at $4.99 the Brownie Obsession is not cheap, but it is oh so good.

Other Useful Information:

Lunch is served between 11:00am and 4:00pm, and the prices on the lunch menu are usually less then the dinner menu. But then so are the portions. Dinner is served between 5:00pm and 10:0pm.

Alcoholic beverages are available for dine-in only. I am not a beer drinker by I understand T.G.I. Fridays has a full array of domestic and imported beers, and the restaurant does offer low-carbohydrate options for those so inclined.

T.G.I. Fridays specializes in what they call their Ultimate live of drinks, like the Ultimate Mudslide (a chocolate-laced avalanche of Kahlua, vodka, Baileys Irish Cream and ice cream), or the Ultimate Margarita (a blend of Jose Cuervo Gold with a Triple-Citrus Margarita mix of lemon, lime and orange flavors. Served up fresh with slices of lime and orange), or the Ultimate June Bug (a summery blend (whatever the month) of Midori, coconut rum, banana liqueur and pineapple juice). The restaurant also serves cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages are available upon request.

T.G.I. Fridays gift cards are available in denominations of $10.00, $25.00 and $50.00. They can be purchased at the restaurant, over the phone by calling 1.800-FRIDAYS, or on on-line. The restaurant chain does offer catering; either delivery of full service catering is available.

Like most chain restaurants T.G.I. Fridays offers an incentive member card where one can earn points for eating at the restaurant; Gold Point, they are called. But to day we have not earned enough gold points to redeem them for anything; I guess we don’t eat out enough. Good thing the program membership is free.

Conclusion

We are very pleased with T.G.I. Fridays. The atmosphere is agreeable, the service is always top-notch, the food is outstanding, and the prices, while not as low as I’d like, are reasonable given our location.

Our Location(s)

Aurora - T.G.I. Fridays
888 North Route 59
Aurora, IL 60504
(630) 851-6565
(630) 851-6669 (Fax)

Naperville-On The Border
1516 North Naper Blvd.
Naperville, IL 60563
(630) 505-9076
(630) 505-5705 (FAX)


Recommended:
Yes

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