Fast-food has been an American staple of life since the industrial revolution. During the industrial productivity growth was exponential. And more productivity means more demand. The high demands of the modern economy were the key player in the fast food industry because people needed something to eat that was cheap and fast. The first fast foods were more straightforward than what we see today. It’s not like a burger became an available daily staple from day one. In the beginning, fast food meant getting a baked potato, or a quick sandwich at the local deli.
Then with gradual immigration to America from around the world the fun stuff, and as Americans started having access to more ingredients, fast food became more and more interesting. With the help of the American dream mentality, fast-food has evolved to what we know today. Anything from cheesesteaks, to quick salads, noodles, to pho. There is always something for anyone, and they can get it fast hot, and ready to eat in just minutes. We have gathered 40 fast food items from menus across the country. They are all unique in their own way, and you need to try them before you can’t! After all, our good health does not last forever.
Let’s Start with the King
More than 11 million people walk through Burger King’s door every day to eat “America’s Favorite Burger.” Many of them are coming to eat the undoubtedly iconic “Whopper Sandwich.”
The whopper was Burger King’s answer to the McDonalds Big Mack, and it puts up quite the fight. Expect a slightly bigger patty than McDonald’s burgers, with allot of Smokey flavor. You may want to tell them to go light on the condiments because the King is notorious for being a bit too generous.
The first Five Guys Burger was founded in Arlington Virginia in 1986 when two parents “Jerry,” and Janie Morrel” offered their four young sons an ultimatum, either go to college or start a business.
The four brothers chose the ladder and decided to open a burger joint that would run under the guidance of mom, and dad would serve hand-formed burgers, and fresh cut fries that would only be fried in delicious peanut oil. The juicy five guys burger was a hit and quickly transformed into an international chain. Today even in London’s Islington borough. Their fatty, juicy patty is worth the trip!
Kentucky’s Gift to Man
You cannot consider yourself an American if you have not heard of KFC. The fried chicken fast food chain boasts the best-fried chicken for a low price that you can get across the country no matter where you are! KFC chicken is flavorful, juicy, and always fills up the family.
For less than ten bucks, a family can get a bucket of chicken, with sides like mashed potato, wedges, and mac & cheese. Good luck figuring out what their recipe of 11 herbs and spices is though!
The Ultimate Crave
White Castle is known to be the ultimate American craving. Their little 50-gram burgers pack a flavorful punch. They have a bit of mustard, chopped onion, and mustard. When you order at white castle, what your getting is many little burgers in a cute box.
White Castle chose to focus less on being as big as McDonald’s, and focus more on being a destination burger joint. One of their best strategies was the sponsorship of the iconic American comedy, Harold and Kumar go to White Castle. If you watch the movie, you are guaranteed two things. The first thing is you will laugh very hard, and the second is you will end up at White Castle yourself.
Not Big Chain
Sonic like White Castle wants you to look for them and not the other way around. The Fast Food joint runs on the classic 50s style format of burgers brought right to your vehicle.
There are not many sonics in America, and they are almost always on the east coast. Despite that, they are full of happy customers during their daily happy hour where you can get yourself, their staple flag drinks the “Sonic Cherry Limeade” for half off!
Gotta Try Once
Arby’s is the fast food answer to the cold cut experience. They serve different items of cold sandwiches, with some fun sauces, good rolls, and killer curly fries.
Their Roast Beef Sandwich is a pure classic. A big pile of roast beef with nothing around it other than a fresh sesame seed bun. Arby’s is a disputable fast food restaurant, and not everyone gives it good reviews, but it may be worth comparing to Subway to see who is the better of two evils.
Wendy’s is a fast food brand that is unlike McDonald’s and Burger King, and his its own western charm. They are the first fast food restaurant to introduce the square burger and even offer a rather delicious chili too.
Their most loved desert on the menu is their classic “Frosty.” Imagine a mix between a milkshake and a soft ice cream. There are only two flavors that have not changed since 1969, and they are chocolate and vanilla. With chocolate being the most loved by Americans.
