Popular Cheddar's Menu Items, Ranked Worst To Best

When you think of a casual chain restaurant, your mind probably immediately goes to Chili's or Applebee's, and that's understandable. After all, Chili's and Applebees are pretty much everywhere, and they can both always be counted on for a good, reasonably priced meal. But they're not the only chain restaurant deserving of such praise, because Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen is also pretty decent as far as chain restaurants go. Yes, whether or not you've ever heard of Cheddar's, there's no denying the fact that it pretty closely resembles a Chili's or Applebees in terms of cost and menu offerings.

Additionally, Cheddar's is pretty casual, but has some pretty tasty offerings. Of course, along with the good, there are also some not-so-good things on the Cheddar's menu. So, if you're planning to head to one anytime soon and aren't sure what to get, keep reading for the most popular Cheddar's menu items, ranked worst to best.

15. Croissants

Everyone knows that the best part of any restaurant is if they give you free bread at the beginning of service. Whether it's chips and salsa at a Mexican food restaurant, garlic bread at an Italian joint, or butter and rolls at a steak joint, free food will always be better. But at Cheddar's, the free food option isn't always the best. At Cheddar's you can get a basket of Honey-Butter Croissants for the table, usually for free, but they aren't always as fresh as you would like.

As one TripAdvisor user wrote, the croissants were a letdown. "I shouldn't complain about the free croissants, but clearly these were several days old," they explained. And while days-old bread can sometimes be super tasty, when it comes to croissants, the fresher the better. Another reviewer described getting raw croissants after waiting a while, proving that they really aren't consistent at Cheddar's. So unless you go to Cheddar's for lunch or an early dinner, or just happen to get lucky, be prepared to be potentially disappointed in the croissants. Because there's a good chance they won't be fresh.

14. Top Sirloin Steak

It's no secret that a good steak can be hard to come by, especially at chain restaurants. Sure, some chain steakhouses are pretty consistent in the steaks that they offer, but when it comes to American restaurants that don't specialize in steaks like Cheddar's, you might want to stay away. Steaks aren't what they're known for, and there's a reason for that. At Cheddar's, the steak is just going to be bland, and usually won't be cooked right, either.

Take this one TripAdvisor review, for instance. "The first steak was under-cooked, and by the time the steak was prepared again, our party had finished eating, so timing of the meal was poor too. That steak we received the second time was charred and inedible," they wrote. Yikes, that doesn't sound like what you want when you open your wallet up for a steak. Additionally, if you've ever had a steak at Cheddar's, you know that the seasoning isn't the best. Granted, a steak at Cheddar's won't be as expensive as a steak at a fancy steakhouse, but you're still better off ordering something else.

13. Burgers

Let's be honest, there's really nothing like a good, juicy burger. No matter what kind of mood you're in, a burger can usually satisfy all your cravings while also keeping things simple and relatively cheap. But at Cheddar's, the burgers aren't the best things on the menu, despite how popular they might seem. (Though, it seems they are trying to improve upon their burgers.)

Specifically, much like a good steak, what makes a good burger good is how it's cooked. It can't be underdone or overdone, and at a chain restaurant like Cheddar's, it's hard to ensure every burger will be made well. As one TripAdvisor reviewer put it, "it was cooked beyond well done — I couldn't even cut it, much less chew it. The bun fell apart, and so I just gave up!" But that's not even the worst part. Another reviewer wrote that even Cheddar's employees wouldn't eat the burgers. "I tried a few bites, but let's just say that this burger was not just sub-par. It was a terrible burger. The waiter said that burgers weren't Cheddar's specialty," the reviewer wrote, and clearly, the waiter was right. Definitely steer clear of the burgers, you're probably better off at McDonald's.

12. Chicken Pecan Salad

If you're a salad person, then there's probably a few salad types that you just know are good. Maybe you're a big fan of a good Cobb salad, or the traditional Caesar, or something more unique. Whatever it is, if you've ever had a chicken pecan salad, you know it's usually pretty good, even from fast-food joints like Wendy's.

One TripAdvisor reviewer wrote that after their first salad came out topped with "​​cold, slimy meat," they ordered another, only to still be disappointed, especially at the price. "Six small strips of chicken, a few candied pecans, and a handful of Walmart salad mix isn't worth $12.99," they wrote. Yeah, that's definitely true. An apple pecan chicken salad might sound tasty, especially with the right dressing on top, but at Cheddar's, it's really nothing special. From our personal experience, the salad is no better than a fast-food salad. And for the price, you could get something a lot tastier and a whole lot more filling, too.

11. Ribs

When you're craving tasty, tender, fall-off-the-bone barbecue, ribs are typically the perfect meal. When ribs are done right, they are all those things and more, and eating them is truly an experience. But at Cheddars, the ribs just aren't the best, and if you're super hungry and looking forward to traditional barbecued ribs, these will let you down.

