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Top 16 Awesome Fast Food Restaurants

BrotherMan

There are times when the food in my refrigerator and pantry does not seem very appetizing. Many nights I find myself opening that cold, stainless steel door only to see an oval-shaped dish stuck way in the back covered with tin foil staring at me in wonder…and what about that concoction that I threw together the other night after one too many black and tans!?

The good news is that after God created humans, human creativity created the means to be able to create fast food. And we saw that it was good and we blessed it so.

So here we have the most popular fast food establishments. This list is based upon my own experiences and preferences from worst to best.

16. Taco Bell

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Taco Bell got its start by a man named Glen Bell in San Bernardino, California. He began by opening his own hotdog/hamburger stand which he worked himself until he sold it in 1952. Glen had been an avid Mexican food lover and loved the tacos at the take-out places that he frequented in the Mexican neighborhoods. However, he was concerned about the amount of preparation time that it took for these tacos to be made.

Eventually he opened up a taco place oddly named Der Weinerschnitzel (German for breaded veil) with his wife and a friend. Eventually he focused on his taco making skills and when one thing led to another he had 100 restaurants. Officially, Taco Bell went public in 1962 and the rest is history.

The reason for my inclusion of Taco Bell is simply this: most people that I know LOVE Taco Bell, but I personally refuse to eat it. Why?

Taco Bell stays opened well after the 4 a.m. bars and pubs close in my area.
Taco Bell is so affordable that you could eat a days worth of food with only $3.00 USD. That seems a little odd to me.
3) Go to the grocery. Look in the cold cut meat section. Ask for souse or head-cheese. Take it home and grind it up really good and put it in a hard shell taco. That is basically Taco Bell meat.
They literally use a damn caulk gun to spurt excessive amounts of sour cream into the middle of their tacos!

What I typically order from this establishment:

Apple Empanada

15. Kentucky Fried Chicken

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Founded in Corbin, Kentucky by Colonel Harlan Sanders in the front room of a gas station that he owned and operated, Colonel Sanders officially sold his first franchise of Kentucky Fried Chicken to a man in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1952. Before that he had created his infamous Original Recipe of 11 herbs and spices in 1940 and sold it in the dining area of his gas station which he affectionately called Sander’s Court & Café.

After a series of bad debts which left him virtually penniless in 1955 he set out on the road once again to try and sell his chicken recipe to restaurants. It apparently worked very well as in 1969 KFC had over 600 franchises in the U.S. and Canada as well as one overseas in England. This was also the year that KFC was officially listed as a tradeable commodity on the New York Stock Exchange.

What I typically order from this establishment:

10 piece bucket of Original Recipe Chicken

14. McDonald’s

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Ah, the famous Golden Arches. The world famous McDonald’s fast food restaurant got its start around the same time as Taco Bell in the same location: San Bernardino, California. The restaurant was owned by a couple of brothers, Dick and Mac McDonald. It wasn’t a household name until a man named Raymond Croc heard about them operating 8 of the same type of milk shake machine that he was himself trying to make a living selling, The Multimixer. He saddled up and went out west to talk business. The year was 1954.

After Ray convinced the McDonald brothers to open up several more restaurants in order to sell some of his milk shake machines to each establishment he decided to run one of his own. Ray undertook the sole task of running his own McDonald’s restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois in 1955. In 1963 the famous face of Ronald McDonald made his first appearance on a television commercial. After the success of the original McDonald’s franchise in Illinois (which is now a museum of McDonald’s memorabilia) there was no doubt that the restaurant would become famous very quickly.

What I typically order from this establishment:

2 sausage, egg and cheese McGriddles and a large orange juice for breakfast
The Double Quarter Pounder with cheese value meal with a Coke for lunch/dinner

13. Checker’s

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Known as Rally’s in some areas of the United States, Checker’s is fairly new to the fast food scene. Founded in Mobile, Alabama in 1986 Checker’s later merged with Rally’s in Louisville, Kentucky to become a bigger corporation. Checker’s is headquartered in Tampa, Florida and has been public since 1991 when it had a total of 85 restaurants in its chain. Most people can recognize these restaurants for their vibrant retro look as well as their unique double drive thru windows and their 2 walk-up windows.

