I love chain restaurants. Good, cheap food in a family friendly atmosphere that has a little something for everyone. Wherever you live in Maine, you're probably not too far from one.

It's hard to pick favorites, but I've managed to single out these five restaurants at the top of my list when I want to go out to eat with the family.


5. Friendly's

Two words. Super Melt. Okay actually it's two words mashed together on Friendly's menu just like the cheese in their signature sandwiches are mashed together with things like steak, tuna, and chicken then grilled to perfection. They also have the best kids menu of any chain. Don't forget the ice cream!

Maine Locations: South Portland, Windham



It used to be called the International House of Pancakes, but today just goes by the simpler IHOP. If you're a house of pancakes you know to do flapjacks. You can get about any variety of pancakes you can imagine. They also have a ton of other breakfast items, and even burgers when you want breakfast for dinner but that other person in your party can't wrap their brain around that concept. I'll take the Rooty Tooty Fresh 'n Fruity stack, usually with bananas, but I'll mix it up. Hold the whipped cream.

Maine Locations: South Portland, Auburn


3. Applebees

There are Applebee's all over the state of Maine because they have something for everyone at a great price. They do half-off apps, two meals with apps for $20 and have a large selection of adult beverages including their perfect margaritas. I'm addicted to their four cheese mac and cheese topped with bacon and honey pepper chicken tenders. So good!

Maine Locations: Portland, South Portland, Windham, Biddeford, Brunswick, Sanford, Auburn, Oxford, Augusta, Waterville, Thomaston, Bangor and probably more that I missed.


2. Texas Roadhouse

There's always a line at Texas Roadhouse, yet the wait still never seems to be too long. How many chain restaurants do you know that let you pick out the steak you want before they cook it? How many restaurants period? With country music blaring, staff dancing and birthdays celebrated on a saddle, it's always a party at Texas Roadhouse, and the food is pretty amazing as well. I don't know how they make those rolls so delicious! They're also not afraid to drop peanut shells all over the floor. Got a peanut allergy? Texas Roadhouse is not for you.

Maine Locations: South Portland, Augusta, Bangor


1. Red Robin

This is the chain restaurant that I eat at more than any other, and earn a lot of free burgers for it. Red Robin will put about anything on a burger for you. Portobello mushrooms, caramelized onions, bleu cheese, onion straws, onion rings, crazy amounts of bacon and then there's their newest addition and my addiction. The Buzz Mac 'n Cheese Tavern Double. It's an awesomely delicious burger topped with mac 'n cheese, pepper jack cheese, tomato, lettuce and spicy buzz ranch sauce on a sesame seed bun. Pair that with their bottomless fries and your adult beverage of choice and you are in burger heaven.

Maine Locations: South Portland, Augusta

That's my list. What would you include on yours?