Week four of the NFL and week 5 of the NCAA season are in the record books and so is another game experience in the local eateries of the Lawton area. This week I took a different path and took a suggestion as to where I should spend my Monday night football time. I found my self at Appelbees on Cache road in Lawton and had a completely different experience than I had the previous three weeks.

I knew going in that the jersey wearing, shouting, taunting fans of previous weeks would be replaced by a more sedate approach. Gone were the shouts after touchdowns and turnovers, replaced by streaming sounds of the Beatles and Garth Brooks over a sound system. Gone were 30 televisions tuned to different games, instead replaced by tv's tuned to not only the Chiefs & Patriots, but The Voice and Baseball Tonight and programs I didn't recognize.

The experience is better intended for the family that wants to have an affordable night (or Sunday afternoon) out while keeping an eye on the game. The staff happily changed the tv nearest me from a rebroadcast of the Missou/So. Carolina game to the "Monday Night Massacre" that would play out.

The service at the Cache Rd. Applebees was impeccable as always, though they threw me a curve right off the bat. As I was seated at a table near the bar area, the host, a good natured young man who quickly caught onto which team I was routing for by my Tom Brady alternate Patriots throw back jersey and Boston Red Sox hat (a slight hint, yes) told me my server would be Veronica. Soon after a cheerful guy named Joey introduced himself. Joey was a good guy, very cheerful and an attentive waiter. Kudos to the staff and management at Applebees.

The crowd was definitely family oriented and the football game was not even on the minds of those there, which as previously stated, was pretty much expected. Though one family came in at the end of my stay who was seated at the table next to mine and the father was definitely torn between the Missouri game which was on the television directly behind him and the KC/New England game, which at this point was out of hand, that was on the set directly above my table. He seemed to be enjoying the choices at hand.

The viewing options were varied, which actually ended up being a blessing by the end of the night as the Chiefs scalped the Patriots 41-14. I ended up not missing the Voice as I had been thinking I would, but the volume on the tvs were muted, the sound replaced by piped in classic rock and country. It actually ended up being quite soothing as I watched capain Tom and my second favorite NFL team being dismantled by Alex Smith and his crew.

The food was excellent as always at Applebees. Staying true to football watching tradition, I ordered appetizers to munch on during the contest. Since they didn't have my stand by chili fries on the menu, I started with an order of boneless chicken wings. When Joey asked if I wanted those mild, I smirked and told him to hit me with the best buffalo they could do. I was not disappointed. I also tried their Boston Beer Cheese Dip Pretzel combo. INCREDIBLE!!! Long pretzel sticks perfectly fried, crispy on the outside, soft inside with a delicious white cheddar cheese sauce. If you challenge me by using the word "Boston" in the name of any food dish, you better be sure to bring it! Applebees definitely brought it.

The pricing at Applebees has always been fair, so this wasn't a question. Two appetizers and two adult beverages with tip was $25. Good food, good portions, very fair indeed. Their selection of "adult beverages" was good for a family restaurant, and again not as good as a place targeting the sports crowd because they AREN'T targeting a sports crowd.

This really was an unfair comparison to other places I've visited this season, but in all honesty, if you want a family atmosphere with good food at good prices and the ability to keep an eye on your favorite team while in a more relaxed atmosphere, Applebees is definitely the place for the casual fan with a family.

Final score, Applebees pulls out an improbable 18-6 win on Monday Night.

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