From Coast to Coast: Regional Fast Foods Chains in the USA

USA Fast Food BBQ3

The United States of America is so varied that there is something for everyone – and this includes fast food! It does not matter whether you prefer the laid-back creative attitude of the west coast, the hustle and bustle of the east coast, or the friendly slow drawl of the South. Each region in the USA is as unique as their fast food chains. We would like to tell you about five fast food chains that have Americans saying: We want more!

The Local Burger of the Northwest: Burgerville

BurgerVille Fast Food LogoThe northwest is known for its counterculture, independent bookstores and sustainable mindset. It is no surprise then, that Vancouver, Washington is the headquarters of the tasty, environmentally-friendly fast-food chain Burgerville. The first Burgerville was opened by George Propstra, the son of Dutch immigrants, on March 10, 1961 in Vancouver, Washington. Since then, Burgerville has expanded across Washington and into Oregon with almost 50 locations. True to its values, this fast-food chain aims to protect the environment and serve only high-quality foods. Quick can mean quality too!

Famous for its hipsters, the northwest is also a popular place for bike riding. Burgerville has tapped into this market and has become the first fast food chain to allow bikes-riders to order at the drive-through windows. All the company’s restaurants and its headquarters run on 100% wind power and the food it serves is seasonal and locally grown from the cheddar cheese to the fish. This is extremely popular with foodies who want to enjoy a delicious burger with a good conscious.

Some of the most popular menu items include its range-fed beef burgers loaded with cheddar cheese and pepper bacon or the turkey burger smothered in melted brie and cranberry aioli on a cornmeal bun from a local bakery. It also serves up fish and chips, chicken burgers, salads, and a vegan bean burger. For the early birds, they offer breakfast burritos, hash browns and oatmeal. Especially popular for people with a sweet tooth are their milkshakes made of salted caramel, berries, Oreos and more! The next time you are in the Northwest, make sure to not miss out on this local delicacy. This chain has burger-lovers across America wishing Burgerville would expand!

Tex-mex in the Southwest: Taco Cabana

There is one thing visitors to the United States should not miss out on and that is eating a taco in the Southwest! Okay, so there a few other must-see attractions like Mesa Verde National Park, the large cattle ranches of Texas and the stunning desert landscapes. After a long day of sight-seeing, however, you definitely want to complete your Southwest experience by enjoying a regional tex-mex meal. One fast food chain in the region is Taco Cabana which you can find in over 166 locations across Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.  

taco cabana logo 249x77Taco Cabana was originally founded as a taco stand in 1978 by Felix Stehling in San Antonio, Texas. The company’s logo has a very distinctive pink color so that the sign is very noticeable. Like most tex-mex, Taco Cabana’s menu is full of shredded cheddar cheese, beans, rice, shredded spicy beef and pork and lots of fresh vegetables. One of its most popular dishes is the Cabana bowl, a fried tortilla in the shape of a bowl filled with rice and beans and your choice of steak, pork, chicken or shrimp on a bed of lettuce. To top it off, you can ask for guacamole, cheese, sour cream and pico (a type of salsa). Other items on the menu include hot skillets, quesadillas, burritos and breakfast tacos. Meals are served in a sit-down area or you can use the drive-through window. After a long day exploring the canyons and arches of the Southwest, every person will want to satisfy their hunger with a fresh tex-mex meal.

More than BBQ and Fried Chicken in the South: Waffle House

Waffle House LogoWe can’t deny that the south is famous for its friend chicken, pulled pork and altogether BBQ dishes, but it is also famous for the biscuit and gravy it serves up at the regional Waffle House fast food chain. Waffle House is an iconic regional food chain with over 2,100 locations all primarily in the southern states. The first Waffle House was opened in 1955 in Avondale Estates, Georgia by Joe Rogers Sr. and Tom Forkner. When the restaurant opened the most popular item on the menu was waffles, hence the name Waffle House. Waffle House has not only become a cultural icon, but has famously been used as an emergency indicator for FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency).

