Tag Archives: tgi fridays

TGIF!

I love going to out to eat.  It’s an opportunity for my wife and I to relax, talk and eat and drink (obviously). Deciding where to go can, at times, be a point of contention … You see, I’m against fast food (unless it’s Whataburger and I am on the way home from a bar), making reservations assumes we know where we want go prior to us pulling up, and, like most people, we live on a budget.  So it may or may not come as a surprise that I value, and, dare say, appreciate the role the big chain restaurants play in the restaurant scene.  (To me there is something almost comforting about these places.) 

I remember TGI Friday’s from back in the day as more of a restaurant with a sports bar feel than a place I expect to find craft cocktails, artisan appetizers and “hand-crafted” food.  I checked out the Addison location down the street for me and realized the Friday’s from my younger days is long gone. (Rest in peace.)  They are embracing change, shaking that suburban eatery rap and catering to a younger generation of foodies and more particular cocktail and beer drinkers. The hodge podge of wall decor is gone with cool photos and prints in their place and the waiter’s 37 pieces of flair have been replaced with an impressive level of knowledge on how to make a drink.

We struck gold with (read: devoured) our Ahi Tuni Crisps, a combination one might not expect of blackened Ahi tuna on a tortilla chip with guacamole, jalapeños, Sriracha sauce and Avocado Vinaigrette, topped with a cucumber-wasabi ranch.   Followed by an order of Bacon Mac N Cheese Bits.  My Friday’s Spike Lemonade (made with Tito’s homemade vodka, lemon and lime juice, agave among other things) washed down the starters I would normally never eat, but couldn’t resist at least trying … and then ended up finishing the plate.

Before night was done we also had gone through a Hendricks Cooler, Best Friday’s Margaritas and a Double Berry Mojito, which made me eager to come back again.  It was one of those kind of meals where you end up full before the entrees are even brought out but you can’t help but eat most of it.  (Some of our steaks ended up coming home with us to be enjoyed the following day.)

And what is dinner without dessert? Those who know me know I do my best to eat healthy(ish), but I was able to muster the willpower to resist the Oreo Madness.  The same can not be said about my wife…

It’s no secret that competition and staying power among restaurants is difficult, especially in a city with a thriving food scene like Dallas.  Of note, this TGI Friday’s location happens to be one of the more tenured restaurant establishments in Addison (RIP: Trulucks, Mi Piaci, Sambuca, Bennigans, Mi Piaci, Jake’s, Champps, Duke’s, etc).  Having sampled what they’re cookin’ and shakin’ up over there, I’d encourage you to stop in and check out what they have going at their new Addison location!

TGI FRIDAYS
www.tgifridays.com
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Current Drinks Specials (daily specials may vary from TGIF to TGIF!)

  • Monday – $5 Bloody Mary, Mimosa and Calls
  • Tuesday – $5 Jack Daniels
  • Wednesday – $3 martinis & half priced bottles of wine
  • Thursday – $3 drinks

 

***TGI Friday’s are supporters of the SDD team and provided complimentary gift cards for this meal***

 

 

Endless Appetizers at TGI Friday’s

So breakfast for dinner is kind of awesome.  But in my book, appetizers as your meal is even better.  TGI Friday’s is making appetizers for a meal a thing with their Endless Appetizers for just $10!  Pick one of their delicious, handcrafted apps and they’ll keep fresh, warm platters of ’em comin’.  They SAY that you can’t share, but a few of my writers, some of their +1s, and I ordered one of each and had at ‘em tonight.  A whole meal for 6 people for $60 with plenty of variety?  Not bad … not bad at all.

For Endless Appetizers, you can choose from:

  • Loaded Potato Skins
  • Pan-Seared Pot Stickers
  • Mozzarella Sticks
  • Garlic & Basil Bruschetta
  • Tuscan Spinach Dip
  • Boneless Buffalo Wings
  • Crispy Green Bean Fries

Hurry in, because this deal won’t be around for long!  (And PS … sit at the bar at the West End location and ask for Omar!)

TGIF_endless-apps

Buy one appetizer at $10 each (per person) and get free refills on same appetizer. Valid on select items only. At participating restaurants for a limited time. Dine-in only. One offer per person, per visit. Not valid in conjunction with any other coupon, promotion or discount. While supplies last. Tax and gratuity not included. © 2014 TGI Friday’s Inc. Please drink responsibly.