What I typically order from this establishment:

2 Big Buford sandwiches, 1 large Rally fry and a large chocolate or banana milkshake

12. Hardee’s

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Founded by a Greenville, North Carolina man by the name of Wilbur Hardee in 1960, Hardee’s has been a staple of the American Midwest and Southeast ever since. The originality of Hardee’s lies in its famous cinnamon raisin biscuits baked fresh under the roof of their equally famous hexagonal buildings. This hexagonal style of building was also reflected in their hexagonal hamburger patties in the pioneering days of the franchise.

In the year 1997, Hardee’s was purchased by a corporation named CKE restaurants that also owned and operated a chain of fast food restaurants called Carl’s Jr. This merger made discerning Hardee’s from Carl’s Jr. restaurants difficult since the famous Carl’s Jr. smiling star logo was incorporated into the Hardee’s logo. Most Hardee’s now serve food more reminiscent of the typical Carl’s Jr. menu.

What I typically order from this establishment:

½ lb. Six Dollar Burger, large order of Crispy Curls and a large chocolate malt

11. White Castle

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A young and budding entrepreneur took a huge shot at creating America’s first and oldest fast food restaurant way back in 1921 in Wichita, Kansas. His name was Walter Anderson and together with a fellow investor named Billy Ingram made White Castle a famous American name by serving Americans the infamous “Slyder” mini burger for a mere 5 cents a piece.

The challenge of opening up the restaurants was due to the American public’s fear of the unsafe and unsanitary practices by the meat packing industry. This fear was brought about due to Upton Sinclair’s famous novel The Jungle. Anderson and Ingram combated this fear by creating very small establishments painted a white color on the outside to bring to the mind a sense of cleanliness. They also had their workers wear nice white butcher gowns and work in an all stainless steel kitchen to give the place a sanitary feel. This plan worked tremendously as White Castle is still going strong almost 90 years later.

White Castle is famous for the aforementioned Slyders that are uniquely grilled with sliced onions and the bun on the top of the small square burger patty. This gives the burger a steam effect through 5 strategically placed holes in the thin patty which in turn not only steams the burger bun, but also makes flipping the patty over to cook on the other side a thing of the past.

What I typically order from this establishment:

10 sack of Slyders with cheese (if you have eaten White Castle before you should know why they call them Slyders)

10. Arby’s

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In 1964 in the small town of Boardman, Ohio two brothers, Leroy and Forrest Raffel, decided to open a restaurant that served roast beef sandwiches with bags of potato chips and giant sized iced teas to drink rather than the typical hamburger and soda pop everyone else was serving up. Upon trying to think of a name for their restaurant they decided on Arby’s which stands for R.B. or Raffel Brothers and also roast beef. Clever huh?

It only took one year for them to sell their first franchise. Since then Arby’s franchises took off like wild fire. At one point Arby’s was owned by The Royal Crown Cola Company (RC Cola), which received a lot of sales through Arby’s restaurants by having their cola served over the ever popular Coca-Cola and Pepsi. The Arby’s franchises are not only famous for their various roast beef sandwiches, but also their secret Arby’s sauce and their spicy Horsey Sauce as well as their delicious Curly Fries. Recent contract negotiations over the past few years have made Pepsi the main carbonated beverage currently being served in all Arby’s locations.

What I typically order from this establishment:

Mix and match 5 for $5.95. I get 3 Arby melts, 1 order of mozzarella sticks and 1 order of potato wedges with a large Pepsi on the side.

9. A&W Restaurant

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In 1919 a man named Roy Allen decided to take a shot at making a nice cool beverage during a hot summer day in Lodi, California using a recipe that he purchased from a pharmacist in Arizona. What he created would later be another recognizable American name. Thus was born the infamous A&W Root Beer. But Roy didn’t stop there.

After success in selling mug after mug of his fine elixir from a root beer stand in Lodi and Sacramento he teamed up with one of his original employees, Frank Wright, to officially market their A&W Root Beer (A for Allen and W for Wright). Along with their exclusive, closely guarded, secret recipe root beer being sold in franchise stands spreading east from California they also began selling hotdogs and hamburgers.

By 1970 there were well over 2,000 A&W drive-thru restaurants spread across the nation. The next year A&W decided to create a beverage and bottling division whose sole purpose would be to manufacture and distribute the famous drink. Currently A&W franchises have expanded the world over.

