The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

Over, Under and Perfectly Rated Restaurants in the Seattle Area

Kira Lancaster

Between school, sports and friends, I find myself going out to eat at least a few times a month. I often want to try something new at a restaurant if many people recommend it or I see it on social media. However, recently, I have wanted to examine why I like certain restaurants and if I really love them as much as other people tell me I should. These are the most underrated, overrated and appropriately rated restaurants. The restaurants are limited to the fast-food category so that each restaurant remains similarly priced (anywhere from $11 to $16 per person) and each often offers counter service. Service behind a counter is continuously intriguing to me because of its convenience and efficiency so maybe it will be for others as well. I hope people will not fail to consider new places, so here are a few of my fast-food recommendations. 

Appropriately rated:

To start off strong, I fully believe that people love Chipotle for good reason. 

Food quality: There are options for everyone at Chipotle with their perfectly salted chips, good quality meat, vegetarian options, soft drinks and fresh lemonade, as well as different dish options like bowls, salads or burritos. Their chips have a perfect ratio of crispiness to saltiness, so the salt is not overpowering, yet it is flavorful enough to the point where I could never get sick of them. The chips go perfectly with a side of guacamole, queso or even to dip into your favorite Chipotle bowl. 

Service: I’ve never had a bad experience with the customer service at Chipotle and it always runs smoothly and quickly. Their system of ordering food behind the counter is one of my favorite things about the restaurant because there never seems to be issues with it, compared to other restaurants. I think that, objectively, Chipotle will give you the best meal for the ideal prices you pay at these fast-food chains. 

Being one of the most popular restaurants on Mercer Island, Pagliacci Pizza has never failed to exceed my expectations.

Food quality: Their pizza is delicious and goes great with the “Pagliacci” salad. In fact, their salad is one of my favorite things about the restaurant because it has the perfect selection of toppings and just the right amount of dressing.

Service: A super quick and easy meal is a slice of pizza accompanied by a drink and salad. You can go inside, get your food and leave all within 10 minutes while still getting an above average meal.



While Jimmy John’s is not the worst restaurant to eat out at and its prices are fairly reasonable, it is far too overhyped for its poor quality food. 

Food quality: Their products are nothing special compared to what people talk them up to be. They only have a somewhat boring brand of chips with only four chip flavors and not many options for sandwich toppings. The bread feels dry and hard and to make things worse, the cheese is soggy. The bacon also tends to be undercooked and I do not think Jimmy John’s should receive all of the positive attention that it does.

Service: The service at Jimmy John’s is always running slower than I’d prefer; it’s nothing too drastic, but in total, nothing about the restaurant truly satisfies me.



I think another overrated chain is Jamba Juice due to their lack of good service.

Food Quality: There are many options for what to order and I often try something new here. I enjoy the smoothies and acai bowls at Jamba Juice, but it’s not good enough to compensate for the service. 

Service: The service is my only real issue with Jamba Juice. It is always so slow, which can be excused when there is a long line, but even when it’s empty, I feel like I am waiting forever. It seems they are always understaffed or out of order and I have had multiple bad experiences with their atrocious and shameful service. 



Even though there is always a line when I go to Panda Express, I never hear any of my friends talking about it, so it does not seem to have the traction that other restaurants receive.

Food quality: Panda Express has lots of variety in their food options, from many entrees to sides. For a fast-food chain that doesn’t get much attention, I have never failed to recognize the quality food they provide for customers.

Service: The aspect of building your own bowl or plate intrigues me, and I think it is one of the best ways to run a restaurant because it lets people personalize their food as much as they would like. Similar to Chipotle, building your own meal includes endless ways to enjoy your meal. An aspect of their uniqueness is how you are able to choose the size of your meal (a bowl or plate) and choose your entree and side to complete it. The fortune cookie that you receive with any order also adds an element of fun as you anticipate what your fortune will be. 

I often find myself wanting a good, easy and healthy meal, and one place I don’t hear many people speak of is Evergreens.

Food Quality: Their food is satisfactory, especially considering the many options of what to order. They have prebuilt meals, or you can create your own and add whatever you desire. The salads come with a good toasted piece of bread or some chips and you can enjoy it however you would like. 

Service: I enjoy their service in ways similar to the rest of the restaurants where you can modify as you please along your order experience. It is always fast-moving and easy, so I hope more people will be able to acknowledge that.


I encourage you to try Panda Express and Evergreens if you have not already and avoid Jamba Juice and Jimmy John’s at all costs. When looking for a quick bite to eat, remember that behind counter service is the safest option.

View Comments (1)
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Kira Lancaster
Kira Lancaster, Graphics Manager
Kira Lancaster (she/her) is a sophomore at MIHS and the Graphics Manager for The Islander. She enjoys music and dance and is part of the Mercer Island Drill Team at MIHS. Outside of school, her hobbies include drawing, writing and singing. Her favorite animal is a scorpion!

Comments (1)

All The MIHS Islander Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • P

    Paelun BFeb 9, 2024 at 3:24 pm

    Definitely agree with this article, and the art is stellar.