Growing up, there was one restaurant that my family and I would always go to. Birthday parties? Applebee’s Grill & Bar. Going out to eat before watching a movie? Applebee’s Grill & Bar. It just seemed like for almost every outing Applebee’s was the go-to spot. What made the chain appealing was its 2-for $25 deal. It’s the reason why you have to go in groups and have an effective buddy system to make sure the right appetizer was ordered. Even now, I still go to the bar and restaurant. It’s tradition to have dinner there for my cousin’s birthday (Are we all over the age of 18? Yes). Aside from that, the music choice (early 2010s hits) is also stellar. Who wouldn’t want to sip a $1 margarita while Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend” plays? I rest my case.

Since I’m basically an Applebee’s aficionado, I have no choice but to list the best menu items from the chain restaurant.

The Classic Combo

Photo via Applebee's Bar & Grill

We’re starting off with arguably the best appetizer on Applebee’s menu: The Classic Combo. It just has everything! This comes with spinach and artichoke dip, boneless wings, mozzarella sticks, and chicken quesadilla. The spinach and artichoke dip is my favorite — cheesy goodness that will leave you wanting more. For the boneless wings, the best sauces are Honey BBQ, Garlic Parmesan, and Sweet Asian Chile — the latter starts off sweet with a bit of heat to follow.

This is the perfect app for big groups or if you just want to spend your time sharing with your friends. When with my friends, we normally order this and another appetizer to share then follow it up with dessert. 

Chicken Wonton Tacos

Photo via Applebee's Bar & Grill

These tacos are sweet Asian chile-marinated grilled chicken in VERY crispy wonton shells. It’s topped with coleslaw and cilantro. Because of how crispy the shells are, they break easily making this a pretty messy dish. However, the chicken is saucy and pairs so well with the coleslaw.

$1 Margaritas 

Photo from Applebee's Bar & Grill

C’mon, it’s a dollar margarita. Do it for the vibe. You can get your margaritas either on the rocks or frozen and choose between the classic lime, mango, or strawberry flavors.

Chicken Tenders Plate

Photo via Applebee's Bar & Grill

This is here for nostalgia purposes — it was my go-to order for more years than I care to admit.

Classic Broccoli Chicken Alfredo

Photo via Applebee's Bar & Grill

The first time I had this changed my ordering game. Bye-bye chicken tendies, hello chicken alfredo. A cheesy pasta with juicy chicken and a bread stick? Sign me up.

Bourbon Street Chicken and Shrimp 

Photo via Applebee's Bar & Grill

This entree is cajun-seasoned chicken and blackened shrimp cooked in buttery garlic and parsley. It’s served with a side of sautéed mushrooms, onions, and garlic mashed potatoes. This is a plate that comes out sizzling and has almost everyone turning their heads. Sure the chicken and shrimp are the big names here, but the mashed potatoes are the real star. The red potato skin mixed elevates this mash.

Three Cheese Penne Pasta

Photo via Applebee's Bar & Grill

Cheese on cheese on cheese. The cheeses here are Asiago, Parmesan, and white Cheddar which are then mixed with penne in a rich Parmesan cream sauce topped with bruschetta tomatoes. This pasta also comes with juicy grilled chicken breast and a breadstick. 

Triple Chocolate Meltdown

Photo via Applebee's Bar & Grill

This is the best thing at Applebee’s. Sure there are three other desserts to choose from, but this molten chocolate cake is what dreams are made of. A rich chocolate cake, with more chocolate drizzle, and to balance this all out a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. Applebee’s describes this as a “warm” cake but will say it’s more like piping hot because of the hot fudge oozing from the cake — burning your tongue just adds to the experience.