The McDonalds Happy Meal is no other than the most thriving kids’ menu item in the world and is the most ordered fast food item by children since 1979. There’s nothing more fun a kid than having some good old McNuggets and pulling them out of a box with a smile on it.
Parents can get apples instead of fries, and even get a milkshake or juice box. The best part of all, opening the toy at the end of the meal.
Fall Coffee Fun
If you’re coming to the mainland from over sea’s, you may find that the only reasonable place to get a good coffee is Starbucks! They are by all means the single American coffee chain (outside of major cities) that does it right, and every year around Thanksgiving, Americans flock to get themselves a taste of the Pumpkin Spice Latte.
It less of a coffee more of a mix between a pumpkin pie, milk, and a bit of coffee flavor. So, if you’re in the mood for a pick me up, go for the average joe. This drink is more of a desert on its own.
Rolling Up the Fun
Taco Bell brings in the big guns when it comes to providing a good tasting, filling and a flavorful burrito for a low price, their flag dish is the Taco Bell Burrito Supreme. Or what they call, “The Supreme Ruler of the Burrito Empire.”
Make sure to get yourself all the delicious sauce packs and try them all! Also, make sure to come hungry and plan nothing for after the meal, you’ll need to rest.
Chick-fil-A is a great place to get some good chicken and the alternative to those who are into bread that is a bit less heavy.
Their most loved item on the menu is the Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich, and oh boy does it pack a flavorful punch! At Chick-fil-A, you’re going to want to explore from their many delicious sauces such as ranch and honey mustard.
The Rightful Re-Brand
In 2018 Dunkin Donuts had rebranded themselves as Dunkin’, and rightfully so considering their most selling item on the menu is their coffee. Despite the brand change, the iconic block by block coffee joint still sells 2.9 billion donuts a year.
So, need not worry about losing your munchkins! Whether you are in the middle of Anchorage Alaska or found yourself in Grand Central Station in NY, you will, and I repeat you will find a Dunkin’ nearby.
The Best Treat to Share
In 1945, Krispy Kreme rolled out their Original Glazed Doughnuts, and the recipe has stayed consistent ever since! Dunkin’ may have held down the fort when it comes to coffee, but Krispy Kreme is unmatched in the quality, and taste of their doughnuts!
If you ever find yourself in a new office job, and you want to bring a smile into the room on a Monday morning, go pick up a dozen Glazed Doughnuts, and the whole office will love yours forever!
Cheese fries are a big deal in America, they are sold at baseball games, on boardwalks, amusement parks, and even get featured in American school lunches. Taco Bell launched their own take on the cheese fry, and it’s simple and delicious.
In 2019 they launched their Nacho Fries, and have not looked back since. The extra crispy, seasoned fries come with your own queso cheese dip, and sold 53 million orders within its first five weeks of launch. That’s a lot of cheddar!
But Her Burger
Culver’s launched their fast food franchise in 1984, in Sauk City, Wisconsin. They primarily run in the Midwestern United States and call their cheeseburger “The Original” ButterBurger.
If you’re wondering about the name, yes, the burger is cooked in butter, and is known to have a uniquely delicious taste! So, if you’re ever out there in the Midwest, go ahead and give it go!
The Tex-Mex Breakfast
If you are ever in Texas and you see McDonald’s on one side of the street, and Whataburger on the other, then choose the ladder! It’s an experience you won’t forget. Needless to say, you will then become part of Texan culture once you walk through those doors.
Whataburger is a Texan staple, and the people of Texas will ride or die for it! Their star of the show is actually their breakfast burrito, or as they call it, “The Taquito with Cheese.” Saddle up and give it go!
Never Gets Old
Domino’s Pepperoni Pizza is an iconic flavor of its own. Ask any pizza lover, and they will tell you that Domino’s is not a pizza. Let them reflect for a minute, and they will go on to tell you that there is craving a pizza, and then there is craving Domino’s.
Domino’s pizza has a soft sourdough crust, and a right amount of garlic powder all over. Their pizza sauce has a lot of sugars and preservatives that all seem to come together to make a delicious fast food version of a pizza. The pepperoni is crispy and spicy, and the best part of all, it makes it to your home hot in 30 minutes or less!
