12 Worst Restaurants For A Proposal

Getting engaged is one of life's most memorable milestones, and popping the question is as much about the time and place as it is about the ring. If you ask any woman what her ideal marriage proposal looks like, our guess is it would include a romantic ambiance, a little creativity, and a lot of love. It also might feature a nice spread of food, if not a fine dining experience.

The ideal wedding proposal would likely not include intentionally bad service like that of Karen's Diner, messy chicken wings at Buffalo Wild Wings, imitation seafood at Red Lobster, or revealing uniforms at Hooters. We aren't saying these places are a total bust when it comes to popping the big question. But they aren't exactly sure-bets for several reasons.

If you're thinking about getting down on one knee in the near future and hoping to do it at a restaurant, check out this list of places to avoid. Unless the Costco food court has a special meaning or the Cracker Barrel dining room has sentimental significance, you may want to consider a more romantic ambiance. Here are a few other places to keep off your proposal-setting shortlist.

1. Red Lobster

Unless your true love is the famous Cheddar Bay Biscuit, you may want to avoid popping the question at Red Lobster, which was ranked as one of the worst chain restaurants by Mashed food lovers. Overpriced and overpromising on claims it offers sustainable seafood, Red Lobster has been under attack in a class action lawsuit that challenges the legitimacy of their seafood sources, namely the shrimp and Maine lobster, declaring it is not as environmentally sound as the restaurant alleges.

Imitation lobster aside, Reddit users shamed the seafood chain as a date-worthy dinner option, insisting that it's pedestrian and a dull place for a date. If a romantic setting is key to your proposal, other comments suggest you'd have better luck at a duck pond or taking a stroll in a park when compared to dining out at Red Lobster. But, if you're set on the biscuits and bisque to fuel your marriage proposal, the good news is restaurant chains like Red Lobster often cater to food allergies and dietary restrictions. So, if your future spouse is allergic to peanuts, a run-of-the-mill establishment like Red Lobster may be your best bet.

2. Any fast food restaurant

While a proposal doesn't necessarily need to be overly lavish to garner one's hand in marriage, it may need a bit more shine than the glow of the golden arches. Just ask the man who went viral for proposing at a busy McDonald's. In the Twitter video, the hopeful guy presented a ring, after which his (presumably former) lady shook her head "no" and walked away.

If you didn't meet your significant other at an Arby's, Wendy's, McDonald's, or any other fast food establishment, and you haven't had any major relationship milestones at your favorite fast food joint, you may want to opt for a more romantic setting. That being said, if you're set on getting down on one knee at a KFC or Mickey D's, you may want to make sure that more than just the floor is clean. As reported by NBC News, fast food chains across the country have been cited for food safety and cleanliness violations ranging from minor to severe — some of which lead to hospitalization.

3. Chuck E. Cheese's

Even if your spouse-to-be is a lifelong fan of Chuck E. Cheese's animatronic "Munch's Make Believe Band" or "Pizza Time Players," you may want to opt for a more quiet and less chaotic location to make your move. While some locations have removed the outdated animatronic stage characters from the scene, the arcade games and mini carnival rides do not exactly scream romantic. Add a room full of screaming children to the mix, and you've set yourself up for what may be a disastrous wedding proposal. The kid-friendly arcade and pizza chain is also known for hosting birthday parties, and unless you want to be serenaded to some off-tune singing of the "Happy Birthday" song, you may want to reconsider popping the question at Chuck E. Cheese.

Screaming children and arcade sirens aside, a Reddit user also noted that adults at Chuck E. Cheese sans any children may come across as creepy. Exuding uncomfortable vibes is not exactly the wedding proposal scenario most people dream about. Besides, even if you're in it for the pizza more than the proposal, you might be better off eating delivery by candlelight and requesting a hand in marriage at home.

4. All-you-can-eat buffets

While you won't need to worry about bad service at an all-you-can-eat restaurant like Golden Corral or a Chinese buffet, it may not be the most romantic setting to pop the question. The chafing platters under heat lamps and unfresh food doesn't exactly scream engagement. Not to mention the fact that your significant other may be donning stretchy yoga pants or sweats to make room for multiple trips to and from the buffet line, which isn't exactly the outfit they may want to wear for such a momentous occasion.

