Applebee's has previously been a desparation (there's no others open) place rather than a "go to" place for us. However, this may have changed for the positive based on our most recent visit. While the service has always been excellent at this location, I was impressed with the new menu and drink selections, although I don't care for the makeover from a neighborhood bistro into a full-fledged sports bar (too many distracting TVs in the dining room). Their decor is clean and fresh. My wife and I like the two-for-$20 and two-for $25 menus, and we chose from the latter on this visit. She had a new dish: four cheese macaroni with chicken strips and I had a 7 oz. steak. The onion rings we chose for an appetizer were wonderful: large and with ample but not too much breading. I didn't care for the super sweet BBQ dipping sauce though, and would like them better if you had a choice of sauces. My wife's meal was so big that she took 1/2 of it home. My steak was just right, and cooked prefectly to my medium rare specification. They also substituted fries for the menu choice of mashed potatoes or baked potato, without question. Two things to the negative, (1) unfortunately: my wife and I were both going to order margaritas from their menu, which described the ingredients. However, when I asked if sour mix was also added, they said 'yes' and I was told they couldn't make them without it. A couple of issues here:(a) a true margarita is made with tequila, triple sec and lime--that's it, not a 'filler' of sour mix; and, (b) this obviously brings into play 'truth in menu' from the description. Based on the information, I changed my order to a martini but my wife stuck with what they described as a 'perfect' margarita. It was far from it. Despite the fact that they serve a 'sidecar' in the shaker so you can get more than one drink, it was so full of sour mix that it was all she could taste and after finishing the shaker believed that there was little or no booze in the drink at all. (2) They appear to be trying to gradually replace their wait staff with a machine, which provides menu items, allows you to order drinks or summon the server, and pay your bill without the server. I've seen this now at several chains: at the least they will have fewer servers for more tables over time, and at the most they will eliminate servers altogether. I still prefer the personal touch of a dedicated server, and hope that this trend toward automation doesn't expand.
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