If you find yourself at a sports bar with a woodsy lumberjack schtick that seeps into the decor and barely-there uniforms of its waitresses, then you've arrived at Twin Peaks. The Texas franchise has nearly 100 log cabins spanning the country and remains a stronghold in the "breastaurant" category popularized by Hooters and Tilted Kilt. Frosty brews, premium sports programming blaring from flatscreens -- it was only a matter of time before Fat Brands transformed it into a multi-million dollar powerhouse by swooping up the concept in a 2021 purchase.
Venturing to Twin Peaks for the food may recall that age-old joke of flipping through Playboy for the articles. But there's no need to make any justifications, here. The lodge, to its credit, touts a broad array of American specialties that even resemble home-cooked meals on occasion. Scratch-made chicken fried steak and pot roast in addition to nachos? The variety is on fire.
However, to the uninitiated, the chain's wide selection can also make the task of ordering grub a bit grueling. To help, we've examined customer input as we'll elaborate on further, plus an emphasis on serving size and value (based on prices as of early 2024), to produce nine highlights and four duds from the Twin Peaks menu to look out for. Let's see what did (or didn't) make the cut.
Order: Smoked & Grilled Wings
Hawking chicken wings is an essential element of the sports bar experience -- just look at the Twin Peaks menu. However, patrons are partial to a variety that might come as a surprise to those expecting breaded Buffalo only. The chain employs a drawn-out smoking process (and good ol' hickory wood) to infuse the Smoked & Grilled wings with a savory, fall-off-the-bone succulence. Order as few as six or as many as 48 in a serving, with a wide array of sauces or spice rubs to select from, including Hot Honey, Bourbon Teriyaki, Lemon Pepper, and Spicy Cajun.
The Smoked & Grilled wings' nutritional benefits, though noteworthy, appear close to secondary since the glowing praise doled out by diners focuses mostly on the deliciousness. One guest gave the "extremely tender and tasty" snack a passing grade, while a similarly-enthused review recommended the various sauces, including the Asian Thai Chili and Garlic Parmesan. "These wings were awesome," they raved, adding "they came out hot and were delicious." With this kind of feedback, customers have a lot to be happy about when happy hour rolls around.
Order: Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich
The Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich, which initially hit the lineup in 2018, features the tongue-torching flavors popularized by the hallowed Tennessee eatery Prince's Hot Chicken practically a century ago. Doused in a fire-engine red hot sauce, the coated breast is paired with condiments to cool off the palate, including good ol' ranch dressing, pickles, and a zesty coleslaw made with Napa cabbage. As is the case with hand-held options on the menu, french fries are the default so there's no need to order a separate basket (unless you're hungry for more, of course).
While one patron frankly assessed that the hand-held was "not quite as good as the real thing," they were still thrilled with the lodge's approach. A plethora of diners expressed similar satisfaction with the hot chicken sandwich, with one hailing it "outstanding" and another calling it "excellent." A different commenter seemed ready to brush off Twin Peaks as slinging nothing but garden-variety bar fare, but quickly ate their words upon digging into the surprisingly tasty sammie. Crispy, fiery, and generous with the works, there don't seem to be any downsides -- spice fiends should give this one a go.
Avoid: Twin Peaks Sundae
How can an ice cream sundae -- never mind a brownie ice cream sundae -- ever fail? Twin Peaks goes the a la mode route and dumps creamy mounds of vanilla ice cream onto a fudgy Ghirardelli brick. And, because the sports bar likes toying around with, ahem, provocative imagery, each scoop boasts whipped cream and a single maraschino cherry dotting the center (if you know, you know). Scandalous leanings aside, the confection sounds delectable and therefore, should have no issues attracting customers.
Yet, when diners are airing their grievances over a sweet treat that's supposed to evoke smiles? That's when you know there's trouble. Whereas this type of dessert usually exudes a gooey, chocolatey decadence that mingles with the chilly ice cream, visitors reportedly encounter a dish that's frozen solid. Understandably, some aspect of a frozen dessert will be frozen, but the way some patrons talk about it, you have to scrape at it with your spoon like an ice pick. One diner lamented that it was "hard as a rock," explaining, "I was only able to eat a little bit of it and the rest was too hard to consume."
Order: Blackened Fish Tacos
Sometimes, your belly needs a break from Twin Peaks' greasier selections. Going light with the Blackened Fish Tacos is a solid option. The seafood may vary depending on the location, but whether it's cod or wild-caught Mahi-Mahi, it's seasoned and grilled to flaky, fall-apart perfection and rolled in soft flour tortillas. Avocado, zesty jalapeño honey vinaigrette, slaw, pineapple, sour cream, and pico de gallo compose the beachy flourishes, and what's more, the trio of tacos is accompanied by chips and salsa for one's dipping pleasure.