TGI Friday’s

Last Monday, the bf and I made the trek to Allen to visit every hunter’s Mecca (Cabela’s, of course), and were faced with the nearly unsurmountable decision of deciding where to eat on the way back.  We agreed on TGI Friday’s on 75 at Park, bedded down at the bar, and ordered a couple of drinks.

TGI Friday’s debuted a new menu on May 14. Some new food items (of course), but some great new cocktail offerings make new menu.  I had the chance to try the new offerings at Little Fridays during my brand immersion last month, and there some good stuff there.

I started with the Grey Goose Cooler (Grey Goose Vodka, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, lime juice, lemon juice, cane sugar, peach purée, fresh basil, lime, and Sprite), and it was the perfect drink to enjoy on a balmy summer night.  I’ll be using the recipe myself if I can only summon the energy to put as much effort into it as the TGIF bartenders!  For the most part, their drinks aren’t too strong, but they are well balanced and the ingredients really shine.

We ordered a couple appetizers and dinner (yes, we left full and with plenty of leftovers), which had to include their newly revamped Broccoli Cheese Soup.  I had the Spice Craft Beer-Cheese Burger, which was pretty damn delicious, from the perfect pink center to the drippy beer-cheese sauce and fried jalapeños.

My second drink (that, quite honestly, packed enough punch that it was my last) was the Peach Honey Smash (Jack Daniel’s Whiskey, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, fresh mint, peach purée, citrus juices, and a peach slice).  It’s on the new menu, and teeeeechnically wasn’t available yet, but I convinced our bartender, Nick, to make it for me.  It was … delicious.  I do love my bourbon, and this was delightfully full of it.  They serve some of their drinks over pellet ice, which any Texan simply calls “Sonic Ice”, and I kind of love that.

We were treated to a few of Nick’s bottle tricks (aka “flair”), which weren’t too shabby.  (Stay tuned for a peek at my tricks soon!)  If you want to see some serious bartending skills, TGI Friday’s holds the World Bartending Championship competition each year around February, which starts on the store level.  Check your local TGIF to see when theirs will be held.  (The store at Park & 75’s event is on June 12.)

***This is a sponsored post and part of my TGI Fridays Embassadors program.****

So about six years ago, I published a list of happy hours around Dallas for my friends to use … and I’ve enjoyed sharing my thoughts on local watering holes and general cocktail lifestyle ephemera since.  It has been a (really) fun hobby that occupies some nights and gives me something constructive to do with my free time.  Recently, I was invited to be a Brand Ambassador for TGI Fridays and happily accepted the new challenge.  Last week, the ambassadors were brought to DFW from across the US for our brand immersion.  Other bloggers in attendance write about everything from general “mommy” lifestyle to DIY projects.  Also, I was surprised to learn that, of the eight bloggers, I am the only one who doesn’t blog full-time. (Must be nice!)

We arrived at the NYLO Plano for our overnight and were immediately taken to the Park & Preston Fridays to try some current menu items. (Have you tried the Potato Skins lately? Uhhh yum.)  TGIF is updating its recipes and doing away with preservatives and nasty stuff, so look forward to some cleaner eating when you visit.  The drinks ranged from cotton candy martinis to bourbon cocktails, and there was really something for everyone.  (But mostly everything for me.)

TGI Fridays actually holds a special place in my heart.  When I was very young, my dad worked in NOLA during the weeks and flew home for the weekends.  On Fridays, my mom would take me and my sister to have a cup of Broccoli Cheese Soup, and when we got home, our dad would be waiting.  I had a cup of soup, and while the recipe has been updated a bit (for the better), it took me back.

After our all-too-large meal, we went to see Emerald City at Cool Thursdays at the Arboretum.  (Cool Thursdays just happens to be one of my favorite events in Dallas!)  Everyone else went to bed when we returned from the concert, but, being who I am, decided to haunt the hotel bar for just one drink. (Really, it was just one.)

Day Two of our brand immersion started entirely too early, but I I did my best to be upbeat since I’m not much of a morning person.  We were taken to TGI Fridays corporate headquarters in Carrollton, which, just like the brand, is going through a slight refresh.  We heard all about the new brand inspiration and got a tour of the facility, ended with a visit to Little Fridays, the small test-restaurant in their offices.  (Did you know that Fridays hosted the first official “happy hour” at one of their restaurants in NYC?  Even more reason to love them.)

