Every State's Best Regional Fast-Food Joint
Fast food existed long before Maurice and Richard McDonald opened their first McDonald's in California in 1948.
Across the nation, local entrepreneurs have been serving up quality food fast for decades. While some establishments are still large only within the state where they began, others have become popular across a region. But none of the places we're highlighting here have taken over the whole nation, meaning there are likely many you've never even heard of.
Let's take a look at each state's most beloved homegrown (or grown nearby) fast-food chain. Each is worthy of a visit should you be in the neighborhood.
Alabama: Milo's Original Burger Shop
You'll only find Milo's and its famous secret sauce within the state of Alabama. With just 20 locations, mainly to the north of the state, Milo's has been a go-to for burgers since 1946, when Milo Carlton, an Army-mess cook, introduced residents to his perfectly saucy burger.
This sauce is the key ingredient on a patty topped with onions and pickles and served inside a toasted bun. Milo's also adds a "Little Something Extra" to all its burgers — an extra strip of meat for additional heft.
Alaska: Great Alaskan Pizza Company
As the name implies, you'll only find this chain in Alaska. With 11 locations in the state, the Great Alaska Pizza Co. launched in 2003 to bring "Fresh N Fast" pizza to locals.
Without freezing any pizza dough or other ingredients, the chain's delivery and carryout shops serve deep-dish pies with your favorite toppings — you just need to get to Alaska, because they don't deliver to the Lower 48.
In 1971, two friends with a vending truck began selling a lemon "eegee" drink in front of high schools and sporting events in Arizona. The frozen drink was so popular in the Arizona heat that the flavor menu expanded, and so did the chain.
Today, there are 24 locations serving up eegeee flavors like dragon berry, caramel apple and cherry cider, plus sandwiches, hot dogs and salads — but only if you visit the Grand Canyon State.
Arkansas: Slim Chickens
Fried chicken, potato salad, mac and cheese and cole slaw—these are comfort-food staples in the Deep South, and Slim Chickens makes them easy to get in Arkansas.
First opening in Fayetteville in 2003, this Southern chain boasts a few dozen locations offering down-home meals, including hand-breaded chicken tenders and handmade dipping sauces. (Take that, frozen burgers from big-name international fast-food chains!)
California: In-N-Out Burger
In-N-Out is like the Disneyland of fast food in California. After an actor wins an Academy Award, where do they go after the after parties? To In-N-Out, of course!
The city of Baldwin Park welcomed the first of these burger joints back in 1948. Decades later, the menu remains deceptively simple: a Double-Double, a Cheeseburger and a Hamburger. A special sauce (similar to Thousand Island dressing) makes these burgers sing, and they pair perfectly with addicting fries and shakes.
The chain has expanded its reach into Nevada, Arizona, Texas and Utah, but California is where you'll find the largest number of outposts and the food's most obsessive fans. If you're ever in the state, order a burger "animal style"; you can thank us later.
Colorado: Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custard
In Colorado, there is a growing burger chain that's doing away with the prevailing fast-food philosophy by using beef that is "responsibly raised with no added hormones and no antibiotics."
The first Good Times opened in Boulder in 1987 and franchises across the state followed, with a few opening in Wyoming as well. The chain uses all-natural chicken and all-Angus beef, and serves its burgers alongside beer-battered onion rings, natural-cut french fries and hand-spun milkshakes. The food is so good, you'll be shocked it arrives in mere minutes.
For more than 60 years, the people of Connecticut have enjoyed the quick-service Duchess for "fresh food, served fast." Beginning as a hot-dog stand in Bridgeport, the chain now offers eat-in, take-out and drive-thru options.
Fourteen locations in the state serve up breakfast platters, sandwiches, salads and kids' meals (and yes, of course you can still get a hot dog, too). All told, more than 100 cooked-to-order items are available.
Feeling a little gluttonous? You can even order online.
You may think a convenience store/gas station is the last place you'd want to grab a hoagie, but if you are in the Mid-Atlantic, especially Delaware, Wawa is a must-visit. Many locals visit more than once a week to grab a bite or a coffee here.
The first location actually opened across the border in Pennsylvania in 1964, with Delaware welcoming the third outpost in 1969. (New Jersey was second.) Today, the chain is popular throughout the Tri-State area, but has a particularly vocal fan base in The Diamond State.