The Waffle House is open 24 hours a day and usually never closes, even if there is a natural disaster like a hurricane. During Hurricane Matthew in autumn 2016, the Waffle House refused to close and stayed open to serve thousands during the storm. FEMA rates the seriousness of a natural disaster by the number of Waffle Houses that close. All day, every day guests can order waffles with strawberries and whipped cream, sausage and egg scrambles, biscuits and gravy, and breakfast potatoes covered in cheese, ham, mushrooms and more! Who said you can’t have breakfast for dinner! Waffle House even tests out its new products, like blueberry biscuits on its hungry guests with their “Test Kitchen” special. If you are not in the mood for breakfast, there is also a lunch menu with deli sandwiches and their famous chili. No matter where you are in the USA, you have heard of the southern Waffle House and hope the next one will open near you!

Family-owned Midwest Hospitality: Culver’s

Culvers Fast Food LogoCheese, cattle, corn: The Midwest is famous for its agriculture as well as its heavy industrialized regions. Much of the Midwest forms the American Corn Belt and it is known for its family-based values. Culver’s, a family-owned and operated fast food chain encompasses this Midwestern spirit. George Culver with the help of his wife Ruth and their son Craig opened the first Culver’s on July 18th, 1984 in their beloved hometown of Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin. Now, Culver’s is serving up sandwiches, soups and custard in 592 locations centered in the Midwest. As well as being great business people, the Culver’s are also known for their generosity and community spirit.

True to their family values, Culver’s supports other family owned business and farmers. It primarily purchases the food it serves from family operated farms and is a member of the National Future Farmers of America Organization (FFT). Culver’s relies on Wisconsin’s dairy farmers for its milk to make its famous custards and fried cheese curds. From sweet potato French fries and cod filets to beef pot roast and crispy chicken sandwiches, Culver’s supports farmers of all kind. Some of their most popular items include their homemade soups and Butterburgers. The founder, George Culver whips up a delicious chili according to a secret family recipe and other popular soups include broccoli cheese, bean with ham and stuffed green pepper. All across America, people are missing out on quick home-cooked meals and wish a Culver’s would come to rescue!

Sub Sandwiches New England Style: D’Angelos

DAngeloLogoNew England: Home of the first American founding fathers, breathtaking fall foliage, maritime landscapes and … grinders! Don’t know what a grinder is? It is a Hogie, a Hero, a Po’ Boy, a Blimpie and a Torpedo – or in more common terms, a sub sandwich. In New England, a sub sandwich is called a grinder and at the regional fast food chain D’Angelos, you can choose from many different types. In Dedham, Massachusetts in March 1967, the young entrepreneurs Brian J. Mclaughlin and Jay Howland opened the sub shop “Ma Riva’s Sub Shop” which would later become the popular New England chain D’Angelos in 1978. Now you can find the shop in the USA all along the coast from Maine to Rhode Island. For people on the East coast who are always on the go, D’Angelos provides great quality favorites quickly.

An aspect of this sub shop that makes it unique to New England are its lobster rolls. Maine is famous for its fresh lobster dishes and Massachusetts for its New England clam chowder, so it is no wonder that D’Angelos offers both on its menu. If you don’t eat a lobster while on the East coast, you will surely miss out on an experience. D’Angelos serves up lobster as a roll, a sandwich, a salad and a BLT. They have other items from the menu not from the sea including their famous steak and cheese sandwiches, wraps and toasted hot and cold subs. Americans on the west coast would love to get their hands on one of these lobster grinders! 

The best possibility to eat at all these fast food chains is to make a road trip through the USA! Maybe you even have some of your own favorite fast food restaurants that you would like to share with us in the comments below! We would love to know where you like to eat when you are in the States. Burger or lobster, a hot dog or sub, soup or salad – we want to know your favorite foods! If you apply for the current Green Card Lottery DV-19 now, who knows, you might be the first to open a Burgerville on the east coast. In case you want more fast food favorites to choose from - go here for to-go!