Luckily, when it comes to customer opinions, the entree tends to soak up a lot more hype than hyper-fixations on any grievances. Fish tacos can be hit-or-miss when every bite is overwhelmingly slaw and sour cream, but one visitor was quite satisfied with the amount of seafood in each tortilla, claiming "there was a lot of fish in the tacos and the salsa was great." The Baja-inspired plate bursts with a refreshing medley of toppings, so naturally, that tends to net its share of adoring fans, including a happy patron whose enthusiasm for the dish could make the case that it's their personal favorite. In their words, the slew of diced veggies and dressings "all paired so well together."
Order: Mom's Pot Roast
One of the lodge's trademark entrees is Mom's Pot Roast, and feedback confirms that Twin Peaks nails the simmered-from-scratch coziness of this comfort classic. The stew, which costs close to $20, resembles a home-cooked meal. And in many ways, it is. It comes in a heavy cast-iron pan, a fitting vessel for the heartiness that's soon to follow. The shredded meat is suspended in a rich brown gravy with assorted vegetables like corn and carrots. There are also sauteed string beans and garlicky hand-whipped mashed potatoes. That's not just our suspicions, either -- that's according to the chain's claims, which is vocal about crafting its specialties on-site.
Hype can sometimes be a tad overblown on self-proclaimed "signatures" -- especially when, given the name, there's potential competition between a corporate-owned kitchen and your own mother. But patrons adore this dish -- there's no doubt about it. Whoever samples it first-hand seems to insist on returning to savor it once more. The meat is truly succulent, and the cozy farm-style veggie blend lends a rustic feel that wouldn't turn heads at a family-run tavern. "If you haven't tried the pot roast - ORDER THE POT ROAST!" urged one reviewer who graded it five stars.
Avoid: Double Stacked Nachos
The Double-Stacked Nachos proffer two types of protein (smoked chicken or brisket), layering chips with cheese and chipotle queso, refried beans, and a host of dips that lend it a crunchy-meets-creamy symbiosis. We like that the meat is smoked on-site, and adorning the app with sour cream, salsa, jalapeños, and hand-mashed avocado covers the textural bases. Having said that, the feedback was noticeably negative. Since most customers gave the plate a big thumbs down, potential visitors should pass on it. It looks good, it sounds good, but it's just not a solid value.
The core issue noted by restaurant reviews is the sparsity of the toppings that, frankly, don't live up to the massive-sounding name. The tangle of oozing, cheese-coated triangles that put the term "finger food" to use is noticeably absent since Twin Peaks doesn't give the impression that it's generous in the toppings department. One photo shared by a visitor shows a naked pile of chips featuring the chicken and salsa piled in the center, rather than toppings equally dispersed on the tray. "Nachos are supposed to be loaded," the one-star rating stated. "This was the exact opposite."
Order: Fried Pickles
Next to jalapeño poppers and pretzel sticks, fried pickles are upping the snack potential at sit-down restaurants. The briny vegetable is a natural choice to toss with spices and batter-fry, and Twin Peaks slings them by the basket or partnered with Buffalo tenders and mozzarella bites on the infamous Peaks Sampler platter. We also can't neglect to mention how the franchise, to its credit, does all the prep work itself to make the fritters fresh (try finding that at another chain).
How do patrons feel about the salty appetizer? Merely sifting through feedback demonstrates some widespread fervor, as customers repeatedly sing its praises down to the golden panko crust encasing a tangy center. With ranch on the side, it's simply irresistible. One visitor who relished the colossal heap of chips assured readers that they wouldn't regret grabbing a tray, claiming "It was cooked just right and the ranch dip was also very delish." This perspective echoed another satisfied restaurant-goer's experience, who commented that the fritters were teeming with flavor. Do you hear that applause in the distance? Sounds like a crowd-pleaser!
Order: Smoked Chicken Quesadillas
Favoring a Southwestern theme, Twin Peaks' Smoked Chicken Quesadillas add a bit of spice to the tailgate essential. The kitchen melts a mixture of cheddar and pepper jack cheeses and seals the poultry inside a tender tortilla with black beans, roasted corn, and green chiles. There's a trifecta of dips for patrons to play around with to get the most out of their meal. For a temperate zing, there's pico de Gallo; for heat, a fire-roasted salsa; and for a soothing balm to calm the tongue, a dollop of sour cream.
Although it's technically in the appetizer category, the chain makes sure that the quesadilla contains a bountiful variety of ingredients. One reviewer commented their partner ate it as the main attraction, indicating the offering could reasonably feed a single person. But assuming it isn't strictly about stuffing one's gullet, the masses overwhelmingly approve the starter as a delectable culinary concept. The "memorable, spicy flavor" won over one visitor, while another diner applauded the chain's sensational recipe. In their words, "This dish has a kick but just enough to make it interesting."
Avoid: 3 Cheese Mac N' Cheese
Like Proust's madeleine, a gooey spoonful of macaroni and cheese is all it takes to reach nostalgia nirvana. Twin Peaks offers it as a side dish for a la carte pairing, drenching pasta, bacon, and toasted bread crumbs in a very adult-sounding three-cheese roux. None of the cheese varieties are specified, however, we can infer from the menu's description -- notably, the 500 calories packed into a single cup -- that the kitchen doesn't hold back in the dairy department.
