Phoenix ranks third in national fast food survey

Today is National Fast Food Day. I’m not sure how I should celebrate, I call Jeff Herman, the “editor” at LawnStarter, a lawn care company based in Austin, TX. Lawn starter just published a comprehensive review of the best cities in America to eat drive-thru burgers and chicken wings in paper bags. Phoenix came in third place, just behind Orlando, Florida and Houston, Texas.

I know all about diversification in the 21st century, so I’m not asking Jeff why a lawn care company ranks fast food restaurants or why they employ an editor, let alone one with a “fun” title. Instead, I ask him who decided that November 16 is National Fast Food Day.

“That’s a good question,” he replies. ” It was not me. And, yes, it’s not a holiday like Arbor Day, which has always been around. But these days, if you look at a calendar, you’ll notice that there are vacations for just about everything. We thought that was a great excuse to come up with a study… ”

“To promote your lawn care business? I interrupt.

“To celebrate fast food,” he replies.

I confide in Jeff that I am not at all prepared for this vacation. Distracted by real holidays like Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas, I didn’t think of National Fast Food Day. How, I ask him, should I celebrate?

“Well, what I would do is eat somewhere healthier,” he says. “Like maybe get a big green salad from Salad To Go. Do you have any in Phoenix?”

Hey, I want to say. You’re the expert in fast food chains around here. But that sounds rude, so I rather tell him that eating healthy on fast food day seems disrespectful.

“Well, I know Wendy used to have a three-tiered burger, if you’re looking for a heart attack on a bun.”

I’m not sure how to answer that, so I ask how Jeff’s lawn care business ranked next year’s best cities for fast food lovers. Turns out they compared nearly 200 of America’s biggest cities based on their access to fast food restaurants and food delivery services, then looked at the quality of the food based on consumer ratings and of what’s known as the Thrillist Fasties Awards, an award show that ranks America’s best tastiest burgers and fries.

Jeff can tell I’m pissed off by the revelation that Phoenix has more national fast food chains than almost any other city in the country, a fact highlighted in his LawnStarter study. “You could see it that way,” he tries to reassure me. “Maybe you live in a particularly adventurous place to try out new restaurant concepts, to see if they fly.”

You mean like the seven new fried chicken restaurants that opened here last week? I want to ask, but don’t.

“Do I understand that Phoenix has the most food delivery service in the country?” I ask instead.

We do, Jeff tells me. “All the major players in food delivery are represented in your city. Maybe because it’s very hot there, people don’t want to leave their homes to eat. But I’ve been to Phoenix, and you have this outdoor patio stuff in every restaurant that douses you with water.

“Gentlemen,” I answer.

“Those,” he said. “I love your gentlemen.”

Not all Phoenix fast food news is good, Jeff tells me. “Your reviews on social media are not great. The median consumer score for a fast food meal by those commenting online was 80. That could be a higher number. But then you don’t go to a fast food restaurant for four star food so I don’t know what people are complaining about.

I ask Jeff if he thinks there are people out there who only eat fast food, and he admits there are. “I think the former president ate a lot of it,” he said. “I was used to it myself, but it’s just not a good diet. I say: “Enjoy your favorite dishes, but in moderation”.

I know Jeff has lawns to mow and I don’t want to keep him. I ask him if it’s possible that we have something called National Slow Food Day, and how Phoenix might fit on such a list.

“I don’t know,” he admits. “But I’m sure there is already a Slow Food Day somewhere on the calendar. You just have to watch. ”

How, I ask Jeff, would Slow Food Day be best honored?

“With a slow cooker,” he replies.

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