Chain Restaurants Potato Skins Ranked From Worst To Best, According To Customers

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Typically loaded with cheese and bacon, potato skin appetizers offer a delightful textural contrast between crispy and crunchy potato skin and the soft and light interior — not to mention a wide of array of toppings to complete the treat. This dish is common at big-name chain restaurants and is usually served with sour cream or ranch sauce, either of which adds a cool and slightly tangy element that complements the rich and savory flavor of the potato and its other toppings. While most restaurants stick to what's now considered to be the classic version of potato skins, some establishments have taken advantage of the dish's versatility, experimenting with somewhat unconventional toppings such as jalapeños.

The semi-hollowed baked potato halves were invented at some point back in the '70s, although their exact origins are still unclear. To be somewhat more specific, three restaurants claim credit for inventing the snack. These include the TGI Fridays restaurant chain, R. J. Grunts in Chicago, and the Prime Rib restaurant in Washington, D.C. Regardless of their origin, however, what's certain is that these savory treats have become a beloved staple in many restaurants across the United States.

Whether you're a potato skin enthusiast or just eager to sample the tasty bites, picking the right restaurant to eat them can feel daunting. Look no further. Here's our list of some of the best and worst potato skins at chain restaurants across the country, as declared by diners who really ate them.

10. Macado's: Potato Skins and Spicy Potato Skins

With dishes such as Fried Pickle Spears and Irish Nachos that are served with chili, jalapeños, and black olives, it's obvious that at least some of the appetizers on the Macado's menu aren't all that worried about sticking with conventional forms. When it comes to potato skins, Macado's doesn't hold back either. True, you can savor what has become the classic version of potato skins. Or, Macado's can help you to kick things up a notch with its Spicy Potato Skins. Filled with a blend of cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, jalapeños, black olives, and onions, this menu item offers an innovative twist on the otherwise standard potato skin appetizer.

Unfortunately, Macado's potato skins have failed to receive the thumbs-up from many of the chain's diners. One reviewer complains that the skin arrived in a seriously disappointing condition. "The food came cold and missing all condiments/sauces," they wrote. "Cold potato skins; no sour cream." 

Another diner had a similar experience, noting, "They didn't provide the dip with the potato skins, which is what makes them. Weren't any good without the dip." The complaints don't stop there, with another dissatisfied reviewer commenting that their potato skins arrived to the table burned, and yet another claiming that the portion they were served was smaller than it had been in the past. Perhaps this dish is best left to other restaurants to handle.

9. Logan's Roadhouse: Made-from-Scratch Loaded Potato Skins

There's no denying the longstanding culinary tradition that steaks and potatoes go hand in hand. The pairing of a perfectly seared steak with a side of creamy mashed potatoes is a timeless classic that, to many very happy diners, simply never goes out of style. It makes sense, then, that a well-known steakhouse chain like Logan's Roadhouse offers various renditions of this culinary combo of protein and carbs. 

For those not in the mood for mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, or baked potatoes that are served at Logan's Roadhouse, there's an alternative. Diners can complement their meat entree with a serving of loaded potato skins that are made with melted cheddar cheese, bits of bacon, and green onions. They are also served with the obligatory blob of sour cream.

Yet, as much as other menu items may hit the spot, the Made-from-Scratch Loaded Potato Skins at Logan's Roadhouse have received mixed feedback from diners. Some satisfied reviewers have called the appetizer their favorites and the best version of the dish out there, while others find them underwhelming. One unhappy reviewer describes the chain's potato skins as bland, adding that they were filled with cheese but offered little else in terms of toppings. Another patron agrees that the dish was very cheesy, but complains that whoever prepared them seemed to have cut corners. "Only the very top was melted," they wrote. "As you began to cut them open the cheese underneath was still cold and not melted."

8. Uno Pizzeria & Grill: Pizza Skins

Even upon first glance, it's clear that the Pizza Skins served up at Uno Pizzeria & Grill don't quite fit the typical definition of potato skins. The elements are there — cheese, crispy bits of bacon, and the obligatory bits of potato  — but the presentation can be surprising.

While the look may be shocking to some more traditional diners, we can't deny the fact that this take on potato skins is a unique and interesting twist on the classic appetizer, which certainly makes them worthy of our attention. What makes them so unique? Instead of using traditional potato skins as a base, Uno Pizzeria & Grill's Pizza Skins are built on a deep dish pizza crust, incorporating mashed red bliss potatoes, cheddar cheese, and bacon. The dish is served with a dollop of sour cream.