The 3 Cheese Mac n' Cheese should be buttery, creamy, and satisfying, but the spate of bad reviews illustrates something is lacking. Most commenters express disgust at the plain-tasting sauce the noodles instantly soak up. One person let down by Twin Peaks' rendition ranked boxed macaroni from the supermarket higher -- a major red flag for any self-respecting dining establishment. Their complaint described the dish as having "no breadcrumbs or bacon bites, and it was completely bland." The gritty consistency was a bust for yet another reviewer, and one guest even had to season their bowl with pepper just to marginally improve the experience.
Order: Billionaire's Bacon
Bacon may be magical on its own (we're looking at you, Dunkin'), but try showering it with sugar and seasonings and caramelizing it in the oven -- that's candying, and it's a technique every confectioner has down pat. Twin Peaks rolls out a sampling known as Billionaire's Bacon, and simply put, visitors have been sweet on it for years. Besides pleasing palates as a starter tray, the specialty can also be enjoyed in one of the eatery's hamburgers -- the Billionaire's Bacon Burger, what else?
Given that bacon cheeseburgers enjoy an enormous amount of popularity as is, it speaks volumes that customers fancy the appetizer even more. Without other distractions, it's much easier to savor the strips in all of their sugary, sticky-fingered glory, and as a standalone offering, it's deliciously inventive. Between the coating of brown sugar and the spicy undertone brought by the paprika and chili flakes, we're not shocked diners covet it to an intense degree. "The brown sugar bacon was especially good," a satisfied customer confirmed, chiming in on its irresistible allure and noting that the marvelous little nibbles vanished almost instantly.
Order: Fish & Chips
Twin Peaks' brews are chilly enough to make your teeth chatter, so don't be surprised if you crave something hot and steaming to eat. Judging by the sheer scope of rave reviews, it's only wise to grab the Beer Battered Fish & Chips. The restaurant chain dishes them up British-style -- with large pieces of cod, the typical seafood for the dish -- and rounds out the feast with french fries, on top of malt vinegar and tartar sauce (homemade, of course!) for prime dunking.
The maritime staple has proven to be a massive hit with guests at the lodge. One patron beamed over the fish fry, even going as far as to claim it "delicious and worthy of any pub in Ireland." Another visitor pointed to the excellent crunch from the coating, a factor that thrilled their taste buds from start to finish. "The breading had a more panko style to it," they observed, "I really enjoyed the fries and fish together in both taste and texture." Nobody likes soggy fish sticks reheated in the microwave, especially if they're paying around $16, but in this case, the execution is top-tier.
Avoid: Sweet N' Smoky Ribs
St. Louis, a city prized for its ribs, serves as the inspiration for the Sweet n' Smoky Ribs. Twin Peaks smokes its pork slabs under real hickory wood, slathers them in barbecue sauce, and serves them with a heap of coleslaw and the aforementioned mac and cheese. Compared to a proper smokehouse spot, getting a half or full rack here (plus those side dishes) probably makes them the best bargain in town for low-and-slow barbecue, at around $19 and $27 respectively.
Seeing as the cabin chain installed smoking equipment in its kitchens five years ago, carnivores who take their 'cue seriously have reason to feel tempted. Don't be. The poor reviews describing leathery meat will only make you hungry for your money back. The jerky-like consistency was a firm strike out for one diner, who found the meat essentially inedible -- "tough" and "dried out" as an old catcher's mitt. There's always some tearing action digging into a stack of ribs, truth be told, but we're not looking to choke or break a tooth during the experience. We can't even count on a sweet tangy sauce to mask the imperfections, since another complaint cites the glaze tasted scorched and bitter. Sigh.
Order: The Hangover Burger
What do you do when you yearn for brunch and a messy, juice-dripping cheeseburger? The lodge's solution fuses the two with The Hangover Burger. Thick-cut bacon, American cheese, and a picture-perfect sunny-side-up egg are the breakfast elements, merging with lettuce, onions, tomato, and a slick of mayo. It's pretty telling by the decadent fixings (and 1,380 calories posted on the chain's website) that it's intended to be an occasional indulgence. Yet diners repeatedly take the plunge on this bad boy anyway -- in this case, it's the passionate fan-following that speaks for itself.
A reviewer who found the chain's concoction "the best I have ever had," cited the tasty ingredients stacking this hand-held to new, innovative heights. They concluded, "I could eat this every week." Another diner, while slightly irked with the fries, was bowled over by the same mouthwatering reasons as the previous visitor, vowing, "If I ever go again, I'll order the same thing." That sort of promise certainly solidifies The Hangover as a menu must-try. So why not go with your gut the next time you're at the lodge? It pays off with a tasty burger, and we can get behind that!
The Twin Peaks menu items we recommend and advise against were selected based off of customer reviews. We took account of opinions, both positive and negative, to provide readers with information on the following dishes. Internet platforms including TripAdvisor, DoorDash, and Yelp came in handy for interpreting unbiased assessments regarding the taste and quality of the appetizers, main courses, and desserts covered in this piece. Menu price and portion size were other factors that informed our round-up.
Read the original article on Mashed.