That's not to say that the ribs at Cheddar's are the worst thing on their menu, but they're also far from the best. As one TripAdvisor reviewer claimed, "the ribs were too dry!" Yuck. No one wants dry ribs! And another reviewer wrote that the ribs were dry and boring. "The ribs for example were dry and almost bland if it wasn't for the barbecue sauce," they explained. Yeah, ribs might look like a good choice when you go to Cheddar's, especially if you're super hungry, but honestly, these won't satisfy any cravings and will probably just leave you hungry for more, better quality food.

10. Lemon pepper chicken

If you're looking for a flavorful chicken dish at Cheddar's that's not fried or covered with gravy or sauce, lemon pepper chicken is your best bet. It comes encrusted with tasty lemon pepper seasoning. Plus, it is only 520 calories, which is a healthier choice than most other chicken dishes on the menu, like the 1,810-calorie chicken tender platter. Despite being grilled instead of fried and seasoned instead of smothered, the lemon pepper chicken is among the most-talked-about dishes at Cheddar's.

All that delicious tangy and spicy goodness from the lemon and pepper permeates the chicken in a way that makes you forget you're choosing a healthier menu option. It comes with two seasoned chicken breast filets on a bed of seasoned rice. You could choose two lower-calorie sides like steamed broccoli and steamed baby carrots, or you could indulge in comfort options like broccoli cheese casserole and a loaded baked potato.

While you don't always get a crisp sear on grilled chicken, Google reviewer Cory Moore said that "the taste and crispness were to perfection!" for this dish. Google reviewer Tara (Maze) went as far as to say that the lemon pepper chicken is "to die for!" So, there's no reason to think that getting this lighter menu item will bring you less satisfaction than a more calorie-laden option.

9. Chicken Tenders

Unless you're just a super picky eater, you might not really ever think of ordering chicken tenders while out at a restaurant. Sure, if you were at Popeyes or Raising Cane's, chicken tenders would be great, but at a chain restaurant? Aren't there better options? At Cheddar's, though, the chicken tenders are actually some of the best things on the menu, and are definitely a safe bet if you aren't sure what to order.

Though chicken tenders might not be your idea of a filling dinner, if you're a fan of tenders, then try them at Cheddar's. As one reviewer wrote, "when you order the Chicken Tenders you better be hungry cause Cheddar's has the best." And another went even further in their praise of the tenders, saying, "Their chicken tenders are amazing, star of the menu for me, not because the other food is bad but because the tenders are so good." Sure, the chicken tenders might not be the best thing on the menu, or even the best thing you can get at Cheddar's, but if you want a safe option that won't let you down, the tenders are where it's at. 

8. Cheese Fries

When you think of eating out at a restaurant, you might not think of ordering something like cheese fries, which are a little more like bar food than restaurant food. But at a casual chain like Cheddar's, the cheese fries are actually delicious and definitely a great appetizer or side dish to order.

Sure, cheese fries might seem a little basic, but they're still one of the most satisfying things you can order at Cheddar's. According to one review, the cheese fries at Cheddar's are not to be missed. "Whoever made those cheese fries, deserves a raise. Best cheese fries I think I've ever had. Layered like movie popcorn," they described. Um, yum! Another review described the cheese fries as "decadent," and honestly, who wouldn't want to eat a pile of decadent french fries covered in cheese? Honestly, while the cheese fries aren't technically a full meal, at Cheddar's, they're still pretty tasty and definitely worth trying.

7. Broccoli Cheese Casserole

If you grew up in the South then you know just how delicious a good casserole can be. Or if you grew up in the Midwest, you might know them as hot dishes. Either way, if there's one side dish at Cheddar's you should try for pure comfort food, it's the broccoli cheese casserole. The dish is like something your grandma would make for Sunday dinner, and it will make you feel nostalgic and satisfied all at once.

Seriously, people love the broccoli cheese casserole at Cheddar's. Even though it's not the main course, it is still so good. As one reviewer put it, the "Broccoli cheese casserole is a side dish I never leave without." Another added that their dining partner was particularly pleased with the casserole over everything else, "the only thing he really liked on his plate was the broccoli cheese casserole." No matter what main dish you order at Cheddar's, get the broccoli cheese casserole on the side, you won't regret it.

6. Cheddar's Painkiller

Cheddar's is the type of place that's good to go at the end of the work week to let all your work troubles melt away. And to do that, you're going to need to order Cheddar's famous tropical Painkiller cocktail drink. Cheddar's didn't invent the drink — that distinction goes to the swim-up, six-seat Soggy Dollar Bar in the Virgin Islands where owner Daphne Henderson created it in 1970. She wouldn't give away her island drink recipe. So, the founder of Pusser's Rum, Charles Tobias, patented his take on the drink in the 1980s. These days, the Painkiller has become synonymous with a visit to Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen for many people.

