First, let me say I love all of the great locally-owned restaurants we have here on the SouthCoast. I want to see every one of them not only survive, but thrive.

Yet I’ve also noticed that the chain restaurants on the SouthCoast are often targets on social media for unnecessary vitriol and negativity, and it’s got to stop.

Anytime someone posts something about a chain restaurant, there are always the comments from those who act like they’re too good to go to one. If a person complains about an experience at a chain, the expected responses of “LOL what did you expect? It’s a chain” and “next time, eat local” always have me rolling my eyes.

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First, shut up. I guarantee those of you making those comments still eat at chain restaurants, still eat at fast food restaurants, still buy things at Walmart and Target instead of exclusively at independently owned shops. I bet the trash bin outside your house has plenty of Amazon boxes and Dunkin’ cups in it.

Second, chains are an important part of the local economy and community. Often, they’re franchised locations owned by a person from the area. Many of them give back, donating to charitable causes, providing food for organizations, sponsoring sports teams, buying ads in the high school yearbook, and in numerous other ways.

Also, the people who work at those chain restaurants are local people. They don’t walk through a magic portal in the kitchen that teleports them each day from corporate headquarters and then back again after their shift. They’re SouthCoast residents just like you, trying to make a living.

Yes, buying a steak at the 99 or Texas Roadhouse is putting some money into a corporate account somewhere, but it’s also keeping your friends and neighbors who work in that restaurant employed and able to feed themselves and their families. That (hopefully at least) 20 percent tip you leave goes directly to a local person who served you that steak.

Plus, it’s not like the people posting about a chain restaurant are only going to go to chain restaurants. The great thing about dining here on the SouthCoast is that we have so many great options, both chain and independently owned, that we can have so many excellent restaurant experiences of all types.

So please, stop with the sanctimony and keep your comments to yourself if you don’t have something meaningful to add to the conversation besides “it’s your own fault for eating at a chain” or “oh great, another chain place opening.” Since you like originality so much, maybe you should come up with something better to say.

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From the freshest seafood you can find to some of the best dang Portuguese dishes outside of Portugal itself, there are so many dishes to enjoy and love here on the SouthCoast, and we put 'em all into one spot. Check out more than 100 of the SouthCoast's favorite restaurants, and let us know if your favorites made the list.

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