Kind of Gourmet
Panera Bread opened its doors in the early millennium with the goal of bringing good café food, with reasonable prices. Most people find themselves ordering the half sandwich and salad, some soup and salad, and for those who dare to indulge in a hearty lunch, there is the Tortellini Alfredo!
So, if you find yourself driving by, and want an option that is a bit more than just grease, go ahead and give it a try!
If You Have Not Had It, Go Now!
Chinese restaurants in America are their own class of food. They are a mix of American taste in food, with a Chinese flavor. Most of the menu’s in these restaurants are consistent as if they follow some type of a rule book, and since there is so much of the same thing, you may find yourself opting for Panda Express instead.
Yes, they are just the same, but you can see the food in front of you, and they have the most business, so you know you’re going to get what’s fresh. Kung Pao Chicken is a must for first-timers.
My First McDonalds Meal
When I first immigrated to the states in 1994, I had never tried a McDonald’s item in my life. Not because there wasn’t any, but because it was considered unhealthy and I was not allowed. By the time I had moved to the states, I was 5 years old and consciously picky!
My uncle took my sister and I to McDonald’s for breakfast during a long drive to Washington to meet my cousin. My sister told my uncle, “he doesn’t eat anything unless its white.” So, my uncle got me a hash brown and oh boy was I happy! Great first meal McDonald’s, thanks a million! A shout out to you too Uncle Steve!
Not to Share!
The American Biscuit is no food item any American wants to split in half and share with a friend! The outer crust is flaky and salty, and the inside is buttery and melts in your mouth.
If you want an excellent Biscuit, you need to go to the south, and if you can’t reach the south, then don’t worry, the south will come to you. The all-time best fast food biscuit belongs to the Louisiana style fried chicken franchise, “Popeye’s Chicken.”
Best for Your Buck
Little Caesar’s pizza is no known to be the best pizza in America, not even by a longshot!
But if you want to feed yourself fully with cheese sauce and dough, and only have five bucks in your pocket, then the Little Caesars “Hot-N-Ready Pepperoni Pizza” is just the meal for you! It will resemble nothing more than a frozen pizza, but you will be just as packed with calories as anything else, so give it a try, what do you have to lose!
Okay so back to Taco Bell! Taco Bell has dozens of different items on the menu, and most of them tend to be the same flavor with different combination’s, so it’s hard to bring something different to the table.
So, if you’re looking for a bit of a twist, then try out the Taco Bell Chalupa Supreme. It’s like a taco, only instead of a hard-shell tortilla, you get a fired chalupa exterior with all the Taco goodness inside!
The Friggin’ McMuffin
No Breakfast, ill repeat it, no breakfast is better than the simple, yet on point McDonald’s Egg McMuffin. When McDonald’s broke out the item in 1972, it would be the only item on the menu that would come from a fresh source that didn’t meet a freezer.
McDonald’s fry cooks actually crack a real egg into a special griddle that cooks them to perfection, they then butter up some toasted muffins, and top it with ham and cheese. The first bite will melt in your mouth, and you will want another one!
Back to Red
If you are sick of the McNuggets and want something different, it’s worth giving the Wendy’s Chicken Nugget a try!
Wendy’s Nuggets are all white meat, with a slightly crispy outside, and a nice house sauce on the side. McNuggets are very unique in flavor, so if you’re not in the mood, this is a good substitute.
The Subway Chicken, Bacon, Ranch Melt is not a healthy sandwich, and in comparison, to their other food items, it’s not trying to be.
Subway has been around for a long time, and they know what you want if you’re coming in hungry. Grilled chicken, crispy bacon, hot pepper, onion, tomato, lettuce, all with melted cheese on top!
McDonald’s fries are considered the number one fries in America, but they may be dispute by the die-hard fans of Burger King.
Burger King fries are a bit thicker and have a little more meat to them. They used to do it themselves, but it’s encouraged to pour salt and pepper on them, and you will get the full power of the BK fry.
