This past October, Friendly’s Restaurant closed 63 locations and filed for bankruptcy. One of the casualties occurred in my hometown of Northbridge, where I first learned the pleasures of a dessert-centric meal. Opinions are often strong when it comes to the Friendly’s experience, with most believing that the chain falls short on service and food quality. Fortunately, there are a few who feel that Friendly’s is not only worth saving, but worth celebrating as a flavor factory of pure indulgence.
Friendly’s is not a 5 star restaurant. You will not get exceptional service and fine fresh ingredients. What you will get is great tasting food delivered with a smile. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that Friendly’s has terrible service. It takes forever to get their meals, or the waitress is incompetent. Honestly, of all the times I have eaten at Friendly’s I have had no more than two negative service experiences. It’s probably something like 1 out of 30. Every other time I have had no complaints. Regarding the food quality, if I were ordering a steak or some kind of grilled fish I would be very concerned about the quality of the ingredients. But since I am ordering chicken sandwiches, hamburgers, fries, and similar dishes I do not require farm fresh products. I require exceptional flavor and good (not great) quality ingredients. The Friendly’s experience is not about flare, but flavor. They deliver big on flavor.
In an age where American obesity poses a monumental health crisis, Friendly’s did not bow to the pressures of political correctness. What they did was invent a hamburger that wins the medal for highest calorie content of any chain restaurant. Someone somewhere high in the Friendly’s hierarchy decided to create a sandwich with two grilled cheeses for buns. What boldness at a time when McDonalds is forced to post their nutrition facts, and soda machines are being expelled from schools. Let us applaud them for staying true to self as a restaurant dedicated to dishing out delicious food.
Friendly’s ice cream is above criticism. It’s not the greatest homemade stuff you can find at a local stand, but it is still creamy and flavorful. Their frappes are thick, and their soft serve treats are on par with Dairy Queen. Try Hunka Chunka PB Fudge, it’s awesome.
Of course, everything I have said comes second to the fact that Friendly’s houses the greatest sandwich in the history of mankind: the Honey Barbeque Chicken Supermelt! If there was a sandwich flavor scale that went to 10, this sandwich would require an entirely new scale in which it would score an 8. To put it another way, it is an 18 out of 10. If you haven’t had it yet, leave your house immediately and drive to Friendly’s. It is like the best day of your life manifesting itself in a sandwich meant for the king of some country where chickens are worshipped. Eat the fries too. They are out of this world.
Friendly’s is just a place to eat unhealthy and delicious food at affordable prices. It’s not trying to be anything spectacular, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s simple, and simply satisfying. The choice is yours.