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Posted on Saturday, November 17th, 2007

Dave!There's many disadvantages to living in a small town, but one of the biggest would have to be the lack of variety in restaurants. In the entire valley, there are only three restaurants that I eat at with any regularity... the rest either don't interest me, or have disappointed me badly enough that I don't want to go back.

Tonight the last thing I wanted to do was go shopping for groceries or pull something out of the freezer for dinner. I wanted to hop in the car and go out to eat. Problem is there was nothing that I felt was worth going out for, so I ended up eating frozen pizza. Again. And it sucked. Again.

It got me to thinking about the restaurant chains out there that I would love to have set-up shop locally...

  • BURGERS: Johnny Rockets. Oh how I love their "Streamliner" veggie burger with no grilled onions, no mustard, and add American cheese. I would eat there at least once a week... probably more... if there was a local franchise. Wenatchee has a Red Robin which I like, and a local drive-thru called "EZ Burger" that's great, but nothing compares to Johnny Rockets.
  • SANDWICHES: Panera Bread. Their Mediterranean Sandwich is heaven on earth, and I don't get to eat them nearly often enough. We have a Subways which I loathe because of their spokes-whore Jared, and a Quizno's which I am boycotting after they killed the veggie sandwich. I need me a Panera Bread!
  • MEXICAN: Qdoba. Their signature burritos are awesome and, though we have many decent Mexican restaurants around, I'd trade them all for a Qdoba just so I can get their veggie burrito.
  • PIZZA: David's Pizza. They make the best pizza on earth, and what I wouldn't give to be able to have a slice of "DaVinci" without having to drive over 3 hours to Spokane to get it. I'm counting this as a franchise because they opened up a second location at the city's Geiger Field Airport.
  • ITALIAN: Il Fornaio. I actually would have chosen Cucina! Cucina!, but the entire chain has been gutted until there's only one restaurant left in Issaqah, so I guess it's not a chain anymore. Il Fornaio probably wouldn't be able to survive in my area, but their Cappellacci di Zucca is freakin' amazing, so I'd have to choose them anyway. We do have one local Italian restaurant which is decent (and one that sucks total ass) but nothing really inspiring.
  • INDIAN: Maharaja. Actually, I'd settle for ANY Indian food but, alas, there isn't a single Indian restaurant in the entire valley. On top of that, I don't know of any Indian restaurant chains to pick from. The closest I can think of is a series of Maharaja Indian Cuisine restaurants in Seattle, so I guess that's my choice. They make an Eggplant Bharta that is orgasm-inducing good.

Gah! Now I'm hungry, even though I just ate.

Categories: Food 2007Click To It: Permalink


  1. Hilly says:

    There is a restaurant in Sacramento that makes an even better Cappellacci di Zucca than Il Fornaio. Oy, now I want Il Fornaio, except I am craving Gnocchi Alla Sorrentina!

    Also, no exaggeration, there are two Panera’s within 3 miles of my front door. I’ll send you one :).

  2. Lisa says:

    We just had a new pizza joint open up around the corner – Garlic Jim’s. Not too shabby, though it’s a bit harder to rate when the kiddo insists on ordering the canadian bacon / pineapple / mushroom instead of one of the gourmet specialties.

  3. Gecko Rock says:

    I don’t understand the fascination people have with Panera and Qdoba. My preference is for Chipotle!

    I lived in California for five months. I do miss the venerable In/Out Burger.

  4. bogup says:

    What a rip not to have any good place to eat and a consequence of living in a smaller town. But, of course, there are also many disadvantages in the crush of a larger metropolis. What is one to do? Not easy to buy loads of ingredients and prepare it when you really want to go out and have good food served. Maybe someday there will be a parachute delivery service by Amazon for any restaurant food you want.
    Now that would be worth paying for, eh?

  5. Iron Fist says:

    I thought I wasn’t hungry anymore, and then I read this post. Dang.

  6. I LOVE Johnny Rocket’s streamliner soya burger, pickle only, add cheese and bacon (OH HUSH, I know. I like the soya burger better than the regular one and I like bacon on my burger.)

    And here in the bay area, we have Pasta Pomodoro which is sort of fast food-ish but not really. It is a chain but they have this eggplant, smoked mozz and pesto sandwich on foccacia that I could eat every single day of my life. They also have the yummiest polenta with brown butter, sage and parmesan. *DROOOOOOOOOOL*

  7. Bre says:

    I’m a big fan of Panera Bread soup, myself

  8. claire says:

    I’m always getting the soup & half sandwich combo at Panera… whenever I’m shopping an hour away from home. We’re supposed to be getting one, and I even think I know which storefront it’s going into but they’re taking their sweet ass time about it. I want Panera now!

  9. Kyle Rivenbark says:

    Gahh this reminded me of how they closed the only johnny rockets in my town a couple of months back i was so ticked, no more goodburgers anywhere. do they have any moe’s burritos up in your part of washington ?

  10. ajooja says:

    Oooooooo, yeah. The soup and half-sandwich deal is great.

    We don’t have any of that stuff in my small town either, but it’s hard to drive by two miles without seeing a Panera Bread or Qdoba.

    BTW, the people in my office incorrectly pronounce it kuh-doba. It bothers me to no end. 🙂

  11. Webmiztris says:

    funny – they just put in a Panera Bread in my town and I didn’t like it. wanna switch towns? 😉

  12. SJ says:

    We have a local chain of Indian restaurants called India Palace that are so freaking beautiful inside, I’d pay money just to sit there and listen to the music. I might have just a small order of Karahi Paneer …

  13. Wayne says:

    I gotta say Red Robin’s “Royal” is the best – bacon double cheeseburger with a fried egg on it. ’nuff said.

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