What I typically order from this establishment:

The A&W Papa Burger, 1 large order of onion rings and, of course, a huge frosted mug of A&W Root Beer and an A&W Root Beer Float for dessert

8. Long John Silver’s

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Another Yum! Brands acquisition, Long John Silver’s was inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous book Treasure Island. The company wanted great seafood at a great price given in a timely manner. So in 1969 the first Long John Silver’s restaurant was founded in Lexington, KY.

The buildings were themed towards a pirate ship. There were ropes winding throughout the restaurants. The waiting areas were modeled to look like the wooden interior of the ships and there was even a bell hung by the exit door for customers to ring if they were satisfied with their visit to the restaurant. I admit that I have ringed the bell several times myself.

Some of us might remember the restaurant Jerry’s. That company also owned and operated the chains of Long John Silver’s restaurants throughout the nation until the corporation’s bankruptcy in 1998. This is when the corporation who would later become Yum! Brands bought them out.

What I typically order from this establishment:

2 fish and 2 chicken planks combo basket with the occasional side order of clam strips and always a large iced tea with a lemon wedge

7. Dairy Queen

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Often referred to as DQ, this chain of fast food restaurants has been famous for their ice cream since a father and son team created a soft serve ice cream blend in Illinois and had a friend sell it in his ice cream shop. The soft serve took off and became an overnight sensation. The owner of the ice cream shop, Sherwood “Sherb” Noble, opened the first official Dairy Queen in Joliet, Illinois in 1940.

From there it was every franchiser’s dream. Dairy Queens began sprouting up all over the Midwestern United States and by 1950 there were over 1400 establishments. Eventually the shops starting serving not only frozen treats, but also hamburgers, hotdogs and chicken sandwiches. However, the main focus of Dairy Queen has been their ever famous Blizzard frozen treat since 1985. The Blizzards are made from the same recipe of soft serve ice cream that a young boy and his father invented over 60 years ago.

What I typically order from this establishment:

¼ lb. FlameThrower Grillburger combo meal with Coke to drink and either a butterscotch sundae or a small cotton candy Blizzard (trust me…they’re excellent).

6. Sonic Drive-In

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Very famous for keeping the car hop era of the 1950’s alive to this day, Sonic truly is, as they say, America’s Drive-In. It all started when Troy Smith opened up a root beer stand in Stillwater, Oklahoma in 1953. The idea behind this stand was for customers to remain humbly in their vehicles and order using a speaker situated on a pole in designated parking spots. Once ready the food would be taken to the car by one of the car hop employees.

Eventually, a very impressed customer named Charles Pappe negotiated with Troy Smith and opened up the very first Sonic Drive-In Restaurant in Woodard, Oklahoma. They decided on the name Sonic in part because the original name Top Hat was already taken and also the word sonic reflected the speed at which a customer’s order was taken and delivered.

Not only does Sonic Drive-In Restaurants stand out because they still utilize the speaker and car hop method of order taking and delivery, but their menu has countless combinations of treats. As a customer you can take any flavor of syrup or juice that they have on their menu and combine it with one of their Slushes, carbonated beverages, or Fresh Fruit Limeaids. This leads to a truly unique drink of your very own.

What I typically order from this establishment:

Bacon Cheeseburger Toaster Sandwich combo with an order of onion rings instead of fries and my very own concoction of the regular strawberry Limeaid with strawberry juice added

5. Burger King

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One of my favorite fast food places to eat, Burger King was officially established in 1954 in Miami, Florida by two Hotel Administration graduates from a local college. Sensing that McDonald’s would be a success David Edgerton and James McLamore established a fast food hamburger restaurant called Insta Burger King.

A few years later James McLamore would introduce Burger King’s signature sandwich, The Whopper now dubbed as America’s favorite sandwich. The menu also began to expand from simple burgers and fries to include fish and chicken sandwiches. With much success they forged ahead, but were frequently met with pitfalls, trials and tribulations in the coming years.

Burger King has been owned and sold by more companies than I care to list. The franchise has also caused controversy between rivals like Wendy’s and McDonald’s by claiming that their burgers taste better. The Burger King of Australia, called Hungry Jack, had trouble with Burger King over name problems since there was a name of a Pillsbury product in America called Hungry Jack and Pillsbury just happened to own Burger King at the time of the controversy.

Through all of the messes that the corporation has run into over the past 50+ years, Burger King still remains a solid foundation and a house hold name with its famous Whopper sandwich.

