Cheesecake Factory the top casual dining chain in US, particularly for menu variety and reputation, according to survey conducted by restaurant industry trade publication Nation's Restaurant News and research company WD Partners

DAYTON, Ohio , April 4, 2014 () – The Cheesecake Factory is the nation's top casual dining chain, according to a survey conducted by restaurant industry trade publication Nation's Restaurant News and WD Partners, a research company.

The popular Calabasas Hills, Calif.-based restaurant chain, with a location at 56 Greene Boulevard at the Greene in Beavercreek, ranked highest on NRN's 2014 Consumer Picks survey. It is the fourth year for the survey.

Cheesecake Factory lead "all the segment's brands by a statistically significant margin in scores for Menu Variety and Reputation, eking out only a small lead in its overall score," NRN's says in an article.

It was edged out by runner-up Bonefish Grill in the cleanliness and service categories. Bonefish has a location at the Dayton Mall, 2818 Miamisburg Centerville Road.

The top five was rounded out by three Italian restaurants: Carrabba's Italian Grill, Olive Garden and Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers, an Atlanta-based company founded in 1974.

Carrabba's Italian Grill has a location at 900 Miamisburg Centerville Road in Washington Twp.

Olive Garden has locations at 6722 Miller Lane, Vandalia; 2789 Miamisburg Centerville Road, Miamisburg; 2865 Centre Drive, Beavercreek, 6710 Roosevelt Ave., Middletown and 1630 N. Bechtle Ave., Springfield.

The closest Mellow Mushroom is located at 9238 Floer Drive in West Chester Twp. A location will open soon at 3804 Paxon Avenue in Cincinnati, according to the company's website.

Below is other info from the survey that involved chains:

The Heathrow, Fla.-based Ruth's Chris Steak House topped the fine-dining category. The closest location is at 100 East Freedom Way in Cincinnati.

The Original Pancake House (locally at 1516 Miamisburg-Centerville Road, Washington Twp.,) was first in the family dining category. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store had held the top position in NRN's three prior consumer picks surveys.

Irvine, Calif.-based In-N-Out Burger topped all other chains in the limited-service category. There are no In-N-Out Burger restaurants in Ohio.

What do you think? Is Cheesecake Factory really the best casual dining chain?

Contact this columnist at arobinson@DaytonDailyNews.com or Twitter.com/DDNSmartMouth

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