The Best Southern Fast-Food Spots
Southerners really lucked out in the fast-food department. Check out these regional restaurants locals swear by.
Locations in North Carolina and Virginia
No matter what time you stop in at Biscuitville, you’re sure to get a fresh-baked biscuit—this family-owned chain makes a new batch every 15 minutes! Be sure to get there by 2 p.m., though: this is just a breakfast and lunch joint. Running late? Stay home and pop open a can of our favorite brand of biscuits.
Bojangles’ Famous Chicken n’ Biscuits
Locations in 13 states across the South
Southerners love Bojangles, whose famous fried chicken is never frozen. The cooks marinate it for 12 hours before finishing it off with a flamin’ hot breading. If you don’t live near any of their 600+ locations, make our Bojangles copycat recipes at home.
Locations in 10 states across the South
Described as the In-n-Out of the South, Cook Out has a cult following around the United States. Get a burger, barbecue or chicken a la carte or go crazy with one of the build-your-own combos, where the possibilities are practically endless. Side of hushpuppies? Yes, please.
Locations in Louisiana
If you’re in the Big Easy, you’ve gotta eat at Dat Dog at least once. Sure, you could get a classic hot dog, but since you’re there, we suggest ordering one of the regional specialties, like alligator sausage and crawfish hot dogs. Go wild with toppings by asking for “chef’s choice.”
Locations in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee
Sometimes the simplest food tastes the best. Case in point: Jack’s. Originally a hamburger joint, this spot now serves handmade Southern standards, from biscuits and gravy for breakfast to a killer fried chicken sandwich for any time of day.
Locations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee
If Harold and Kumar had known about Krystal, we’re not sure they ever would’ve made it to White Castle. It’s tempting to order a whole tray of their tiny, square burgers, but make sure it has room for a side of grits! Here are more grits recipes you need to try.
Locations in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia
A relative newcomer to the restaurant scene, Newk’s Eatery has been taking the South by storm since 2004. The fast-casual menu includes everything from sandwiches and pizza to mac and cheese. But the thing fans are really talking about? Newk’s vast array of condiments.
Pal’s Sudden Service
Locations in Tennessee and Virginia
Known for its lightning-fast drive-thru, Pal’s blue buildings, complete with outdoor food art, make them local landmarks. You won’t find much variety on the menu, but Pal’s burgers are some of the best in the business. Here’s how to make the best burger in your own kitchen (or on the grill).
Locations in Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York and South Carolina
PDQ—aka People Dedicated to Quality—really stands by its name. Thanks to the open kitchen, you can watch the cooks hand-bread and fry the chicken you just ordered. They make the sauces from scratch, too.
Locations in Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Alabama and Texas
Taco ’bout value: Taco Bueno combo meals start at less than $3. The huge burritos and their best-seller, Mexidips and Chips—a layered dish with corn tortillas, guacamole, queso and refried beans—can’t be missed. Here’s what you should be eating on Taco Night.
Locations in 25 states across the South and beyond
When you live in the South, you know this chain will always be open—seriously, 24/7/365. Any Waffle House fan will tell you, there’s nothing better than getting hash browns your way (smothered, scattered and chunked, please)! If you just don’t feel like going out, these Waffle House copycat recipes are sure to please.
Locations in 10 states across the South
Whataburger! It’s what you’ll say when you eat one of theirs. In addition to the classic Whataburger, you can get favorites like taquitos with cheese or chicken biscuits with honey butter sauce. Check out the best burger in every state.