What I typically order from this establishment:

#3 Value Meal: Triple Whopper with cheese, upgraded to large size with a Coke and onion rings instead of french fries

4. Big Boy

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The Big Boy double decker sandwich was the first double decker to be introduced in America. It was all thanks to a man named Bob Wian from Glendale, California and his hamburger diner in 1936. The idea came when he was challenged by a group of customers to create something other than a plain old hamburger. The challenge was accepted and thus began the birth of the famous burger with the famous secret sauce.

The name Big Boy came about when Wian met a little pudgy kid who came into the restaurant to grab one of those famous double decker burgers that everyone was talking about. He allegedly called the little kid “Big Boy” and the name has stuck ever since. Next, a customer would one day end up drawing on a napkin the iconic image of the fat little boy in red and white checkered overalls running with a Big Boy burger in his hand. Now Wian had a corporate icon to make his restaurants more recognizable.

Not only is Big Boy recognizable because of the statue of Big Boy in front of each restaurant, but they also retain their retro diner feel. The interior is like being whisked back to the 50’s when diners were at their prime. The fact that they also have a uniquely famous burger also helps too.

What I typically order from this establishment:

2 Swiss Miss sandwiches, an order of onion rings, a Coke with vanilla syrup and chocolate malt

3. Subway

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Jared may be an idiotic looking guy, but he promotes one of the best fast food chains in American history so far as I am concerned. Subway was founded by relatives Fred De Luca and Peter Buck in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The 20 year old Fred borrowed some money from Uncle Buck and opened Pete’s Submarines. The name was changed later to Pete’s Subway since radio announcements about the sandwich shop sounded like Pizza Marines. Subsequently, it was shortened to simply Subway.

The success was instantaneous. Not only was Subway able to create custom submarine sandwiches for each customer, but they also used healthy, fresh ingredients. This would be the signature for Subway as the franchises expanded to current franchises basically across the entire planet, even inside the U.S. Pentagon. Franchisees also have the option of what to include in their menu selection making each Subway unique to the area.

What I typically order from this establishment:

Footlong meatball sub on wheat bread with pepper jack cheese, jalapeno peppers and banana peppers (they took the damn white onion off the menu recently those morons!)

2. Qdoba Mexican Grill

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This extremely delicious and addicting establishment was founded in 1995 by the glorious minds of Anthony Miller and Robert Hauser of Denver, Colorado and is surprisingly owned by Jack in the Box. The chain focuses on fresh ingredients made to the specifications of the customer. Hence your regular chicken or steak burrito can have any choice of several salsas, black or pinto beans, rice, shredded cheese, queso and fresh guacamole made fresh each day.

Want to know just how addicting this place is? Go to one. You don’t even have to eat there. Just walk in and look at how long the line is. See it? It is like that ALL the time! ALL the time! But man oh man is it worth it!

What I typically order from this establishment:

Chicken Queso Burrito with black beans and rice with shredded cheese, Roasted Chile Corn Salsa and the medium Salsa Verde. I top that off with a large cup full of the best tea on Earth, Nestea Raspberry.

1. Chick-Fil-A

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This queen mother of all fast food gluttony was originally founded under the name Dwarf House in a small suburb of Atlanta, Georgia by S. Truett Cathy. Most often found in shopping malls Chick-Fil-A franchises have recently been growing out of the malls and into their own restaurants.

Chick-Fil-A focuses on chicken based dishes rather than hamburgers so often found in fast food establishments. They are set aside from other chicken places like KFC because they use peanut oil to cook in and their meat is all 100% whole white breast meat chicken, none of that mechanically separated compressed stuff found in most other fast food chicken dishes. Everything from their chicken nuggets to their classic chicken sandwich is all white meat.

Another signature dish is their unique waffle fries. This also sets them apart from other places that serve the traditional frenched potato strands. Top that off with the savory Polynesian sauce and you have the best place to grab a bite to eat in the entire world. S. Truett Cathy should be immortalized and given her own star constellation and have a huge statue built in their likeness that would dwarf (no pun intended) The Colossus of Rhodes. I may start that campaign right now in fact!

What I typically order from this establishment:

2 Classic Chicken sandwiches with 2 Polynesian sauce cups, a large order of Waffle Fries and a large Coke.

Contributor: BrotherMan