This restaurant chain now has several dozen locations throughout New England, including one at 110 South St. in Waltham. It caters to those who hanker for hearty American fare, to families, and to lunchtime and after-work parties. Add $3.20 to a dinner entree to get a soup or salad and dessert with it. Have a summer thirst? There's a 16 oz. Bud Select for $1.99.
A bit of trivia: the horseshoe surrounding the "99" in the signs honors the gift of a horseshoe given to the owner, Charlie Doe (d. 2006), by his wife for good luck.
What to eat: Favorites are sirloin tips, chicken, broccoli and ziti. The fried haddock is good as well. There are also burgers, cod and scrod, hearty salads, a soup of the day, a kids' menu, and a "Small Plates" menu for the bar.
The vibe: Busy, efficient and casual, with lots of booths for more privacy.
Cool factor no. 1: The 99 has been helping the Pine Street Inn in Boston and Boys & Girls Clubs for 30 years,
including serving a monthly meal at the Pine Street Inn and training some of its residents
, according to its Web site.
Cool factor no. 2: You can call ahead and reserve a table, which can speed up service on busy weekends, or almost any night.
Cool factor no. 3: It's Trivia Night in the bar area on Thursdays, moderated by one of the servers. You can play alone or with a group, or ignore the whole thing and just watch a game on one of the new high-defintion screens.