Take these chains from my heart and set me free

You make a good point but I think Wagamamas and Nando’s are very different. Wagamamas started as one place doing a take on Japanese comfort/fast food. Expanded too quickly, went pan Asian and quality dropped quite steeply.
Nando’s on the other hand was fairly well established outside the UK. It did basically one thing ( piri pri chicken and chips) knew how to do it and did what they did well. They also built quite slowly at first. Not my favourite but the standard and menu is not that different now to my first visit 15 years ago. The same can’t be said of
Wagamamas .

This may be the key. I’m thinking of Gourmet Burger Kitchen , which didnt. They had two branches nearish to me. Very decent burgers, IMO (with chef, Peter Gordon, acting as food consultant). But then they realised they had over-reached themselves and scaled back significantly (both of my local ones disappeared in theit “big cull”).

Ah, didn’t know the full history. In the early 2000s it still wasn’t too bad.

Yesterday I saw “they” are building another Taco Bell! Why?

Because it sells? Full disclosure–I’ve honestly never set foot in TB. There are plenty of independent, inexpensive Mexican places in the area.

I’ve never been in one either, and perhaps they are even MORE inexpensive .

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What do you think of French chain café Paul? I was surprised to see them everywhere in the world from UK to USA. Here I will eat when I need to get a sandwich or a breakfast at the train station or airport, but wouldn’t enter one in Paris or other cities, where you can find better viennoiseries or desserts.

We ate in a chain called Pret a Manger in Manhattan recently, where they have several locations, and were surprised at how good it was. Then we saw it in Paris too, but didn’t go in.

Pret has been in NYC for years. I always loved going to them, though slightly disappointed that some of my UK favorites (like prawn cocktail) weren’t carried there. I wish we had Pret in SF.

Have never seen the chain Paul in the USA. I did get a better-than-expected croissant from them at CDG.

Prêt à Manager is English, I think. I used to see them in Asia, only recently they start to operate in France.

They have shops in NY, Washington and Miami, according to the USA site.

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Yep, a British company. Over 450 outlets in 9 countries, apparently

Taco Bell fulfills a need. There are not taco trucks on every corner, no matter what fears are stoked in the American cauldron.
I prefer Taco John’s, but I don’t have any near at all.

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What is the need, at least in California?
We don’t have a lot of taco trucks where I live, but there are taquerias. Not on every corner, but lots. Google says 12 non-chain taco places within 2.5 miles. I imagine the Taco Bell might appeal to some of the high school crowd, but I’m still shaking my head.


Why do we need Domino’s or Papa John’s in NYC? Chains always have their fans.


There’s a Domino’s and Papa John’s in NYC?


FWIW, I’m not saying NONE, but why so many, at least in my town? Folks around in this area say this town is known for chain restaurants. You sure don’t see that many in Napa, nor Davis, which are relatively close by.

Anyway, I’m done. No more complaining from me.

The presence of so many Subways in Philly always amazes me . . . there are really good hoagies on almost every block.


The last time I went through Penn Station in NY, there was a Pizza Hut where a slice joint used to be. This was maybe 20 years ago, though.

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Taco Bell has its place.
I have probably eaten at Taco Bell 80 times over the last 40 years, maybe more. I probably average 3 times a year, and would choose it over KFC, Arby’s, Hardee’s, if I was at a food court or near an interstate junction.

I like the full spectrum of low brow to high brow Mexican, and most foods on the Tex Mex - Mexicali - fast food - gringo Mexican spectrum, too.

I choose indies over chains when I have a choice, especially when travelling, but I would choose Taco Bell over quite a few fast food joints, if I was stuck in a foodie wasteland.


What do you get? Just in case.

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