Shake it Up
Shake Shack burgers are the east coast answer to the iconic west coast In N Out burger franchise. The Shake Shack burger is considered to be better than In N Out too! The burger joint franchise has some great options of simple burgers done right and grilled to perfection.
The “SmokeShack Burger” is one of their flag dishes. The SmokeShack is a cheeseburger with crispy smoked bacon on top. The franchise recently went back on their fries moving from crinkled fries to regular cut fries and after complaints from customers back to crinkled!
KFC mashed potatoes are an unsung hero of the fast food world. With almost every order of family bucket being ordered with a side of mash.
These mashed potatoes may not be anything like a French restaurant, but they have the right amount of salt, a nice creamy texture, and that good old KFC gravy on top!
“Can I Get a Glass of Cream with Some Coffee on Top?”
Yes, the title says it all. You’re looking at the Starbucks Macchiato. It’s a very basic blend of heavy cream foamed up, topped with two shots of espresso.
It will not just give you energy, but it will also give you calories and a reason to go to the bathroom, but if you’re in the mood for a refreshing, smooth coffee drink in the summer, this will do the job!
Okay so maybe McDonald’s is not known for their desserts, but it’s worth mentioning they have a pretty good apple pie.
The apple pie has passed the test of time, and has been on the menu for 50 years already! There is no secret to it. Flaky dough, a warm cinnamon apple core, and a lot of sugar! What’s not to like!
Pizza Hut is another American pizza chain that is not selling pizza. Yes, it may have cheese on it, and maybe there is sauce and dough under there, but it does not taste like what Italians call a pizza.
But for fast food, it does the trick, of giving you sodium flavor and getting you full. So, enjoy!
Chick-fil-A Iced Tea
Sweet tea may not be much to some people, but to others, it’s a cult following. Chick-fil-A knew this 30 years ago when they introduced their own cold sweet tea recipe, and it is actually one of their best-selling drinks on the menu!
It has that sweet, bitter tea flavor, with a squeezed lemon on top, and your own helping of sugar. Choose your sweetness and begin the gulp!
Many people come to Subway to have a sandwich, others like my mom and my girlfriend will order a sandwich just so they can have the cookie too!
The subway soft chocolate cookie Is a pretty good dessert option compared to the other ones on the list. It’s small, delicious, cheap, and not too much to have to finish after a big lunch.
Ball Park Fries
East Coast franchise checkers have fries that are worth a first-time visit. They are pound for pound the crispest fries out there, and have an excellent peppery seasoning on them too!
Checkers is found amongst some more disenfranchised neighborhoods of America, so be respectful in line, and just focus on getting your fingers on them fries! Despite its weird location’s, people from across the country come to check it out!
Okay so back to Whataburger. Whataburger is the number one fast food burger in Texas, and the number 23 fast food burger joint in America.
Texan’s swear by it while outsiders skepticize in its popularity saying maybe they wouldn’t like it so much if they had to travel a long way to try it too! The only way to kno0w is to try one yourself.
If you have ever been to a kid’s birthday party in the states, then you probably came across these little guys.
The Dunkin’ Munchkins may have well just been around since the beginning of American history. They come in many delicious flavors. For 10 bucks you can by 50 that taste like a million bucks!
Not Your Average Movie
Have you ever snuck in a movie theatre with KFC Popcorn Chicken? I haven’t, but I should, and so should you! KFC Popcorn Chicken is better than the real thing!
It tastes fantastic and comes with some really fun dips, and if you went to a KFC-Taco Bell hybrid branch, then you’re going to be able to get some taco bell hot sauce too!
Better Than a French Fry
In 2014 Burger King Broke out their Chicken Fries to the menu, and they were a big success! Chicken fries are not a hard sell in America either.
They have actually been around in American school lunches, at least when I was a kid. It’s almost as if we were conditioned to buy them before they even came out. Either way who cares they rock!
Popeyes Chicken is a great way to end this list, they are a delicious staple of American comfort, and there is never a dull moment when eating at Popeyes chicken.
They have thin crispy breading, great buttery biscuits, salty, delicious fries, and really cute orange design that is all the more inviting.