"Chain" is a catch-all phrase for a restaurant that has multiple locations, be it a fast-casual experience, a group of sandwich shops, or a fast-food empire. But when it comes to finer dining, putting the word "chain" in front of "restaurant" raises as many flags as putting it in front of "email."
But here's the thing: Upscale chains can be completely legit if you can get past the semantics. And sometimes, they can represent some of the best dining options in a given area. That's especially true with steakhouses, those paragons of celebratory, special-occasion dining. Throwing the word "chain" in front of steakhouse brings to mind visions of Texas roadhouses, bloomin' onions, and baked potato bars for many. Which are absolutely fine for what they are, but aren't exactly the pinnacle of what a multi-location steakhouse can be. They, too, can be special occasions. But sometimes, you need something a little extra, a proverbial lobster tail atop the juicy steak that is your night out.
The restaurants on this list are the cream of the multi-location crop. They range from white-tablecloth, old-school monoliths with tableside carving to tabletop cooking to South American meat-craft. The one thing they all have in common is that, no matter where they set up shop, they serve to elevate the entire dining scene, offering up something at once familiar and wholly unique to each location. They're the steakhouses that give "chain" a good name, even if many of them scoff at the very idea of being a chain to begin with.