cheesecake at cheesecake factoryI've been told I have psychic powers by many, many people, so will you please indulge me in a little experiment? Close your eyes and visualize your very favorite restaurant. First, picture the exterior of the restaurant; now, imagine yourself walking through the doors, being seated in a booth, flagging down a server, placing the order, and eating your favorite dish. Are you picturing it? Good. Now, I bet I can tell you exactly where you are: It's The Cheesecake Factory, isn't it?

No?! Well, there's obviously something wrong with YOU. According to a new poll by consumer market researcher Market Force, The Cheesecake Factory is America's favorite casual restaurant chain. It beat out the likes of other popular eateries like Olive Garden and Outback Steakhouse, but if you ask me, it wasn't much of a contest.

How could it have been a fair playing field? When it comes to favorite restaurant chains, The Cheesecake Factory has an unfair advantage because it exemplifies everything that Americans hold dear:

Not only are the portions absolutely MASSIVE, but the menu at The Cheesecake Factory actually lists items that contain more fat and calories than one person should consume in two to three days. Don't believe me? Let me remind you of a certain Pasta Carbonara With Chicken entree, which has 2,500 calories and 85 grams of saturated fat. And don't forget the 2,730-calorie Bistro Shrimp Pasta. Americans live for stuff like that!

Of course, The Cheesecake Factory has something that any top American restaurant worth its salt must offer with no exceptions: A skinny menu with "healthy" choices (which, in this case, are entrees with "only" 590 calories or fewer). This way you can order something from the diet menu, wash it down with slab of cheesecake, and still congratulate yourself on being "healthy" -- it's the American way!

Finally, you wouldn't be a real American if you didn't save room for dessert. Obviously, this is how The Cheesecake Factory ultimately won its No. 1 spot in our hearts: By offering gigantor hunks of sugar, cheese, and fat in such tantalizing flavors as Ultimate Red Velvet Cheesecake and White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle. In fact, the cheesecake is so tempting, we're blind to the fact that there are other desserts -- let alone other restaurants! -- that may compete for our affection.

Is The Cheesecake Factory your favorite restaurant?

 

Image via NCinDC/Flickr