What is it: A fudge-filled chocolate cake, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and hot fudge sauce.
Why we love it: Remember that scene in The Devil Wears Prada when Meryl Streep, playing Anna Wintour, breaks down the path of cerulean blue from Oscar de la Renta runway shows to the bargain bins of Casual Corner? Chocolate fondant cake has had a similar evolution, beginning in haute kitchens—many attribute its creation to either Michel Bras or Jean-Georges Vongerichten—then trickling down to, well, places like Applebee’s. You can tell your family this story while eating the Triple Chocolate Meltdown to prove that college was not a complete waste of money.
Shrimp ’N Parmesan Sirloin at Applebee’s14
What is it: Grilled shrimp and a mix of Italian cheeses on top of a nine-ounce Sirloin steak, with seasonal vegetables.
Why we love it: It’s kind of a budget-oriented spin on surf ‘n’ turf, but that’s all good with us—we have no desire to eat lobster at Applebee’s anyway. Throwing cheese on the whole thing is the type of gratuitous touch that we look for from chain dining. High fives all around. Find a location.
What is it: A grilled cheese sandwich made with American cheese and four fried mozzarella sticks stuck between two slices of sourdough bread. Served with French fries.
Why we love it: Denny’s recently introduced a Middle Earth menu in honor of The Hobbit movie, but don’t be tempted by Gandalf’s Gobble Melt: What you’re really here for is this Frankenfood monstrosity, which ingeniously combines two of the greatest stoner foods of all time into one handheld package. Find a location.