Consumer Reports: Fine Family Food

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Americans dine out at least five times a week, according to the restaurant industry. Consumer Reports survey of chain restaurants turned up several great places for families to eat — especially when you’re on the road.

People spend over a billion dollars a day eating out.

In a just-published survey, nearly seventy-one thousand Consumer Reports readers weighed in on 88 chain restaurants. All told, people answered questions about nearly 166,000 dining experiences.

Consumer Reports' Tod Marks says lots of new restaurants and cuisines turned up in the survey.

"Readers told us about over two dozen chains we had never reported on before. And those chains reflected a lot of tastes including Asian, Caribbean, Cajun and Creole."

The family-dining category covers restaurants with low prices, long hours and family-friendly ambience. Many of the new restaurants had an impressive performance, rating higher than some familiar names — like Denny’s and IHOP.

Even Cracker Barrel — the
top-rated family restaurant for the last decade — faced serious competition.

"The existing chains that we've rated many times before performed as good as they've always done in the past. However, the newcomers came in at such a high level that they raised the performance bar. And that's great news for the consumer."

Two newcomers that rated highly were Le Peep, which emphasizes signature dishes and generous portions, and Original Pancake House, which serves pancakes galore and other breakfast and brunch food.
So, if your family is looking for a place to eat, a restaurant you may not have tried — or even heard of — may be worth checking out.

Consumer Reports says a restaurant that's located in seven states — First Watch — came in at the very top of the family-dining category. First Watch serves breakfast, brunch and lunch only. The food is Southwestern-style with a tropical flair. You'll find First Watch in Arizona, California, Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio and West Virginia.

View more Consumer Reports stories here.

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