You'll find made-to-order hot and cold hoagies and sandwiches, plus breakfast, salads, soups, side dishes and more. Plus, many locations are open 24 hours, making it easy to satisfy late-night cravings.
Florida: Miami Grill
Formerly (and lovingly) called Miami Subs, Miami Grill began as a sub shop in Key West in 1980 and took over South Florida with its pink and turquoise locations touting an "Everything Goes" attitude.
Floridians love the hot and cold subs, as well as the burgers, platters, chicken wings, pitas, chicken, seafood, breakfast — you name it! International star Pitbull, Mr. 305 himself, loves Miami Grill so much that he even became a partner.
Georgia: Willy's Mexicana Grille
When Willy Bitter first opened his quick-service, made-to-order Tex-Mex restaurant in Atlanta in 1995, lines went out the door. Soon, demand for more locations turned Willy's into a household name across the city. Spreading out into the suburbs and beyond, there are now 31 locations and growing.
Burritos, bowls, salads, quesadillas, tacos and nachos get filled with your heart's desire, including selections from a prolific salsa bar.
Lines are still common, but don't fear — they move quickly and the food is worth the wait.
Francis and Charles Higa opened their first restaurant in Honolulu in 1966 to cater to surfers refueling after riding the waves. More than 50 years later, Zippy's continues to serve Hawaiian comfort food and appears across the islands at 24 locations.
From take-away Zip Pacs (fried chicken, breaded hoki fish, teri beef and Spam on rice) to the beloved Zip Min (saimin noodles, wun tun, breaded shrimp, choi sum, fish cake, dried seaweed, egg, sweet pork and green onions), this is fast food like you've ever experienced it.
Idaho: Moxie Java
Who needs Starbucks in Idaho? Let neighboring Washingtonians keep their beloved brew joint; Idahoans have their own great coffee shop with an inviting atmosphere at Moxie Java. Thirteen locations are spread across Idaho, with a couple more locations over the border in North and South Dakota.
This is the place to go to grab your morning brew, your afternoon pick-me-up and your evening wind down.
Chicago is famous for serving up hot dogs, so it makes sense that Illinois' most beloved fast-food joint got its start in 1963 serving Polish and Italian beef dogs. By 1983, Portillo's began offering drive-thru service; by 2017 it saw the opening of its 50th location.
Found across central to northern Illinois and extending into Indiana, Wisconsin and Minnesota, this joint serves more than just hot dogs today. Fans love the beef and sausage sandwiches, burgers, pasta and fish sandwiches, too.
Indiana: Steak 'n Shake
Although it opened in Normal, Illinois, in 1934, Steak 'n Shake became a farmland favorite across both Illinois and Indiana. The chain has extended beyond the Midwest, but it remains a place that families in Indiana include in their regular routine.
The chain is most famous for its "steakburgers," made with T-bone, sirloin and round steaks, and cooked right in front of customers. (The chain's mantra? "In sight it must be right.")
Steak 'n Shake is an 85-year-old tradition with killer milkshakes and a wicked Orange Freeze, too.
You'll spy 20 Maid-Rite restaurants in Iowa, which harkens back to 1926 — that's closing in on 100 years of legendary food kept solely within the state's borders.
The Maid-Rite signature sandwich includes loose ground beef on a warm bun. The fast-food chain also serves an array of savory sides, from cheddar cheese curds to chili, to round out a traditional meal.
Kansas: Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers
Based in Wichita, Freddy's is a relatively new hotshot in the world of regional fast-food dining, opening in 2002. Yet there are more than 300 locations now extending nationwide to 32 states. The concept is to provide a fast meal that is cooked only when you order it.
Though the restaurant serves up satisfying steakburgers and skinny fries (a bit like Steak 'n Shake), it's the dessert that takes the cake here. Order frozen custard in sundae, cone or shake form, or really satisfy your sweet tooth with the "concrete" custard, which is blended with fudge, caramel or candy to become thick as concrete.
When it comes to pizza in Kentucky, it's Lexington-based Fazoli's that satisfies most. This isn't a place for plain, ordinary breadsticks. Consider instead the Smoky Bacon Breadstick with melted mozzarella and Gouda or the S'mores Breadstick Bites with cinnamon, graham cracker, marshmallow and chocolate.
The first pizza and pasta restaurant opened in 1988; since those early days, the chain has grown to more than 200 locations. (Kentucky is home to 32 of the outposts, with nearby Indiana touting 35.)
