It seems like a new chain restaurant outlet opens in Ocean County every other week or so.

Just over the summer we had Bahama Breeze and Smashburger open, and a Chipotle is being put together as I type.

I know from past articles that many of us have chain restaurants that we'd like to see come to Ocean County.

But there are also some absolutely fantastic locally owned restaurants that can outshine the chains even on their worst days.

With chains, you usually know what you're getting. An entree at the Olive Garden in Columbus, Ohio is going to be the same as the entree at the Olive Garden in Toms River. And it's not necessarily a bad thing to know what you're going to get and to be able to expect consistency.

But, with local restaurants, you get creativity. You don't necessarily know what you're going to get, and that can be a great thing. If the chef just got their hands on some amazing, fresh vegetables on the particular day that you're there, you could be in for a real treat.

And, of course, the success of the local restaurant stays in the community and benefits our friends and neighbors.

So there are good points for both local restaurants and chain restaurants. Which do you prefer? Use the comments section to shout out some of your favorites!