It’s full title is Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill + Bar, and it’s been part of the American casual food scene since 1980. Today, the more than 1,900 locations in 15 countries are owned by Dine Equity, the parent company of IHOP.

I wanted some ribs. There is something primordial about chomping down on a bone that touches the DNA that was bred into our ancient descendants. Applebee’s was nearby, so in I went.

After a quick perusal of the menu, one of those big publications that could serve as light blanket on a chilly night, I ordered a half-rack of Double Glazed Baby Back Ribs. It came with two sides, but the guys at corporate who decide the menus must have sold garlic futures short, because the pungent bulb seemed to be a prime ingredient in a lot of the choices.

I’m not an extraneous garlic fan, so that cancelled the mashed potatoes and green beans; the mac and cheese looked good, but too many calories, so finally I went with garlic free steamed broccoli and coleslaw.

Service was quick, and soon I was looking down on a substantial rack of ribs covered in thick, sweet sauce. These were the ribs, not the well advertise riblets which aren’t ribs at all but a flat strip of thin of meat and round bone that are cut from the sides of a hog’s spine behind the rearmost rib.

As I dug into my rack of ribs, I got confused as to what cut of ribs I had. The rib bones were long, thin and round, not what I would expect from baby backs, which usually have shorter flatter bones, St. Louis cut, or spare ribs, and not what the picture on the menu looked like. The bones slipped out of the meat making it easier to eat with a knife and fork rather than the gnaw-it-off-the-bone technique. The sauce was very sweet, the rib meat overall tender, but occasionally on the chewy side. While the waitress provided me with extra napkins, a wet wipe for finger cleaning afterward would have been a nice touch. The broccoli was tasty and well cooked, but the cole slaw, which did not seem to have any type of dressing, was bland.

One of Applebee’s claims to fame is quick lunch service. They may even offer some type of discount if you don’t get one of their lunch specials within a specific amount of time. While the ribs were not offered as a lunch special, the time from order to delivery was quick indeed.

What do you think of the food and servce at Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill + Bar? Send suggestions and ideas to or visit