THE EATBEAT: Service is good at Applebee's
Applebee's is like an old friend down on Columbia Road. The restaurant is waiting with a predictable menu and cheery surroundings. For me, it's usually a place for Oriental Chicken Salad. I know what I'm getting because the restaurant is consiste...
Applebee's is like an old friend down on Columbia Road. The restaurant is waiting with a predictable menu and cheery surroundings.
For me, it's usually a place for Oriental Chicken Salad. I know what I'm getting because the restaurant is consistent as it turns out the salad with greens, strips of fried chicken, crisp noodles and toasted almonds. I order the half size, which is $8.59. You can get the regular size for $9.99, but you probably don't need more than the half size. That seems like plenty.
We ordered salads and enjoyed them when I had lunch with friends from out of town recently. Applebee's has a big parking lot, and there usually is a warm welcome at the door.
When there's a birthday celebration, the Applebee staff enters in. They gather around with a large rendition of the birthday song.
Service is good at Applebee's. The staff steps lively, and they are, for the most part, friendly. I was especially pleased with the personality of Shane Wasylow on a recent Sunday evening. He was smiling and friendly -- but not so friendly as to be a bother.
He seems to enjoy his work, although he admitted his legs feel tired after a long shift. I looked over the menus, seeking something substantial, but not too substantial. I was drawn to the choices offered for less than 550 calories.
And I ordered the signature sirloin with garlic herb shrimp for $13.99. It's served with seasonal vegetables, and I found the carrots and broccoli just right. The shrimp portion was excellent, the sirloin adequate.
Another time, I would order Lemon Parmesan Shrimp or Napa Chicken & Portobellos from this menu that shows choices approved by Weight Watchers for less than 550 calories.
Choices at Applebee's are vast. Almost overwhelming. The restaurant has a wide selection of appetizers that seem especially popular in the bar area. There are "succulent" chicken choices along with sizzling steaks. You find pasta and seafood, along with sandwiches and salads.
There are, in fact, too many choices for a person not familiar with Applebee's. And while choices are good, they also can be confusing with two or three menus all presented at once. Those who eat regularly at Applebee's seem comfortable with the menus.
On the plus side, people who eat often at Applebee's choose two full size entries and one appetizer for $20 or $24. And the brownie bite for 99 cents is another plus. It seems just right for people who want dessert but don't want to overdo.
On a Sunday evening in summer, Applebee's was more than half full with a steady stream of customers. People are seated in booths around the upper level perimeter of the large restaurant and at tables on a lower level in the bar area. There are windows all around. In the background, the music was rather blunted. The air conditioning was too cool, but I didn't complain because it would be worse if there wasn't enough.
2851 S. Columbia Road, Grand Forks.
Owner: Apple Core, Minot.
Manager: Nick Eley.
Hours for food: 11 a.m. to midnight.
Carside orders to go: (701) 795-5688.
Report card: Average lunch check is around $8 and dinner around $13 in large restaurant seating 213. Food is good with assortment of special offers. High end is ribeye at $17.99.
Reach Hagerty at email@example.com or (701) 772-1055.