Bennigan's promises "American fare and Irish hospitality," but you also can expect a heaping serving of fat and calories served on the side. Not surprisingly, at a restaurant chain where even the broccoli is fried with bacon and cheese, Bennigan's makes no pretense about its mostly fat-laden menu. While you won't find health food on the menu, a few choices are nutritionally wiser than the rest.
Bennigan's is an Irish tavern-style chain restaurant with locations in 13 states as well as 10 other countries, as of 2010. The chain's presence has diminished considerably over the past few years. As part of a 2008 Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, the chain shut down all of its company-owned locations, but the Bennigan's brand lives on through franchises. Typical Bennigan's fare includes burgers, sandwiches, large salads and "PubPourium Favorites" such as pot roast, strip steak and fish and chips. Bennigan's also has a full dessert and drink menu.
Most Bennigan's menu items are high in fat, carbohydrates and calories. The popular Monte Cristo, a battered and fried turkey and cheese sandwich, contains 643 calories, 18.8 g of fat and 92.3 g of carbohydrates, according to MyPlate. The Reuben sandwich, which contains corned beef, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing, packs in an even heavier 970 calories, 37 g of fat and 102 g of carbohydrates. Most salads are no exception. The spinach chicken salad, for example, contains 428 calories, 18.9 g of fat and 25.4 g of carbohydrates.
A few relatively low-fat items lurk among the fried and cheese-covered options on Bennigan's menu. The Turkey O'Toole, a turkey sandwich with Swiss cheese and honey Dijon, still packs 505 calories, but only 9 g of fat. Bennigan's also offers a grilled salmon dish -- either plain or barbecue-glazed -- and salmon is a source of healthy fats. Among the salads, your best bet is the apple pecan salad, a mix of greens, pecans, apples, dried cranberries and blue cheese crumbles.
Based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet, some Bennigan's entrees, like the Reuben, contain about half the calories you should consume in a day and almost 60 percent of the fat you should consumer in one day. Add a side of fries, an appetizer, such as the bacon cheeseburger chips, a cup of potato soup or a brownie bottom pie for dessert, and you'll easily exceed what you should eat in an entire day in one sitting. Bennigan's itself acknowledges that it caters to people's "guilty pleasures," not calorie counters.
If you have a soft spot for Bennigan's and want to indulge occasionally, there are ways to lessen the impact on your diet. With salads, you can ask for dressing on the side or order it with less cheese. Bennigan's allows you to request wheat buns with its burgers instead of white; you also can substitute a veggie patty or grilled chicken breast for the beef. Whatever your menu choice, you can ask for a doggie bag up front and plan to split your dish into two meals.