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Dining Out & Where you should stop next!

Chain restaurants are everywhere – malls, main streets, airports – and they always have patrons that are packing out the parking lots. What is it about chain restaurants that allows them to have continued success? Consistency? Their name? Is it really the food they sell? Whatever it may be, it seems to be working. When I drive by some of the smaller, more local restaurants, they don’t seem to be as crowded as the big-name chains. I’ve had many great experiences at these smaller places – there are more options on the menus, the vibe of the restaurant gives you a homely feeling, the prices are just as good, if not better, than these big places – you’d be doing yourself a favor by choosing one of these places over a chain.

I recently visited a chain restaurant with a friend – won’t say which chain, but it’s one of the larger ones for lunch and dinner. The food was subpar – it seemed like frozen food that was microwaved, maybe tossed on a grill if I was lucky. The service was fine, nothing to write home about. The pricing wasn’t great for the food that I got – the entrée was more than what it should have been based on the portion sizing. Oh, and the mashed potatoes were awful. I’m not sure how you can manage to mess up a dish like mashed potatoes, but they tasted more like heavy cream than potatoes.

I’m not saying that people shouldn’t go to a chain restaurant – they have their pros and their cons – but I do think people should at least give a thought to the smaller restaurants that are nearby. Long Island has a deep history – there are great spots all over the island where you can find exactly what you’re in the mood for that won’t break the bank. 

Our very own chef, Tom DiMonti, is fantastic at what he does – he’s been in the business for a long time and knows how to make a dish the right way. Consider Pine Ridge when you’re heading out for the night – Tom can make dishes in a way that a chain restaurant wouldn’t be able to.