One of the disappointments from my web searching is that it looks like two of the more or less local chains that I remember enjoying meals at in 1995 or 1997 seem to be mostly gone. Of course it could just be that they are too well hidden for me to find a web presence that indicates more locations.
The first was Mitzel's American Kitchen. I remember this chain of Bakers Square class restaurants had really good food, for a decent price, when I ate there. The other thing I remember is that they were the only place I ever saw that the wait staff used wireless PDA like devices to take orders. I thought that those devices would make communication between the floor and the kitchen very efficient.
The other place as Cuccina Cuccina. They were, at least in the mid 1990's, a "hipper" Olive Garden, with a more eclectic Italian menu (less pasta and red sauce) with a bicycle heavy decor. I seem to recall that they also had a few Cuccina Cuccina fast kitchen (or some similar, and probably equally overly repeatingly redundant name) that were carry out places.
Alas, both seem to have dwindled to few stores according to the websites I can find.
On the other hand, The Keg seems to still be going strong.