Influential observers took it upon themselves in recent days to proclaim the restaurant industry’s worst offenders on several fronts. Here are the brands they damned as the most Darth Vader-like in such routine activities as busting diets and choosing a name.
Worst enablers of bad eating
The Center for Science in the Public Interest, arguably the restaurant industry’s loudest but most respected scold, turned its shame cannon this week on chains that proudly embraced excess as a customer draw.
Those agents of Satan were very publicly castigated for offering the industry’s worst food from a health standpoint. Their abominations ranged from a 2,310-calorie pasta dish The Cheesecake Factory concocted to serve as a pizza in a bowl, to a three-meat sampler offered by Chili’s.
CSPI noted that Chili’s Ultimate Smokehouse Combo packs more food than will fit on a plate. “So it’s served on a tray,” the group said in announcing the 2017 winners of the annual Xtreme Eating Awards. “Forget the tray. How about a trough?”
The advocacy group seemed more outraged than usual by the “dishonorees” on this year’s list of the most extreme restaurant dishes, apparently het up by the last-minute stop on menu labeling. It even concocted a way to tar Domino’s for lobbying against the calorie-disclosure requirements. The pizza chain was named the inaugural winner of the Xtreme Putting Profits Before Public Health Award.
The following slide lists all eight of the belly-bloating menu items that CSPI named as the industry’s worst in Academy Awards fashion. But keep going to learn what brands earned the dubious honor of sporting the industry’s worst names and the worst fake-news attack.
2017’s Xtreme Eating Award winners
Worst Visceral Effects: Chili’s, Ultimate Smokehouse Combo
Customer’s choice of three meats, plus sides.
Sodium: 7,610 milligrams
Least Original Breakfast: IHOP, Cheeseburger Omelet
Chunks of hamburger and home fries mixed into an omelet.
Added sugar: 44 grams (estimated)
Sodium: 4,580 milligrams
Cholesterol: 1,005 milligrams
Worst Adapted Pasta: The Cheesecake Factory, Pasta Napoletana
Pasta in a cream sauce, topped with meatballs, pepperoni, sausage, bacon.
Sodium: 4,370 milligrams
Worst Cheese in a Leading Role: Buffalo Wild Wings, Cheese Curd Bacon Burger
Burger, cheese, bacon, cheese curds, mayo-like sauce.
Sodium: 4,700 milligrams
Worst Original Appetizer: Dave & Buster’s, Carnivore Pizzadilla
A 12-inch quesadilla topped with four types of cheeses, sausage, pepperoni, bacon, tomato sauce.
Sodium: 4,400 milligrams
Most Damage from a Supporting Vegetable: Texas Roadhouse, 16-ounce prime rib platter
Steak accompanied by sweet potatoes topped with marshmallow and caramel.
Sodium: 5,330 milligrams
Added sugar: 51 grams (estimated)
Worst Cocktail Design: The Cheesecake Factory, Flying Gorilla cocktail
A chocolate-banana milkshake with dark chocolate and banana liqueurs.
Added sugar: 60 grams (estimated)
Most Ridiculous Ending: Uno Pizzeria & Grill, Ridiculously Awesome, Insanely Large Chocolate Cake
Exactly what the name indicates.
Sodium: 770 milligrams
Added sugar: 168 grams (estimated)
Worst restaurant names
The readers and editors of Eater.com invested more than five days in paring down a curated list of awful restaurant names to the industry’s absolute stinker: Blunch.
Kudos to the Name of Groans competition for bringing to light such awful title aspirants as Thelonious Monkfish, Baguetteaboudit, Burger Moovement, The Slow Bone, Meat in a Box, Fonduely Yours and A-Fish-o-na-do.
Worst online put-on?
What has to be the internet’s worst conspiracy theorist has detected the hand of the devil in Outback Steakhouse’s siting strategy, underscoring the need for widespread educational reform.
A Twitter user clearly with too much time on his or her hands went through the trouble of plotting where Outback Steakhouse locates its restaurants in major markets. @eatmyaesthetics then connected those dots on the map and discovered the dispersions formed a pentagram.
Like-minded knuckleheads did the same with stores in their area. Another city, another pentagram.
That was sufficient evidence to suggest the chain might have Satanic underpinnings, even if it didn’t make the CSPI’s honor roll of evil this year.
It wasn’t clear how much of the speculation was tongue-in-cheek and how much was real. But Outback nudged the social media interaction squarely into comedy territory. It declared that the image formed by connecting the locations of stores was actually a Bloomin’ Onion, the chain’s signature appetizer.
“If the Bloomin' Onion is evil then we don't want to be nice," it posted.