The first Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar restaurant opened in 1980 in Atlanta, GA. But it wasn’t called that until 1986 — initially the restaurant had the rather ponderous name T.J. Applebee’s Rx for Edibles & Elixirs. And in fact, the founders, married couple T.J. and Bill Palmer, considered both the names Cinnamon’s or Pepper’s, passing on those only because they were already taken by other businesses registered in Georgia.
Today there are nearly 2,000 Applebee’s locations spread over nearly a dozen countries and in every state except Hawaii. The restaurant is a favorite with millions of families, for casual lunches with friends, after-work dinner and drinks with colleagues, and for anyone who wants a decent meal at a good price.
And indeed many a decent meal is available at Applebee’s, which serves everything from soup to salmon to burgers to beer in an atmosphere that is warm and welcoming and with a staff of Applebuddies (yes, that is what the employees call themselves) who are friendly and helpful.
That said, there are also a number of things on the Applebee’s menu that you should avoid like the plague, for they may well have a plague-like effect on your tastebuds and body. There is a multitude of nutritionally horrific meals, sides, and dessert options on the Applebee’s menu, and there are a handful of meals that are terrible taste-wise, too. Here are 12 Applebee’s items that should be a hard pass.
Applebee’s Loaded Baked Potato soup is loaded with fat
The Loaded Baked Potato Soup at Applebees may be delicious comfort food, but it’s little comfort to know some of the stats about the soup, which will more than max out many of your daily recommended values in several categories. The soup is an average of 600 calories per serving, with more than 300 of those calories coming from fat. It has 36 grams of saturated fat, which is 16 grams more of these unhealthy fats than doctors recommend the average adult consume daily. And while the soup does taste great, when you realize what’s behind that taste, you may well opt for something else.
In order to create a batch of the soup to serve four to six people, the ingredients are in part, according to Applebee’s own site: "2/3 cup butter, 7 cups milk, 10 to 12 strips bacon, 1 and 1/4 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese, 1 cup sour cream." There are also some potatoes in there of course, but it’s the cheese and the cream and the bacon and such that are providing most of the taste. And the calories. And fat and saturated fat and sodium, of which there are 1,290 milligrams, FYI.
Avoid Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad Wrap at all costs
The words "salad" and "wrap" call to mind light, healthy fare you can enjoy without guilt (or self-loathing) and without worrying about the diet you should be maintaining. Now here’s the wake-up call: you would need to eat three Big Macs from McDonald’s plus a handful of fries to equal the 1,800 calories stuffed into Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad Wrap entree.
Granted, the meal comes with a side of fries and a vinaigrette sauce that add to the calorie count, but regardless it is a terribly unhealthy meal option. Worst of all is indeed the fact that this meal may seem to many people to be a healthy choice, when in fact, a plate of ribs or a bacon cheeseburger is less caloric and fat-filled. If you must have a chicken salad wrap, at least go for the Oriental Grilled Chicken Salad Wrap, which cuts out more than 100 calories, 120 of which are from fat. Though it’s even higher in sodium, so you’re still not winning.