With the patent for the Painkiller belonging to Pusser's, Cheddar's uses Pusser's Rum to create this powerful drink. While this tropical beverage contains pineapple juice and cream of coconut, the recipe for the Painkiller goes beyond the ordinary piña colada flavors by also containing orange juice and a sprinkling of nutmeg on top. While it's not uncommon to get a Painkiller with a cherry and orange slice, Cheddar's gives it a different twist by adding lots of tasty toasted coconut to the rim, a cherry, and a slice of fresh pineapple.

The alcohol content of Pusser's Original Admiralty Rum is 84-proof, and the drink comes with two ounces of rum. So, the restaurant limits customers to only two of these strong drinks. However, Cheddar's Painkiller is so big that one may be enough.

5. Monte Cristo

Believe it or not, but Cheddar's actually has an impressive sandwich menu. Along with their pastas, salads, burgers, and steaks, there are a few sandwiches as well. But there's really only one sandwich you should give a try if you haven't yet, and it's the Monte Cristo.

If you aren't sure what exactly a Monte Cristo sandwich is, one Cheddar's customer gave an excellent description of how the restaurant serves theirs up. "The sandwich contained smoked ham and smoked turkey," they explained. "They dip it in a pancake/funnel cake batter, and dust in sugar powder. There is a raspberry preserve for dipping which is pretty sweet and delicious. I would definitely recommend this sandwich." That's a pretty rave review, but it's not the only one! "I love Monte Cristo Sandwiches and this is the only place I know of to get a great one," one Cheddar's patron wrote. "Only place in town that I know of that serves the Monte Cristo Sandwich," another added. If you're craving a more decadent meal or sandwich, the Monte Cristo at Cheddar's might be perfect for you. 

4. Grilled Salmon

Much like steak, a good grilled salmon is definitely the kind of dish you expect to find at a fancier, perhaps more upscale restaurant. So you might be surprised to learn that the salmon at Cheddar's is actually worth trying, and might just have you coming back for more. It's still not the best thing on their menu, but it might be the best dinner option if you want something a little classier and healthier than the rest of their best options.

One reviewer went so far as to claim that the salmon at Cheddar's was the best salmon dinner they'd ever had, which is definitely some surprising high praise. Another described it as " tender, flaky and tasty," which is basically exactly what you want in salmon. Yet another reviewer claimed that the salmon wasn't only delicious, it was a huge portion for a great price. So, if you're wanting to be a bit healthier but still get full, then try the grilled salmon at Cheddar's. Sure, it's not a seafood joint, but the dish is honestly one of their best.

3. Country Fried Chicken

Honestly, with all the options on the Cheddar's menu, you might not think to order something more down-home like the country fried chicken. The dish is basically just fried chicken breast with creamy gravy on top, but it's one of the chain restaurant's best meals so if you're super hungry and craving something heavy and hearty, this is for you.

There's no denying this is a heavy dish. Be warned, user photos clearly indicate that the country fried chicken from Cheddar's is massive. So you had better come hungry. That said, the country fried chicken is exactly what you'd expect in a home-cooked meal, but at a restaurant. You can choose your side dishes, obviously, but definitely try it with mashed potatoes and plenty of gravy. It's honestly great comfort food, so if you've never had it, give it a shot the next time you're at Cheddar's.

2. Chicken Pot Pie

When you think of a chicken pot pie you might automatically think of a certain frozen dinner, or that one scene from "The Office" when Michael Scott eats an entire family-sized chicken pot pie for lunch. But at Cheddar's, the chicken pot pie is meant for one, cooked fresh, and seriously decadent.

One reviewer claimed that "They make the best chicken pot pie," which is definitely a huge claim to make, but they weren't alone. "The chicken pot pie is fabulous with lots of chicken and also lots of vegetables," another added. "Recommend the chicken pot pie as it was top notch!" yet another reviewer suggested. The chicken pot pie at Cheddar's is so popular that they even shared the recipe during a news segment. Clearly, Cheddar's knows what it's doing when it comes to comfort food, because their pot pie is top tier, and something people will want to go back for again and again.

1. Country Fried Steak

Finally, the absolute best thing you can get at Cheddar's is without a doubt the country fried steak. Much like the country fried chicken, the country fried steak is exactly what you'd expect the dish to be, but it's cooked and seasoned so well that it's a fan favorite.

The steak is so good, that one review in The Ledger wasn't afraid to sing its praises. "Golden and crunchy on the outside, fork tender within, with equal amounts of coating and savory cube steak," the review read in part. Another reviewer online also expressed their delight at the dish, even though they appear to have gotten its name a little mixed up. "Been a while since I had a great chicken fried steak, the one at Cheddar's did not disappoint very tender full of flavor mashed potatoes were fluffy and gravy was great," they said. Seriously, if you only plan on going to Cheddar's once, then get the country fried steak, you won't be disappointed.