Outback Steakhouse – New Hours

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Published on: April 19, 2014

While we don’t always cover chain restaurants, this is a dining review site.  That said, I was at the Outback Steakhouse off Rt 31 in Clay last night, and there were a number of changes.

Most importantly, Outback is now open every day of the week at 11 AM.  That means you can now visit outback for lunch!  I know that for years, many people complained that they had to wait for dinner for a Bloomin’ Onion.  Hehe.


Also, not that it matters to most folks, they’ve done away with their green beans as a side item.  My waiter was equally as perplexed as I was.  He told me that these were one of the most popular sides.

As you may know, the large Outback on Erie Blvd East closed down a month or so ago.  The Clay location is the only one near Syracuse at this time.  The closest others are in Vestal and Henrietta.

Gordon Biersch Brewery

Categories: All American, Casual, Chain, Eat-in
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Published on: April 4, 2014

I keep getting dragged back to the mall. This time it was to see a movie with two of my friends, and following the show we decided to grab a meal at Gordon Biersch Brewery for an early dinner on a rainy Friday afternoon. I had heard that the restaurant brewed its own beer and had some decent food, so I was interested in going.

After the movie, which left us in good spirits with a lot to talk about, we headed to the new wing of the mall to find dinner. Because of the deep affinity for alcohol we share, we decided on Gordon Biersch. We luckily got into the restaurant without having to wait in a line, and the hostess speedily seated us. The restaurant looked pretty full, with mall people, mostly guys with baseball caps and ladies in tracksuits, chattering happily around us. My group immediately flipped to the beer menu, which was a pretty good selection. We were feeling adventurous, as well as indecisive, so we got a beer flight each. The waiter seemed surprised, and then curtly asked us for our IDs. After he left, we raised our eyebrows at each other.


Bonefish Grill

Categories: Casual, Chain, Eat-in, Seafood
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Published on: September 11, 2010

Wall Street’s RecommendationHold/Neutral

The Executive Summary:  An above-average national seafood chain edges out the competition with its understated décor, good food quality and (at least in my experience) superior service.  It’s food will not stand head-to-head with a ‘real’ seafood joint a la the Clam Bar or John’s Atlantic (I’ll review those in coming months) which is why I personally would not go back again, but if you want a more sophisticated family-friendly chain or you’re a local teen looking to do better than Red Lobster for a hot date without breaking the bank on a classier boutique joint, this should do it.

The Full Report:  Arrived at the restaurant and found it floating amidst the parking spaces in the Fayetteville Towne Center (with its Siamese twin, Red Robin), just screaming ‘plain vanilla chain’ which is a shame.   They appear to have made a concerted effort to add a bit of class and ambiance to set it apart from competing seafood franchises like Red Lobster or Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., the latter of which is not in CNY at this time though I assure you is as kitschy as the name implies.


Ruby Tuesday

Categories: All American, Casual, Chain, Eat-in
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Published on: July 27, 2010

My fiancé and I were out doing errands and decided to grab a meal nearby.  Although, it doesn’t stand out along the strip of stores on Erie Boulevard, I did notice Ruby Tuesday and wanted to try them out.  I had never been to this location before, and figured my experiences at the Oswego Ruby Tuesday from college weren’t that bad.  Now, I went in aware that this is a chain, and didn’t expect anything breathtaking.  I just wanted to have a nice, quick meal.

The experience began with the host seating me and my fiancé at a booth with wet seats.  It felt a little gross sitting down and smelled like cleanser, but at least it meant they clean the place I guess.



Categories: Casual, Chain, Eat-in, Fast Food, Mexican
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Published on: May 12, 2010

The wife and I dropped by Salsarita’s on Rt 57 in Liverpool (Glenn Crossing Plaza).  It was a rainy Sunday afternoon, and the only other guests left almost as soon as we got there.  Salsarita’s is a franchised chain serving (Tex)Mex food.  They also have a small bar area were they serve alcohol – mostly margaritas unless I miss my guess.  The menu’s pretty basic – burritos and “Mexican pizza” mostly.  Each of the local TexMex chains – Moe’s, Salsarita’s, and the home-grown Fajita Grill – carry approximately the same food.  They’re almost indistinguishable from one another, right down to the tortilla steamers and meat scoops they use behind the cafeteria-like counter.  The big difference is the lack of enforced enthusiasm and stupid names they use at one of the other chains (“Welcome to Moe’s!  Care for a Joey Bag of Doughnuts today?”).


Red Lobster

Categories: Casual, Chain, Eat-in, Seafood
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Published on: August 19, 2008

My wife and I keep late hours. We both work late into the evening. Many nights, especially in the winter, we go home for dinner, where she whips up something great. I think in 20 years of being together, she’s made maybe half a dozen dishes I really didn’t care for, and 3 I couldn’t possibly choke down. Before you bash me on being sexist, women’s rights, etc. let me tell you – she loves to cook. She just spent an absurd amount of money on re-doing “our” kitchen, in which I am not permitted.

And obviously, we like to dine out as well. So one recent Thursday night, we met at the Red Lobster on Rt 31 in Clay. At 9:30, it’s one of a handful of dining spots nearby that’s open late. Also, as a matter of disclosure, we own stock in Darden – the umbrella company which owns Red Lobster and Olive Garden, and recently sold off Smokey Bones. So we essentially were putting money back in our own pockets (it hurts less to think of it that way). (more…)

Nothing But Noodles

Categories: Casual, Chain, Eat-in
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Published on: August 13, 2008

My wife and I visited the new Nothing But Noodles location in Dewitt recently.

We arrived around 7 PM and the place was busy, but not crowded. Coming in, it reminded me of the old Ponderosa “cattle run” entry, where you’re herded down chutes before getting to the front to order. Large poster-sized menus on the wall offer you a chance to point things out to one another.

It’s an interesting concept – you start with a basic noodle dish, and then add proteins (meat or tofu) which, of course, adds to the price. (more…)

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