Chowing down on multiple courses of food without the ambiance of candlelight isn't exactly proposal material, but it isn't the worst idea for a date night. In fact, many diners found at buffet establishments tend to be older couples who have been together for some time. Perhaps the bonding experience of eating until your pants burst is the stuff of everlasting love. While that may hold some truth, there's no justifying getting down on one knee at a buffet restaurant, so we'd suggest opting for something with a touch more romance.

5. Texas Roadhouse

When you plan on proposing to the love of your life, you're going to want to vocalize your deep and everlasting love for that person, and you're going to want them to hear it. But that might not be the case if you get down on one knee at Texas Roadhouse, which was rated one of the noisiest restaurants in America per a Consumer Reports survey of diners. And it doesn't seem like that will ever change for the restaurant, whose response to the survey was that they are "proud to be loud."

However, if line dancing, country music, and a nonstop jukebox are the elements that create your epic love story, then by all means let honky-tonk be the background for your marriage proposal. It may not scream romance, but Texas Roadhouse does boast a lot of character and personality as far as restaurant ambiance goes. Plus, if your bride or groom-to-be loves really good barbecues like fall-off-the-bone ribs, then who are we to say you can't find true love at a Texas Roadhouse?

6. Buffalo Wild Wings

One of the best parts about getting engaged is sharing photos of your engagement ring with family, friends, and your social media network. Being prepared for the inevitable photograph by having a fresh manicure is certainly an added bonus. However, lathering up your hands and nails in buffalo sauce before donning a new diamond ring is less than not ideal.

Not only will your fingers be covered in buffalo sauce, which is part of the fun of eating at Buffalo Wild Wings in the first place, but spicy food is also known to trigger watery eyes and induce sweat (via WebMD). You may already be sweating from nerves, and tearing up may not be out of the question when popping the question. So, do yourself a favor and don't make it worse by eating a bunch of wings beforehand. 

The famous wing joint is lined with television screens playing every sporting game imaginable. So, the only time it may be appropriate to propose at a Buffalo Wild Wings is if your significant other is obsessed with sports. For the fan who loves wings or was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, this could be the perfect place for you to get engaged. But if that's not the case, you may want to consider a more romantic setting.

7. Cracker Barrel (unless you're in it for the free food)

On the plus side, proposing at Cracker Barrel on (or around) Valentine's Day may net you free food for an entire year. But it also requires you to upload a video of your proposal on social media for all the world to see with the hashtag #ISaidYesAtCrackerBarrel. If your beloved says "yes," it's a win-win with homestyle food for a year plus eternal love as your reward. 

A roadside stop since 1969, you can order Cracker Barrel favorites like Country Fried Steak, Chicken n' Dumplins, and Macaroni n' Cheese. You can't exactly go wrong with soul food, especially when appealing to one's soul for eternity. Plus, the signature rocking chairs make for a romantic innuendo of growing old together. That said, if your loved one isn't a fan of country-style cooking, antique décor, and American history vibes, this probably isn't the place for you to get down on one knee. 

8. Dick's Last Resort

It apparently takes a "warped sense of humor" to appreciate the ambiance and service level at Dick's Last Resort, according to a TripAdvisor review. Unless your soon-to-be fiancé is a fan of dirty jokes, cold beer, sarcasm, and bad service, this is not the restaurant we'd recommend popping the big question at. Other reviews note servers swearing at each other across the restaurant, overpriced food, and paper products covering the floor. It takes a unique character to appreciate the ambiance at Dick's Last Resort on a normal night, let alone a romantic occasion.

There's also the unique training program at Dick's Last Resort, which encourages employees to poke fun at patrons by writing rude and inappropriate things on giant white hats that the guests must wear. Some such hats have proclaimed things like a customer's farts smelling like pumpkin spice. It might not be the worst insult we've ever heard, but who knows how far they'll go when you're getting down on one knee at the reputably crass establishment. Unless you find a way to convince your server to write nice things on your hat, you might be setting yourself up for the wrong answer by popping the question at Dick's.

