A few weeks back in our post “T.G.I. Craft Beer” I wrote about how T.G.I. Friday’s was incorporating Craft Beer into their menu. So when the Wookette’s begged to go to Friday’s for dinner last night I figured it was a great chance to do a little field research and answer the question, Is TGI Friday’s “Better with Brew”?
I wasn’t expecting a great craft beer experience but I had hoped that even a little craft brew would ease the pain of cheesy casual dining … unfortunately it didn’t happen.
First let’s talk about the food. There were only a few menu items that incorporated craft beer. A starter and a couple of entrees (fish, steak, chicken, and ribs). None of them sounded good and each used the “made with craft beer” tag in the menu description like it was made with “truffle oil” or “magic fairy dust”. None of them said what craft beer was used or even the style of beer. That’s like saying “cooked with wine” or “herbs”. Tell us what kind of beer so we know what flavors to expect. I went with the Brew House Steak … it was a steak, but nothing special and I didn’t taste any “brew”.
Now for the brew. I expected the “brew food” to be mediocre and had hoped for a modest one or two craft brews to salvage the experience. I was again disappointed. When I asked the waiter what craft brews they had on tap he said Pabst and “Some kind of Sam Adams” …. ugh! I opted for a Sam Summer. I later overheard the same waiter telling another patron that they had Harpoon IPA and that it was a lager that was like Blue Moon … ugh!
So my first impression of Friday’s “Better with Brew” is that things are just the same not better. Friday’s will just turn people off from “craft beer”. They should stick with blender drinks, flair bartending, and the things they do well.
If you must hit a casual dining chain I suggest you elect to go with Uno’s. It’s tough to argue with a chain restaurant that has Weyerbacher make their house IPA and host’s tap takeovers during Philly Beer Week. The guys at Friday’s should swing by Uno’s and take some notes.