photo credit: Kate Previte

The interior of an Applebee's. There are lots of tables and big windows, and it all looks pretty worn out and dated.




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Any search for the American Dream should begin at the Applebee’s in Times Square. This two-floor outpost of the mythic chain isn’t currently feeling its best, but it’s still a land of promise. Please, enjoy a $12 cocktail with more calories than a Big Mac, accompanied by an appetizer platter that looks exactly like its picture. The artichoke dip isn’t as bad as its snotty texture suggests, and the mozzarella sticks do almost taste like mozzarella. So let loose. Have a little fun. Just know that your fun will have a hint of melancholy. The carpets are fraying, the servers look bored, and—through the soiled, streaky windows—you can see Dallas BBQ across the street, where the cocktails are even bigger, and the food tastes slightly less frozen.

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