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Friendly's on Atkins / Low Carb

Friendly's is an ice cream / family restaurant chain that began in Springfield, Massachusetts. How can you eat here on a low carb or Atkins diet?

First off, Friendly's now has a Carb Fabulous Menu - an insert strip in their main menu. The back side of the Carb Fabulous Menu is their low fat menu, so they are covering all the bases :) When we got two menus, one had the insert and one did not - so if you don't get the insert, ask for it.

The menu had a number of items on it. There were three soups including broccoli and chicken noodle. The broccoli was 7g at $1.99. There were salads at $2.99 with 5g, and a bunless bacon-cheeseburder with a side of broccoli at $6.99. The grilled chicken salad was $7.29 and had 11g. There were no appetizers at all, but there were two ice creams - vanilla and fudge ripple. The single scoop was 6g at $1.29 and the double-scoop with nuts and whipped cream was 10g at $2.49. I have to wonder how a double scoop with toppings can have less than 2 times the value of a single scoop. Apparently they have a unique form of math going on here.

On to the food. We got the bacon-cheeseburger, the broccoli soup and the grilled chicken salad. Well, we tried to - they came back 10 minutes later to say they were out of broccoli soup. I was quite disappointed and got the chicken noodle instead. It was on the slimy side.

The main dishes came. I liked the grilled chicken salad dressing a lot, and did enjoy eating the salad. It had plain lettuce, tomatoes, and that's about it. I thought it should have egg and cukes in it, but no such luck. So the salad definitely could have been more robust, since it was my entire meal. My boyfriend's burger was overdone, and the broccoli was clearly defrosted frozen veggies that weren't cooked very well. They were lukewarm at best. I realize you don't go to Friendly's for gourmet cuisine, but this was pretty bad.

To add to the general dissatisfaction, there were two separate tables of screaming children. The children behind me were engaged in a spitting contest and I literally had spit hitting me occasionally. I realize that Friendly's is a place where families teach their kids how to behave at restaurants, but the point is they are supposed to at least try to behave. Many other diners around me were equally annoyed at the constant screaming and spitting, so it wasn't me being over-sensitive.

We asked for the sundae to go, and she asked if we wanted hot fudge on it. We said nooooooo this low carb sundae shouldn't come with any of those toppings. Off she went. The bill came with the sundae showing up as $1.99 (the price of a regular Happy Ending). We pointed this out, and she claimed that they HAD to put it on the receipt at full price but that when we brought it to the check-out clerk we should tell him we only got the low carb version and he'd take 50 cents off. How many people would realize to do this? Are they making 50 cents a sundae off of each low carbers on the sly? A receipt should say what you should pay, it shouldn't have artificially inflated numbers on it that you "discount if you ask".

All in all, as much as we were thrilled to see the low carb menu, we were extremely unimpressed with the actual food and with the way in which things were handled. If you have kids, at least know that you do have options here - but they're not nearly as good as even the 'standard' menu items at Friendly's.

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