So, stuck in the middle of surburbia for lunch once again, the wife and I decided to try a new chain restaurant... well, new to our area anyway. We stopped by Claim Jumper for a late (3:30) lunch. The place is freaking huge, we estimated about 500 seats in the dining area and about 100 in the bar, it was about 10% full when we went. I asked the waiter if it ever gets filled up and he laughed and replied that weekend waits can run upwards of 3 hours!
The restaurant is brand new so it was very clean. Our server was great, effecient and relaxed, and knew the menu well. The menu, by the way, is huge. I had a tri-tip dip and the wife had a mini pizza and app salad combo. The salad was great, fresh mixed greens, walnuts, pears, some veggies and a nice light dressing. The pizza was what you would expect from a none pizza/Italian place, not too bad though. The tri-tip was super tender and well flavored, cooked just above med. rare. We also gave in to a red velvet cupcake. My wife is an expert on these. She said that the frosting was spot on, but the cupcake was slightly dry, still good.
Now, I've ripped some chains on this board before, namely PF Changs and Applebees. But this was a very refreshing chain restaurant experience. We never felt rushed, we were able to relax and we got some good food. Is this an above average chain in general? We did go at a slow time so maybe more attention was paid to our dishes. Anyone else care to chime in? We may go again, but I'm scared it can only go downhill from here.