Louisiana: Dat Dog
Who dat? It's NOLA's Dat Dog. What began in 2011 as a hot-dog stand has spread fast throughout New Orleans and into Lafayette, and now serves beer with its gourmet dogs. (This is a New Orleans-based chain, after all!)
Head to Louisiana and sample Vienna, Polish and Italian sausages, or get more adventurous by ordering a crawfish or alligator sausage with some Cajun seasoning. There are even vegan dogs made with apples, fava beans, peppers and other veggies.
More than 30 types of toppings, including Andouille sauce, crawfish etouffee and blackberry sauce, complete the meal — this is not your ordinary hot-dog stand!
It's not summer in Maine until the five Gifford's Ice Cream locations open for the season. These ice-cream shops are owned by a family that's been in the dairy business since the 1800s, when a horse-drawn wagon cart sold ice cream and milk.
For five generations, ice cream has been a way of life. And for five generations, families visiting Maine have made it a point to stop at one of these shops to grab their favorite scoops.
Maryland: Jerry's Subs and Pizza
Giving Philly a run for its money by offering the "world's best cheesesteaks," this chain is available only to locals in (and visitors to) Maryland and Virginia. For more than 50 years, this fast-casual spot surrounding the Washington, D.C., area has offered a collection of Signature Cheesesteaks, Famous Cheesesteaks and appropriately sizable Big Boy Cheesesteaks.
You'll also find hot and cold subs, New York-style pizza and hot wings in more than a dozen Maryland locations.
In 1935, the Blake Brothers wanted to offer a place to stop and grab a quick meal in a friendly environment. And so, the first Friendly's was opened in western Massachusetts.
Since then, nobody who's grown up in the state hasn't celebrated a childhood moment with a meal at Friendly's. (It might have something to do with the fact that all kids' meals come with an ice-cream sundae.)
Friendly's is now found throughout New England, with new locations opening as far west as Pennsylvania and New York. Snowbirds lamenting the loss of their local Friendly's have also helped usher in locations in Florida and South Carolina.
Michigan: Hungry Howie's Pizza
One of the largest franchises in the U.S. — it has more than 550 locations in 22 states — this Michigan-based pizza spot is particularly beloved in the place where it was born.
The hook for Hungry Howie's is its eight different flavor crusts: butter cheese, sesame, butter, asiago cheese, garlic herb, ranch, onion, cajun and a rotating featured flavor. The flavored crusts extend to the Howie Bread breadsticks and Howie Rolls, handheld pizza rolls that were hip before Hot Pockets.
Culver's, which began in 1984 in Wisconsin, operates 59 locations in Minnesota, making it one of the most popular fast-food restaurants in the state. (There are also locations in 24 additional states).
The restaurant serves not only never-frozen beef burgers and frozen custard (made fresh daily, no less!), but a host of chicken and seafood sandwiches and dinners. You can also go for family-style faves like a beef pot roast dinner, a grilled Reuben or a chopped steak dinner.
Oh, to be back in the days of a 10-cent soda and a 20-cent milkshake. That's how Jack's began when it launched in 1960, and while the prices have changed since then, the food has not. That's why those in Mississippi and the Gulf Coast states still love Jack's.
Here, it's all about chicken sandwiches and burgers. And, ok, the breakfast with biscuits is pretty great, too.
While the chain originally opened in Alabama, neighboring Mississippi has benefited most; the state now has more than 100 locations you may be missing out on.
Missouri: Lion's Choice
It's been more than 40 years since the first Lion's Choice opened its doors in Missouri. Today, St. Louis and the surrounding area are home to more than 30 locations providing the type of home-cooked meals that grandpa used to make.
Fine thin-shaved beef that has roasted for three hours is a signature of Lion's Choice, which offers a host of different roast-beef options.
There are also oven-roasted turkey and hickory-smoked ham offerings to fill your belly while on the move. But save room for a concrete, freeze, root-beer float, sundae, ice-cream cone or milkshake as well — they are to die for!
Montana: Taco Treat
You'll only be gifted with a taco from Taco Treat if you are in Montana, where six locations and a taco truck are available to residents and visitors. From Helena to Missoula to Great Falls and places in between, this chain's menu brings Tex-Mex to the northern frontiers.
Tacos, enchiladas and burritos, as well as taco burgers and tacos in a bag, are specialties.
Celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2019, Runza got its start in Lincoln and loves its Nebraska locations so much that the owners have no intention of taking the chain nationwide. There are nearly 100 locations in total, with only a few kind stragglers that have been allowed into Colorado, Kansas and Iowa.
The signature sandwich of Runza comes stuffed with ground beef, onions and cabbage, a unique and defining ingredient. (The version with melted cheese is the chain's No. 1 seller.)
Nevada: Taco Time
Sure, it opened in Oregon, but Taco Time has since become a staple across the northern American west, including Nevada. (In fact, people east of Wyoming can't find this joint, with the exception of Chicago —lucky them!)
Since 1960, this chain has offered Tex-Mex with a special secret hot sauce that's been the secret to its success, adding kick to tacos, burritos, quesadillas and breakfast burritos. Mexi-Fries — bite-sized spicy potato tots — are a special treat.
With more than 300 locations, Taco Time must be doing something right!
New Hampshire: Moe's Italian Sandwiches
You'll only be welcome to Moe's Italian Sandwiches at 14 New Hampshire locations, as well as one each in Maine and Massachusetts.
When Phil "Moe" Pagano first opened his shop in Portsmouth in 1959, he sold just one type of sandwich: his mother's recipe with salami, provolone, onions, pepper, dill pickles, tomatoes and olives, all thinly sliced. Today, you can find turkey, ham, chicken salad, meatball, pastrami and a few other signature sandwiches, but it's Moe's Original that continues to make mouths water in New Hampshire.
New Jersey: Blimpie
New Jersey gave the world such treasures as Bruce Springsteen, but it hasn't done much when it comes to fast food. For the most part, the Garden State has been happy to adopt chains from various other states.
The exception? Blimpie, which was founded by three teen friends in Hoboken in 1964. These budding entrepreneurs wanted something bigger and better than a sub or a hoagie, so they named their sandwich after the size and shape of a blimp.
There are only three states that do not have a Blimpie, as this is today a big-name chain. For that, Springsteen and even Bon Jovi, we thank New Jersey.
New Mexico: Blake's Lotaburger
Simply known as Lotaburger, Blake Chanslor created this Southwest tradition in 1952. More than 80 locations are available, including in nearby Texas and Arizona. To residents of New Mexico, however, this chain is synonymous with the state's culinary scene — even "Breaking Bad" characters were caught eating here.
A true Lotaburger is topped with green chilies and cheese, although you can get a plain (but why would you?). They keep it simple at Blake's: a Chile Con Carne Bowl, a couple of chicken sandwiches and hot dogs, fries and onion rings, and breakfast burritos complete the full menu.
New York: Shake Shack
Shake Shack began as a cart in New York City's Madison Square Park in 2001. By 2004, the lines were so huge every summer that a permanent kiosk was opened to serve burgers, shakes and dogs. Yet the lines continued. Voila! A star was born!
Shake Shack is now found in 31 states ( and 15 countries!), but New Yorkers will forever claim this fast-growing chain as their own. The menu consists of three hot dogs, a chicken sandwich and five burger choices — plus, but of course, a variety of frozen-custard shakes.
North Carolina: Biscuitville
Live outside North Carolina or Virginia? Too bad. Those are the only two states where you'll get homemade biscuits like those found at Biscuitville. Launched in North Carolina in 1966, this chain encompasses 55 family-owned restaurants around the Carolina Piedmont and southern Virginia.
Biscuit breakfasts are topped with fried chicken or pork chops and eggs, with a healthy helping of cheese. And as no self-respecting Southerner would pass up grits and gravy to go along with their breakfast, Biscuitville has 'em, too.
North Dakota: Pizza Ranch
Credit a 19-year-old who was tired of leaving his small town in Iowa to get pizza for creating the Midwest sensation that is Pizza Ranch. Adrie Groeneweg opened his first location in 1981; now there are more than 200 locations in 14 states in the Heartland, including North Dakota.
But don't let the name fool you: This place is about more than just pizza. Adrie added chicken and side fixings to the menu by 1987. These days, you have a choice of down-home fried chicken or a pizza pie served a la carte or at Pizza Ranch's famous buffet. Load up on mashed potatoes and gravy, mac and cheese, salad, breadsticks and biscuits with your all-you-can-eat meal.
Ohio: Skyline Chili
Forget all of those burgers and chicken, Ohio wants its chili.