9. Karen's Diner

Unless your bride-to-be's name is Karen, you may want to steer clear of taking her to Karen's Diner. With a valid I.D., any person named Karen will score a free beverage, but that's about all that is in it for her. Otherwise, gear up for rude service and an interactive dining experience with a bunch of, well, Karens, also known as "a middle-aged busybody with a blonde choppy bob who asks to speak to the manager" according to The New York Times. Complain all you want about being patronized by your server, no manager is going to do anything about it. So if you want to be mocked, ridiculed, or even interrupted during your marriage proposal, perhaps this is your spot, but if not, we'd suggest picking a different restaurant.

The only redeeming quality you'll find at Karen's is the food, and Insider reports you'll be treated to a decent burger, stiff drinks, and perfectly crisp sweet potato fries. That being said, if you make a mess with your finger food, don't even try to ask for a napkin because you will be sorely disappointed with the response. So if you feel like slipping a ring on a finger that may be covered in ketchup or buffalo sauce, this is definitely the restaurant for you. 

10. Costco

On the one hand, Costco is certainly a one-stop shop for all your wedding needs, from the proposal to the big day. You can purchase just about everything you'd need to tie the knot with your significant other, including the engagement ring, wedding bands, flowers, invitations, catered food, and table decor. You can even buy honeymoon vacation packages as part of the ultimate Costco experience.

That's not to say there isn't something romantic about the giant wholesale store, especially for a practical couple who enjoys heavily discounted goods and cheap hot dogs. In fact, a couple even got married in the chain warehouse to celebrate originally meeting in the store's food court. Wholesale groceries aside, the hot dogs and pizza offerings are notoriously delicious and crave-worthy, but it doesn't exactly scream romantic marriage proposal setting. Plus, not only is Costco one of the largest retailers in the country, but it's also one of the most popular pizza chains in the United States. So if you're hoping for a discreet, or at the very least, a quiet proposal, this is not where you'll find that kind of peaceful romantic setting due to the influx of patrons.

11. Hooters

This iconic restaurant is known for its chicken wings, cheap beer, and revealing uniforms, but probably not its romantic vibes. First off, your soon-to-be bride will likely be surrounded by other beautiful women while dining at Hooters. Plus, she'll also likely be indulging in some greasy finger food like their famous chicken wings, elements that aren't exactly what dream proposals are made of. It would take a very secure woman with a unique sense of humor to appreciate a grand romantic gesture like a proposal going down in a restaurant like Hooters.

The only redeeming factor for getting down on one knee at a Hooters is the option to escape if things go south. Here, the bartender will help you get out of there faster than you can say "I do." Simply ask for an angel shot neat if you'd like to be escorted to your vehicle. If the proposal date is a bit more dire, order your shot with ice and the bartender will personally call you an Uber or taxi to get you the heck out of there. If your proposal turns into a borderline dangerous situation (you are theoretically proposing marriage at Hooters, after all), order yourself an angel shot with lime and your bartender will call the cops on your behalf.

12. Dave & Buster's

If you're looking to ask for your partner's hand in marriage, you want to avoid doing so at Dave & Buster's, especially during UFC fight nights. The popular arcade chain restaurant is known for hosting loud and rowdy viewing parties. That's a lot of excitement for what should ultimately be a romantic evening. Though the strawberry watermelon margaritas are notably delicious and the menu even boasts some surf and turf options, the noisy arcade games and flowing draft beers don't exactly conjure up feelings of everlasting love.

There is one circumstance where Dave & Buster's could lend itself to a memorable engagement — if the person popping the question were to somehow stash the ring at the prizes booth. It would take some ingenuity and smooth-talking (and perhaps a big tip) to get the staff on board, but it certainly wouldn't lack originality. You'll want to feel pretty confident that your better half's answer will be yes, though. Dave & Buster's is generally a busy restaurant with a lot of loud patrons floating around, making a public rejection that much more humiliating.