She Said: Fanfare Eatery
I’m always excited to try new restaurants. When I saw that there was a new quick service restaurant from Great American Restaurants I thought that we could try it. After all I like their Glory Days Grill concept and that seemed like it would bode well for it being a place I would enjoy.
I was wrong.
The atmosphere of this place is definitely a problem for me. First, of you are almost assaulted by the way-too- loud and practically obscene rock and rap music. I realize that it makes me sound about 90 that I’m complaining but it was really too much. I listen to my music fairly loudly but this was ridiculous. Also I don’t really want to hear music about hell or someone’s girlfriend’s butt while I’m trying to wait on my food. It didn’t give me an atmosphere that made me feel comfortable or like I wanted to stay. We got our food to go. This place is loud inside and outside!
At first the prices of the restaurant look like they would be cheaper than getting food from Glory Days Grill but they aren’t. By the time we added a side item we paid almost as much (within a few cents) as the food costs at the sit down restaurant.
My favorite thing to get at Glory Days Grill is a grilled chicken sandwich with bacon, barbecue sauce and Swiss cheese. It’s a yummy treat! I thought that I would try the grilled chicken sandwich here to compare it to the more expensive version. It was disgusting. The bun was yeasty, the tomato and lettuce were pale and tasteless, and the chicken was damp and flat. However the most offensive thing about this sandwich was the pickles. I love pickles! These pickles tasted like they were brined in water. I have never had a more revolting pickle than the one on this sandwich. I was ready to be sick after tasting it. I didn’t even remember that it had cheese on it until I saw the picture of it! How do you ruin Swiss cheese? I got fries with my sandwich and they were overly salted and blah
RJ wanted to try a ripper (deep-fried hotdog) and I said okay because I had been craving a hot dog (but I’m not really eating them because of trying to get pregnant, I just wanted a bite). He was excited about getting one because he had rippers on a food/travel TV show. What we had was not a real ripper experience. The hot dog was as leathery as on old cheap belt. He also got onion rings with his sandwich, which weren’t very good, but I don’t like onion rings very much anyway.
Chocolate milkshakes are a big deal to me. Where I come from in East Tennessee there is an amazing fast food place Pal’s that has the best milkshakes in the whole world. So anytime I try a milkshake they are held up to the “ are they as good as Pal’s test”. I realize that I have yet to find anyone that can make even a close second but this shake was a joke. It was heavy but not really thick. The chocolate had an almost tin like taste to it.
I got a terrible stomachache from this food and for the whole rest of the day whatever I ate or drank (except water) didn’t really taste great either. I tried to eat some plain crackers to help with the nausea but even that didn’t help. I felt better the next day but who wants to be that sick from just eating lunch?
Fanfare Eatery stinks. I cannot say again how much I hate this place. It’s too loud, too expensive, and they can’t even make a decent chicken sandwich. I’m not eating here ever again.
Rating ( for everything!!!)- 0
He Said: Fanfare Eatery
Kari and I were looking for somewhere familiar that we hadn’t eaten before, so we ventured out to Fanfare Eatery. This restaurant from Great American Restaurants asks the question, can Glory Days food be brought down a notch or two to fast casual? The only reason I can see to ask this question is to develop a concept that can be exported easily to every city in the country. They must be looking for the next Five Guys. When something like Glory Days works so well, why else would you cheapen it? We liked Glory Days quite a bit, and at first glance the menu is very similar, but cheaper, so why not right?
We ordered the rippers (fried hotdogs for the uninitiated) plain, with onion rings, and the chicken sandwich with French fries. We also got a chocolate milkshake. The sides were extra, which took us right back up to the prices of Glory Days, so again, why? Sorry, I’ll try to move on.
The rippers came in pretzel buns, so the overall effect can be rather salty. I’m a fan of salt, so I didn’t mind too much, but others might. We had stayed away from the rippers before because they were fried, and based on what I’d seen on travel food shows, were a different experience from a grilled or boiled dog. This delicacy of New Jersey is supposed to have a different texture. The name comes from the fact that the hot dog is deep fried until the casing “rips” open. They didn’t get nearly that far. I detected no difference from a traditional hot dog, save the blackened color of the outside. I even pealed off a piece of the skin to see if I could tell anything, but alas, the skin felt and tasted like the skin of any other hot dog I’ve had, and there was no visual indication of any actual tearing of the skin. To be fair, I haven’t had the rippers offered at Glory Days, so it maybe that this is a faithful adaptation and the original maybe just as uninspired. I can’t see any sign that these wieners were actually fried though. The onion rings were average. They’re well cooked. The batter was tasty, but didn’t stick to the onion well. That’s the Achilles heel of these rings, the batter sometimes had holes in it, leaving unpleasant burnt onion.
The chicken sandwich was not nearly as good as the Glory Days version. We both love the chicken sandwich from Glory Days. They both have bacon and swiss cheese so they should have been pretty much the same right? Wrong. The big difference is the barbeque sauce. At Fanfare it isn’t even an option. That leads to a drier overall chicken experience. The pickles are also different, but I liked them. I’m guessing that means they aren’t very good pickles though, because I’m not a big fine of the typically briny taste of most pickles. I would never order this again. The fries were great, as always, but they cost extra.
While we waited we shared a chocolate shake and it was really good. They advertise the use of Hershey’s chocolate in the milkshakes there, and I could really taste it. It was thick, but not unmanageable with a straw. This I would get again.
So to answer my own question, no, this does not work. Part of the fun of Glory Days is that you’re sitting around with friends, enjoying food that, while not haute cuisine at least feels like it was made for you. Turning this into fast casual resulted in a turn and burn mess that I would never go back to.
Onion Rings Rating-3
Chicken Sandwich Rating-0
Chocolate Shake Rating-7