The first Skyline Chili opened in Cincy in 1949 to serve up a classic Coney Island hot dog smothered in chili, cheddar cheese, diced onions and mustard stuffed in a bun. The signature dish, however, is the secret-recipe chili and cheese-topped spaghetti piled a mile high.
The menu has expanded to include burritos, salads, wraps, bowls and more. Alas, Ohioans keep this chain close — only Indiana and Kentucky also have locations, with a few also in Florida for the snowbirds.
Oklahoma: Taco Bueno
Tex-Mex from Texas? Yes, please, said northern neighbor Oklahoma.
After opening in Abilene in 1967, this authentic and fresh fast-food restaurant made it easier to grab a taco, burrito, quesadilla and nachos. Even sweeter? There are 10 items under a buck on the menu. Cheap and fast? Check!
There are nearly 20 locations found in capital city Oklahoma City alone, where snatching a combo or platter is a budget-friendly way to wipe out your hunger.
Move over BK; in the Pacific Northwest, the place to find the best fast burger is Burgerville.
Based in Vancouver, Washington, just over the Portland, Oregon border, nearly two-thirds of the menu here features food sourced from local vendors within a 400-mile radius. This is seriously fresh food you'll only find in lower Washington and upper Oregon. (But there are far more locations in Oregon, with Portlanders calling this chain their own.)
One of the few quick-service chains to offer seasonal, limited-time menu items, Burgerville doesn't feel like fast food. Burgers, yes, top the menu, but there are also chicken and fish sandwiches, salads and breakfast items to enjoy. Don't forget to add a milkshake, also made with local ice cream!
Like Wawa, Sheetz serves great-tasting food in convenience stores and gas stations. (It's true!)
If you're going to drive across the big state, family-owned Sheetz promises a one-stop shop. Bob Sheetz opened the Sheetz Kwik Shopper in 1963, then celebrated the 20th anniversary with the opening of a 100th location.
You'll find everything from breakfast sandwiches to late-night subs, sandwiches and burgers, available 24/7 every day of the year. But only in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina and western Ohio. No soup for anyone else!
Rhode Island: Del's Frozen Lemonade
You may not think lemonade is a big deal, but when a yellow and green Del's truck pulls up, it's like the ice-cream man for adults. The soft, frozen lemonade slush made its debut in Cranston in 1948, and ever since, Rhodies and southeastern Massachusetts friends have made this their summer go-to.
Just freshly squeezed lemon juice, sugar and crushed ice make up a Del's, a recipe brought from Naples, Italy. Today, there are stand-alone Del's shacks, as well as more flavors and locations outside of New England. But the trucks still exist and are adored in Rhode Island.
South Carolina: Zaxby's
Down South is another fast-casual restaurant chain priding itself on fried chicken.
What began in northern Georgia soon spread across the border into South Carolina, where chicken fingers, chicken wings and chicken sandwiches are gobbled up regularly. Sure, there are now hundreds of Zaxby's, but most are found across the South, leaving northerners and West Coasters hungry.
Breaded and seasoned chicken is sandwiched between two large pieces of Texas Toast or a traditional bun, with a range of sauces to kick the flavor up a notch. Crinkly fries make the perfect accompaniment, unless you want to eat a bit healthier, in which case you can select one of four large salads. But why bother with a salad when the chicken fingers are this good?
South Dakota: Gilberto's
Fast-food chains are hard to find in South Dakota, including those specific to the state. Sioux Falls, just over the border from Iowa and Minnesota, however, is home to Gilberto's, which has multiple locations, including in Saint Cloud, Minnesota and Moab, Utah.
You can't drive-thru at Gilberto's, but you will be served fast Mexican food in a casual setting, or can have it delivered via GrubHub.
Tacos, burritos, combos — all the food you expect to find at a Mexican joint — are available 24 hours a day.
Tennessee: Pal's Sudden Service
You won't pass Pal's in northeastern Tennessee and western Virginia without noticing; the facade's giant hot dog and fries are guaranteed to get your attention. Drive right on through in this "Sudden Service" concept restaurant — there are no walk-up orders here.
The food is less unique than the buildings, however; burgers made six different ways, hot dogs, ham or chicken sandwiches, and a toasted cheese are the main features. But the Southern-style biscuits with your choice of meat during the breakfast hours provide the perfect morning pick-me-up.
They like to do everything bigger and better in Texas, and that was the goal of Harmon Dobson when he decided to open Whataburger in Corpus Christi in 1950. Wanting customers to exclaim, "What a burger!" when they saw the big burgers on big buns, Dobson launched a chain that became a craze, now with 800 locations between New Mexico and Louisiana.
