Cheesecake Factory, others shamed for 'extreme' calorie offerings

Red Robin, Joe's Crab Shack also on list

While many eateries are adding healthier food options to their menus to appease dieters, an annual survey surmised that virtually every restaurant chain in the U.S. has a menu item that nears — or tops — the 2,000-calorie mark.

The 2014 Xtreme Eating awards, from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, gave finger wags to nine popular chains with the most unhealthy options.

Among the list of “winners,” as the CSPI phrased it, The Cheesecake Factory was declared the worst offender. The chain, with 150 locations nationwide, took three of the list’s nine distinctions.

The restaurant’s Bruléed French Toast (2,780 calories, according to the CSPI), Farfalle with Chicken and Roasted Garlic (2,410 calories, 63 grams of saturated fat) and Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake (1,500 calories, 21 teaspoons of sugar) were spotlighted.

The study compared eating the aforementioned french toast to swallowing “14 slices of Aunt Jemima frozen Homestyle French Toast stuffed with 8 ounces of Kraft Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese Spread.”


In the meat department, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers was slammed for their Monster burger meal, including unlimited steak fries. With a milkshake added, the entire meal totaled over 3,500 calories and more than three day’ of saturated fat content.With 470 locations, Red Robin was the biggest chain on the list.

Famous Dave’s restaurant, with 200 locations, was ripped for an item called The Big Slab, which contains about 1.5 pounds of ribs on the bone. The Big Slab meal contains 2,770 calories, according to the CSPI.

The study warns seafood lovers to stay away from several of the fried offerings at Joe’s Crab Shack. The restaurant’s Big “Hook” Up platter, Fish & Chips, Coconut Shrimp and Crab Stuffed Shrimp were singled out as the most extreme options.

Other restaurant chains cited in the study included Maggiano’s Little Italy, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse and Chevys Fresh Mex.

Click here to read the full announcement from CSPI.

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