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Thank goodness for ‘Friday’s’

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By Olbunmi Laditan

By Olbunmi Laditan

Finding something fun to do on a weekday night in Riverside is challenging (to say the least).

Whether you want to relax with your significant other or get rowdy with your study group, TGI Fridays at the Galleria at Tyler is ready.

TGI Fridays is more than your average family style restaurant. When diners step into the venue after dark, they are greeted with the sounds of laughter, clinking glasses and sizzling entrees.

Seating options at TGI Fridays range from bar stools for the cocktail lovers to banquet-like tables. While the patrons at Fridays range from the post-football game high schoolers to your average “take the boss out for a drink” urban professional, the majority are college students, an obvious testament to the decibel raising noise levels.

If you’re looking for your average diner menu, keep looking, because TGI Fridays offers a diverse range of fun entrees and appetizers.

One of the things that make TGI Fridays a popular venue is its half-off special on all appetizers from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. and 10 p.m.- closing Sunday through Thursday. This deal appeals to both the college student budget and appetite. It is not uncommon to see a group of young people around a table with four or five appetizers split between them as they partake in the irresistible special.

On the particular night I went, I opted for TGI Fridays’ Tostada Nachos. They are tortilla chips topped with refried beans, meat, and melted cheese. It comes with a side of salsa, sour cream and guacamole. The nachos are the perfect remedy for late night cravings and were quickly devoured by everyone at my table.

“At half the price, this is a really good deal especially when you split it with a friend,” said 24-year-old California Baptist University student Erin Hampton.

The second appetizer that I tried was the Sesame Jack Chicken Strips. This one was less than satisfying. The picture on the menu was misleading, to say the least, as it showed a large, fresh serving of glistening amber colored chicken. What arrived resembled shriveled school cafeteria-style chicken remnants. The taste was actually satisfactory, but the small serving and presentation were disappointing.

Last, but in no way least, were the Fried Mozzarella Strips. These artery clogging delights are exactly what they sound like; battered and fried strips of mozzarella cheese. They came to our table almost too hot to touch, but practically disappeared before the waitress could set them down. This appetizer is a must try. Yeah, it’s not exactly what your cardiologist would recommend, but what’s a few cholesterol points in the spirit of fine cuisine?

This holiday season, when you find yourself at the Galleria at Tyler doing your Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa shopping, chances are that you’ll need a little half-time sustenance. Bypass the soggy food court pretzel, the McMeat Pieces, or whatever else you punish your taste buds with and pop into TGI Fridays for a real treat.

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