Most diners commend Uno Pizzeria & Grill for its Pizza Skins, with one reviewer saying "We opted for the pizza skins and were pleasantly surprised at how good they were especially the crust from being cooked in the cast iron pan." Several other pizza skin enthusiasts agree, calling the dish their favorite, and describing it as great and amazing. On the downside, one reviewer describes the pizza skins as simply gross, complaining that they were served with barely cooked dough.

7. Ruby Tuesday: Potato Skin Appetizer

Priding itself on only using the freshest ingredients, Ruby Tuesday has been around for some five decades. Founded by a University of Tennessee student and named after a Rolling Stones song, the restaurant has since become a staple of the casual dining scene. Today, the chain offers a diverse menu with items that range from deconstructed kabobs and stuffed mushrooms to sticky ribs and pot roasts. One of the chain's standout appetizers, known plainly as the Loaded Potato Skins, comes with melted cheddar cheese and crispy bacon bits. As is standard at so many other spots, the dish comes with a side of sour cream.

While we haven't found many online reviews of the Potato Skin Appetizer that's currently available at Ruby Tuesday restaurants, the feedback we did locate is mostly positive. For instance, one satisfied reviewer says: "I had these this weekend, and they are delicious!" Another diner mirrors this opinion, saying that the chain's potato skins are good, but noting that they found tape on their bacon sandwich. On the flip side, one customer roundly criticizes the establishment and its potato skins, saying, "Ruby Tuesday's used to be decent. Had a great salad bar & [I] loved their potato skins. Then they went white table cloth & black clad waiters & made the salad bar fancy." For this customer, at least, potato skins may be too humble for Ruby Tuesday's perceived turn.

6. Black Angus Steakhouse: Loaded Potato Skins

Listed alongside some of Black Angus Steakhouse's other potato-based dishes, such as the chain's Loaded Baked Potato Soup, Classic Baked Potato, and Au Gratin Potatoes, this popular chain restaurant's Loaded Potato Skins are both crunchy and cheesy. Usually served as an appetizer, they set the stage for the restaurant's more substantial meals such as its top sirloin, grilled salmon, and BBQ baby back rib meals.

Given the classic American steakhouse setting, perhaps it won't surprise you to learn that the Black Angus Steakhouse's Loaded Potato Skins don't deviate far from the norm. Order them, and you'll soon see that they are topped with a blend of cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, bacon, sour cream, and green onions. Aside from being available as a separate dish, they also feature on the chain's generous Wagon Wheel Sampler Platter alongside chipotle Buffalo chicken tenders, fried garlic-pepper zucchini, and a shrimp cocktail.

The Loaded Potato Skins have received praise from most diners, with one reviewer claiming they had stayed good through serious upheaval in the restaurant industry. "Hadn't tried Black Angus in some time due to Covid-19. Decided to drive 20 miles to fill a void," they wrote. "[I've] been craving their potato skins. Just as good as always." Another reviewer seems to agree with this opinion, commenting, "We ordered potato skins which were good. Six large potato skins came out with a side dish of sour cream. [...] Will probably go back if in the area."

5. Claim Jumper Steakhouse: Loaded Potato Skins

Just like its name suggests, the Claim Jumper Steakhouse specializes in prime cuts of beef. And while steak is the highlight of the Claim Jumper's menu, the chain also offers plenty of other delicious dining options. The restaurant's starters are a case in point, showcasing a diverse range of flavors and ingredients meant to whet a variety of appetites. Some of the chain's appetizers include Seared Ahi Tuna, Lemon Pepper Zucchini, and Spinach Artichoke Dip. There are also a bevy of classic favorites that happen to include an order of Loaded Potato Skins made with melted cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, bacon, and chive dip.

Claim Jumper Steakhouse's Loaded Potato Skins have received overwhelmingly positive reviews from customers, with perhaps the only complaint being that the dish doesn't look much like the photo on the menu. On a positive note, one reviewer at Find Me Gluten Free recommends the restaurant, adding that "I can't get enough of their loaded potato skins" (however, it's worth noting that other gluten-intolerant diners report issues with cross contamination). Other diners agree, calling the appetizer delicious and on point.

4. O'Charley's: Loaded Potato Skins

While the first O'Charley's restaurant opened its doors in 1971 Nashville, Tennessee, it didn't become a chain until 1982, Today, the restaurant has more than 65 locations across the U.S. and is widely recognized for its classic American cuisine and casual dining ambiance. To that end, its menu features an extensive range of dishes that include the standard array of sandwiches, salads, and steaks, offering customers an impressive selection of classic comfort foods. O'Charley's also doesn't disappoint when it comes to potato-based dishes, either, according to many customers. Some of these include the chain's Loaded Potato Soup, as well as its Loaded Baked Potato, Smashed Potatoes, and Loaded Potato Skins with cheddar cheese, bacon, green onions, and sour cream.