Our visit to Little Fridays was a blast.  We met the company’s head chefs (and bartenders) who are leading their menu refresh, and they seemed so proud of what they’ve done to update their offerings.  We were given the chance to try many (many) new items that will launch May 14, from their new and improved chicken fingers to steak, and of course, a whole bunch of delicious new drinks.  As previously mentioned, Fridays is ensuring higher quality in all of its products, with less preservatives and more … well deliciousness.  (When the Double Berry Mojito debuts … make sure you try it.  It’s just good.)

Perhaps the highlight of the Little Fridays experience was learning some bottle tricks from Katie Livezey, one of the finalists in Fridays’ World Bartending Championship, held every year since 1987 to find the best Fridays bartender throughout the world.  Katie not only mixed our drinks that day, but was patient and taught me a few beginner tricks.  (I was alright, but do need some serious practice.)

So, stay tuned for updates on new offerings from Fridays over the next year, and feel free to ask any questions about my new association!

TGI Fridays World Bartender Championship

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Written by Lauryn Bodden

What’s better than tasty drinks, fried cheese, and good music? Watching someone juggle my liquor before I down it.

Taking the flair of bartending to a whole new level, TGI Fridays hosted the World Bartender Championship and it was nothing less than a party. They’ve been hosting this international event since 1987, and each year the competition only gets better. But it’s not just about how high or how many bottles of liquor one can juggle … it takes personality, memorization, and time management, as each finalist must put on a show, while preparing all 5 judges’ drinks within 8 minutes.

Upon arrival, we were ushered to our front-and-center table (NBD), glistening with giant posters of each contestant’s head. Trying to stay unbiased, we gladly raised our glasses to each finalist as they came on. Each one had their own style, which made the event even harder to judge.  My personal favorites included Plano local Katie Livezey, Russel Ward of the U.K, Genrev Paul Bacasno of the Phillipines, and Andy Hool from Canton, Michigan. I’m all about American pride, but who can resist a man who not only gives you alcohol, but does it while speaking with an accent? (I’m only human, after all.)

Katie showed pure personality as she got to know each guest on a personal level. Russel was all about the jokes. Genrey actually Skyped his manager back in the Phillipines while tossing drinks. But Andy Hool had it all from precision, flawless mixology, speed, engaging service, and style, which secured him the crowning title of World’s Greatest Bartender. (And let’s just say, his bartending skills weren’t the only thing that was strong. Read: he makes a serious drink.)

What’s even better is that the House of Blues hosted this shindig. This venue provided the perfect space for staging the mock bar scenes, spectators screaming for their favorite contestant, and everyone fist-pumping with fellow imbibers for the entirety of the 4-hour event. You better believe heads were bobbin’ to the music at an accelerated pace after throwing back a couple of TGI Fridays’ signature cocktails, the BFM (Best Fridays Margarita) and The Blackberry Long Island Tea.

The BFM was smooth combination of Patron Silver Tequila, Grand Marnier, lime and lemon juice, agave nectar, and fresh-squeezed lime. Nothing too fancy here, but as a self-proclaimed connoisseur of margaritas, I would say this was a great classic version. The tartness of the BFM was a perfect partner in crime to the Blackberry Long Island Tea, a mixture of Smirnoff Vodka, Bacardi Rum, Bombay Gun, Chambord, Triple Sec, blackberries, lime juice, cane sugar, Sprite, and fresh lemon. You know those annoying people that have to slurp down every last drop of their drinks? Well yeah … that was EVERYONE holding this dangerous cocktail and I was the worst offender. #sorrynotsorry. The fresh-muddled blackberries were a delightful treat and reflected the quality of TGI Friday’s drinks, which could have easily just been subpar when it came to the open bar event. 

As if I didn’t have reason enough to mark next year’s event on my calendar, TGI Fridays donated all proceeds from local, regional, and division bartender competitions to Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity.

If you wanted an excuse to get rowdy, tipsy, and wowed by great talent, then that should pretty much do it. TGI Fridays you did me good. I’ll be back next year and everyone else should be, too!