There's a relatively new chain of Italian restaurants out there called Maggiano's Little Italy. I went there last night with the impression that it's supposed to be an upscale chain.
Wrong. The restaurant charges upscale prices (~$16 for gnocchi), but it's anything but upscale.
For one thing, don't bother getting a reservation. They take unlimited reservations. So even with a reservation, we waited 45 minutes to get seated. Restaurants like this seem to forget that reservations are supposed to be for you as much as they are for the restaurant. Yet, you know this is probably a daily event there. They don't care.
They also give you a massive amount of food. The guy next to me ordered spaghetti and meatballs, which was about 2 pounds of pasta and two meatballs. The food is good like McDonald's is good. It tastes good and is loaded with calories to make it good. The reality of food is that it's not hard to make good tasting food in this world. You can go to Safeway or Dominick's and buy a boxed spaghetti dinner that tastes good because they pile in a bunch of MSG. At Maggiano's, the food is good because they add a stick of butter and a quarter pound of Kraft paramesan to beef to make their "Little Italy" beef dish. Not exactly a culinary experience worth waiting for when you have a "reservation".
Maggiano's is typical Rich Melman fare... a nifty concept restaurant with huge tasty portions for the mindless Chicago suburban eater. I'm not sure what's more shameful, that Melman keeps opening worthless restaurants like this, or that people are falling all over themselves to go back there.