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Food fight—the battle of the half-priced appetizers

Munchy Mary 

Are you always up cramming for late night study sessions? Do you enjoy a good late night meal at an unreasonably low price? Anyone who answers yes to both of those questions is probably a half priced appetizer addict. Whether referred to as its full name or simply as “happs,” many college students find themselves waiting until after 9 p.m. to soak up the late night half priced goodness. The question is, when you need your happs fix, is Chatters or Applebee’s the place to be. 

The rating system is simple. When it comes to variety, quality of food, and how cheaply you can fill up, who offers the best bang for your buck? 

Chatters can seem a bit odd at times, but it’s no question that their half price appetizer deal is one worth waiting until 9 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays. Technically, they also offer half price burgers and basic sushi rolls, but those are off the table in this match in order to level the playing field.  

First up was the spinach artichoke dip. Despite the strong onion flavor, it was still the first thing completely devoured. Next up were the Asian pot stickers. It was immediately noticeable that the portion sizes left something to be desired, but luckily the quality of what just one of these pot stickers on the tiny plate made it worth it. Finally, because it’s impossible to get out of a late night “happs” binge without a mouthful of grease, portobello fries, A.K.A. fried mushroom strips, topped off the ticket. Despite the description, they barely seemed fried at all, but with enough ranch to satisfy a Midwesterner they weren’t half bad. They were definitely not the fan favorite of the night, but the pot stickers still made up for it. Overall, the variety was not as much as expected and the portion sizes were somewhat lacking, but the flavors were wonderful and the allusion of elegance made it easy to forget how cheap it was.  

Next up for comparison was a visit into corporate restaurant territory with the well known half price appetizer special of Applebee’s. It’s been a late night fan favorite since its creation, but is it really worth the hype?  

To begin, it’s the next contender in the battle of the spinach artichoke dip. With the first bite it is obvious that this menu is not set up for those on a diet, but for that traditional spin dip taste the extra calories are worth it. To put the pot stickers up to the test was the less traditional wonton tacos. With slaw dripping all over, this messy pseudo Asian treat was too crunchy and delicious to complain. The final dish went back on the traditional appetizer grind with nice, gooey mozzarella sticks; the cheese stretched from one end of the table to the other and left everyone with full hearts and bellies. The portion sizes were definitely appropriate size and were even easy to split to create variety and still keep the price down over multiple people. The only complaint about Applebee’s was the quality of food beyond the greasy goodness. Anyone looking for a cheap and healthy late night option would leave feeling sorely disappointed. 

It is immediately worth saying that the health nuts would likely be much more satisfied at Chatters, but for those whose concern is cheap, quick, offers a good variety, and leaves people feeling fat and happy, Applebee’s is the winner of this week’s food fight. The portion sizes are larger, the options are obviously mostly in traditional bar food style, and the food, though much greasier, is delicious. When looking for the perfect cheap late night treat, look no further than the classics—Applebee’s.  


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