An unofficial ranking of the free bread from chain restaurants

Carbs are friends and food

The entrance to the Texas Roadhouse restaurant is viewed on May 11, 2018 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images) (George Rose, 2018 George Rose)

The great and wise Oprah Winfrey once said, “I love bread,” and I have never related to a millionaire more in that moment.

I could eat bread all day, every day. An English muffin for breakfast, sandwich bread for lunch and a hot Italian breadstick to sop up some spaghetti sauce for dinner. Give me ALL the carbs.

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Which is why I love going to a chain restaurant for dinner, just so I can enjoy the free bread. Granted, not every chain restaurant offers free bread to its diners (what gives, Buffalo Wild Wings?), but the ones that do are on a whole other level, just because of the bread.

Sure, you can probably get a better meal at a local restaurant. I always try to eat at local restaurants, but sometimes you just have a craving for Texas Roadhouse’s rolls and cinnamon butter, and you just can’t help yourself!

So without further ado, here is my unofficial (yet highly scientific) rankings of the free bread from chain restaurants.

9. Longhorn Steakhouse’s bread

While Longhorn Steakhouse does have good bread, it really isn’t anything to write home about. You do get a lot of it (especially if you’re dining alone or with one other person), but I have never craved it like I do the others. You also have to cut it yourself, and who wants to cut their own bread while out to dinner? I’m not trying to do more work!

8. Romano’s Macaroni Grill’s rosemary bread

The rosemary bread from Macaroni Grill is actually very good, and this could be a controversial pick for some. Honesty, it would be higher up on this list if I actually lived in a state with one. There was one when I was growing up, and I used to love the bread. It’s so much better than eating just a plain roll, and that’s because of the rosemary.

7. Outback Steakhouse’s honey wheat bread

This is honestly so hard because I just love all of these breads so much, but decisions must be made. Again, this might be a controversial choice, but hear me out. The bread from Outback is so good, but it’s a honey wheat bread, and some people just aren’t fans of wheat bread. However, if you’re a fan of honey wheat bread then you probably love this bread. It just loses points for not being a universal bread.

6. Cheesecake Factory’s brown bread

Again, I would die for the bread from the Cheesecake Factory, (as well as their rather large and extensive menu), but it’s a wheat bread, so it’s not for everyone. The only reason this ranks higher than the bread from Outback is because you can buy it at the grocery store. Now that’s what I like to call marketing and branding.

5. Cracker Barrel’s biscuits and cornbread muffins

There’s something magical about going to a Cracker Barrel, isn’t there? It’s one of those chain restaurants that you only go to when you’re on a road trip for some reason, and what other chain restaurant can you shop at while waiting for a table? Besides how great it is, its bread isn’t half bad either. While there is certainly a restaurant with better biscuits on this list, Cracker Barrel gets bonus points for offering cornbread muffins, too.

4. Carrabba’s Italian bread

Alright, this is where we begin splitting hairs. All of these restaurants have delicious bread, but someone has to come up on top. Carrabba’s Italian bread takes the fourth spot, and I can’t tell you enough about how much I love the bread. While it’s a pretty basic Italian bread, they have truly perfected it. The crunchy crust and the soft inside is incredible, and don’t even get me started on the oil and herbs they serve for you to dip in. It weirdly makes you feel like the bread isn’t bad for you because you’re dipping it in olive oil and not butter, which means that I feel better about ordering a giant bowl of fettuccine Alfredo.

3. Olive Garden’s breadsticks

Now before you come at me with pitchforks, just hear me out! I recently made a voyage to Olive Garden for some unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks (is there anything better?), and I had a revelation: the breadsticks aren’t really worth the hype. Yes, they’re delicious, and yes, they really are endless, but at the end of the day they’re just a basic breadstick. The Bosco sticks I used to get at high school lunch are better. They rank so high because, like I said, they keep them coming out and they’re fantastic to use as a dipping vessel.

2. Red Lobster’s cheddar bay biscuits

Cheddar bay biscuit? More like cheddar slay biscuit, am I right? There are so many things that I could say about these biscuits. First of all, they are the superior biscuit from any chain or fast food restaurant. I’m sorry KFC, but these biscuits take home the award. They’re always warm when they come to the table, and the combination of cheesy and salty is truly out of this world. The only reason they didn’t make No. 1 is because there is often a wait for them to get to the table. They’re just that good.

1. Texas Roadhouse rolls

Am I bit biased because I waited tables at a Texas Roadhouse for six years? It’s possible, but there are millions out there who will agree with me. Not only is the roll soft, chewy and buttery, but the honey cinnamon butter that you get to lather the buns with is out of this world. And the best part? They give you so much of it for free. Not only are you immediately sat at your table with a basket of bread, but the servers bring it out to you like it’s going out of style. Trust me, I would know. You can also buy dozens of rolls to-go. How amazing is that? I love you, Texas Roadhouse rolls. Never, ever change.

Do you agree with my picks? Let me know in the comments!

About the Author

Jack is a Digital Content Editor with a degree in creative writing and French from Western Michigan University. He specializes in writing about movies, food and the latest TV shows.

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