Best Chain Restaurant

Houlihan's

Be it the décor, the food, the drinks or the conversation, it's hard not to find something to like at the Brentwood Houlihan's. For those who recall the previous mid-county Houlihan's that for years occupied the north end of the Saint Louis Galleria, this new stand-alone location is a definite upgrade — soft lighting, spa-like walls of stone and wood, cozy booths and an ample outdoor patio. The food isn't bad, either: everything from a $26 filet mignon to a $5.75 order of spicy chicken and avocado egg rolls. (We've taken a liking to the $4.25 Tuscan white bean salad.) Even more expansive than the food menu is Houlihan's list of drinks. There's beer, of course, and a dozen white and red wines that can be ordered by the glass or bottle. But it's the froufrou drinks that really impress, from chocolate martinis to strawberry gin lemonade and — gulp! — nine Long Island iced tea versions. The Brentwood location sits adjacent to the SpringHill Suites hotel, which means Houlihan's horseshoe bar almost always hosts a few out-of-towners looking to engage in idle chitchat. Start by asking them how many varieties of Long Island iced teas they can name.

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