Best Regional Fast Food Chains

Do you know the hidden gems in your area?

You may think that wherever you go in America you can count on one constant: the same fast food chains. While it's probably true that a McDonald's hamburger is going to taste pretty similar from sea to shining sea, you may be surprised to know that regional fast food chains not only exist, but that people feel very strongly that their particular brand of fatty, deep-fried food is the best. If you're planning a cross country road trip or just want to know what belt-loosening delight you may be missing out on in your area, check out our list.

Culvers (Midwest)

If you're part of the large chunk of America that resides on the coasts, then the culture of the Midwest is probably a pretty major unknown to you. They do things differently in the middle of the country: they're friendly to their neighbors, they call soda pop, and they even do fast food differently. Culvers, a Midwestern staple, is famous for its custard and cheese curds, two items you aren't likely to find on most menus around the country, but that Midwesterners can't get enough of.

Kopps (Midwest)


Mostly located in Wisconsin, Kopps offer cheeseburgers, fries, and custard. A reddit user said, "I'm outing myself as a Wisconsinite hardcore but: Kopp's for greasy burgers and custard."

Cookout (South)


Cookout is a staple in the diet of many southern state school students, and for good reason. The prices are outrageously cheap (a giant meal for less then $5) and the menu offers a fried version of just about every food you can think of. The milkshakes alone may be worth the trip down.

Whataburger (Texas)

While this burger spot is only in one state, Texas is so big and so passionate about their Whataburgers, we had to include it on the list. Everything's bigger in Texas, and that doesn't exclude their burgers.

Runza (Nebraska)

Runza is a beloved Nebraskan institution. They serve pocket sandwiches called "Runza's" that people drive from all over to get.

Friendlys (Northeast)

Friendly's serves about every fast food you can imagine, and is an important part of New England culture. With a creepy smiley-face mascot and cheap, good food, what's not to love?

In-N-Out Burger (West Coast)

If you've ever spoken to a Californian, they've probably brought up In-N-Out Burger. While we aren't sure people from the land of kale and juice cleanses can possibly be experts on burgers, there has to be something to In-N-Out's popularity.

Brooke Ivey Johnson is a Brooklyn based writer, playwright, and human woman. To read more of her work visit her blog or follow her twitter @BrookeIJohnson.


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