While the Loaded Potato Skins at O'Charley's haven't received a great deal of feedback online, they did exceptionally well in the O'Charley's 2020 Playoffs, reigning supreme over the chain's Spicy Jack Cheese Wedges. One TripAdvisor reviewer clearly agrees that O'Charley's' potato skins are pretty decent, adding that "They didn't skimp on the toppings" though the customer wasn't exactly bowled over by their experience.

3. TGI Fridays: Loaded Potato Skins

According to one story, potato skins were invented by a chef at TGI Fridays in 1974. "As legend has it, one of our cooks was making our mashed potatoes in the back of the house, and decided to drop the potato skin in the fryer. When it came out, he threw our proprietary fry seasoning on it, added cheddar and smoked bacon, and the rest is, as they say, history," TGI Fridays VP of concept development, Matt Durbin, told Eater. Whether the story is true or not, the chain has certainly done its share to popularize the savory snack amongst chain restaurants.

TGI Fridays' Loaded Potato Skins are made with melted cheddar and bacon. Unlike many other versions of the dish, which are served with sour cream, the chain's rendition of the bites comes with ranch sour cream and green onions. The dish also features in a TGI Fridays combos with wings, mozzarella sticks, and pan-seared potstickers. TGI Fridays has also released a frozen version of the snack available in grocery stores, which currently boasts a pretty impressive rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars from Target customers.

The restaurant version of TGI Fridays potato skins has received praise from many of its diners. One reviewer says: "We were hooked on the boneless ribs and potato skins. It was a favorite of ours for lunch. Reasonable pricing and tasty food." Other impressed diners have glowingly described the menu item as delish and delightfully scrumptious.

2. Texas Roadhouse: Tater Skins

Sitting alongside other popular Texas Roadhouse appetizers such as the chain's Fried Pickles and Rattlesnake Bites, the restaurant chain's Tater Skins are a definite crowd-pleaser. Loaded with melted cheddar cheese and bits of bacon, the eight potato skins in each order are served with a scoop of sour cream. While the chain's rendition of the savory snack comes with a rather typical list of ingredients, it rates highly with customers due to its combination of flavors, textures, and colors.

As such, the Tater Skins on offer at Texas Roadhouse have received pretty consistent praise from the chain's diners. Abel Callado of Stories and Reviews gives the appetizer a generous five out of five stars, adding that the cheese and bacon complement the crunchy texture of the potato shells perfectly. Another reviewer says that they love the chain's Tater Skins. "I travel a lot and have been to many [Texas Roadhouse locations] across the country. Never disappointed," they wrote. "The potato skins are the best of any place." 

Yet another diner, who ordered the chain's potato skins alongside several other dishes, says that it was perfectly good, though perhaps they weren't utterly stunned by the quality. "The food came quickly and was delicious," they wrote on TripAdvisor. "We were happy with the taste, amount of food and overall presentation."

1. 99 Restaurants: Classic Potato Skins

In 1952, Charlie Doe founded 99 Restaurants, naming it after the establishment's initial address at 99 State Street in Boston. Eager to make the business a success, he hung what he hoped would be a lucky horseshoe above the door. The charm must have worked, because today the chain boasts over 100 locations across seven states. One of the iconic items on the New England restaurant's menu is its potato skin appetizer. Made with melted Monterey Jack cheese and applewood smoked bacon, the crispy snack is, like so many versions of this dish, served with a dollop of sour cream. 

Though its ingredients list may seem bog-standard, it's clear that the Classic Potato Skins are a beloved item at 99 Restaurants, with reviewers willing to heap glowing praise on this menu item. Perhaps this is one of the reasons the dish caused quite a stir when it disappeared from some of the chain's menus early in 2023. While the reason for this wasn't initially clear, it was later revealed that a devastating fire at a potato plant where the chain sourced its produce left 99 Restaurants short on spuds. 

The chain promptly replaced the favorite menu item with loaded tater tots. However, the move left some potato skin enthusiasts unimpressed, with one disgruntled customer saying in an interview with local outlet WBZ NewsRadio: "I've been going to the 99 [for] 40 years, I don't go anymore [and] I have a gift card." Luckily, the snack seems to be back on 99 Restaurants' menus, marking an end to the potato skin drought.

Our methodology

To compile this ranking of potato skin appetizers at popular chain restaurants in the U.S., we meticulously gathered and analyzed customer reviews from many well-known review platforms. These included Yelp, TripAdvisor, and DoorDash, as well as commentary on social media sites and interviews given to local news platforms.