The majority of outposts, though, are still in Texas, where locals love their home-state burgers as much as Californians love their In-N-Out. (Which chain is better? Let the debate begin!)
Of course, you can choose from a large selection of burgers, including one with a stack of three patties, but the menu also includes chicken, fish and salads. Locations often serve 24 hours a day, with breakfast burritos and sandwiches offered between 11 p.m. and 11 a.m.
Utah: Arctic Circle
You'll find the "good stuff" at Utah-based Arctic Circle, which is only available to residents in six states.
In 1924, Carlos Edwards opened a fast-food stand for a Pioneer Day celebration, which then grew into his first restaurant, Don Carlos Bar-B-Q. By 1950, Edwards opened his second restaurant in Salt Lake City, the very first Arctic Circle. Lines wrapped around the building and a favorite was born; today, there are 36 fast-food restaurants in the state alone.
Twelve burgers made with Black Angus meat remain the bread and butter for AC, along with the company's famous Original Fry Sauce that may swear you off ketchup on your fries forever. But it's AC's "above-the-rim" milkshakes that are the reason behind its name and its real selling point. These soft ice cream treats include the original Brown Topper, a chocolate-dipped ice-cream cone.
Vermont: Al's French Frys
Like South Dakota, Vermont is not a big location for fast food. (Makes sense when it's often rated one of the healthiest states.)
Still, residents near Burlington love Al's French Frys for the best food served fast. An institution since it opened as a snack bar in the 1940s, the current building has been in operation since 1983 and remains in the family. Al's also brings its food stands to fairs and festivals around the state, so you may not have to travel far to get your fix.
The hand-cut, seasoned fries keep guests coming back — they can be covered in cheese, gravy or chili. But it's the ice cream that really seals the deal. Available just six months per year, lines form on opening weekend for "Creemees," soft-serve ice-cream treats with more than two dozen topping choices.
Virginia: Bojangles' Famous Chicken 'n Biscuits
Move over KFC, "Bo's" offers 600-plus restaurants — you'll find Bojangles' locations all over the South, including a handful in Virginia.
Two buddies first introduced North Carolina to their own version of cajun-seasoned fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits in 1977. The grub was too be good to be contained, so today Southerners stop in to get their comfort food in multiple locations.
Order a Bo Box filled with the chain's seasoned chicken and fixins and pair it with the Legendary Iced Tea, freshly steeped daily.
In the Seattle area, Dick's Drive-In restaurants have been the place to hang out since 1954. Joining the '50s burger and shake-shack craze, Dick's made sure Washington had its own version. Even when McDonald's starting sweeping through the nation, Dick's remained, and today residents have a choice of five locations.
Never-frozen hamburger patties, fries and shakes are still sold at old-fashioned prices, as well. A Deluxe with two 1/8-pound patties is about $3.50. Add fries and a root-beer float and you have a quick meal for less than $10.
West Virginia: Gino's Pizza and Spaghetti
An Italian quick-service chain exclusive to West Virginia, Gino's has been providing heaps of pasta and pizza to residents since 1961. The original homestyle spaghetti in meat sauce is a basic, yet yummy favorite, but Gino's is best known for its pies, hoagies and wings.
The chain has nearly 50 locations across the state, but has yet to branch beyond its West Virginia borders.
Wisconsin: Erbert & Gerbert's
The upper Midwest has no shortage of sandwich shops, and Erbert & Gerbert's is a particular favorite. Named for characters in a father's bedtime tales, this Eau Claire, Wisconsin-based sandwich shop has only spread to 12 states.
Daily-baked breads, hand-sliced meats and cheese, and hearty soups are on the menu. Build your own sandwich or select from the specialties, like a brisket-with-mac-and-cheese sammy.
Wyoming: Taco John's
The Southwest doesn't claim all the best fast-food Mexican fare. Across the Midwest and Mountain States, you'll find Taco John's.
While Taco Time has its Mexi-Fries, Taco John's offers Potato Oles, crunchy, spiced tater tots with nacho cheese, guacamole, salsa and sour cream dips. Burritos, tacos and meat-and-potato burritos are available in nearly 400 locations in 23 states.
Founded by John Turner in 1968, the Cheyenne-based chain offers 24-hour drive-thrus to satiate late-night cravings.