The Fast Food Chains the Bay Area Doesn’t Have Yet (But Wants to Try)

We may be the land of craftsmanship and small batches, but let’s face it: we love a good, inexpensive burger as much as anyone (if not as overtly or as often).

With that in mind, we decided to explore the country’s many fast food offerings to see what the Bay Area doesn’t have. If you live outside of San Francisco, you already know how many fast food chains we have in the area – seriously, we don’t need another Subway. But there are still plenty of smaller scale regional fast food chains that offer intriguing possibilities.

Moe’s Southwest Grill

Moeís Southwest Grill, a fast casual burrito chain based in Atlanta.

Moe’s Southwest Grill

Not that the Bay Area needs more burritos, but we’re curious about this one because it beat Chipotle in the Harris Poll’s”Fast Casual Mexican Restaurant of the Yearcategory a few years ago.

gold krust

Jerk Chicken Wings with Golden Krust.

Jerk Chicken Wings with Golden Krust.

bionicgrrrl/Flickr Creative Commons

Sure, the burgers are good, but how amazing is that jerk chicken and rice? The small New York-based chain specializes in Jamaican cuisine, ranging from patties to braised oxtail.

by Schlotzsky

An Original sandwich as served at Schlotzky's.

An Original sandwich as served at Schlotzky’s.

Courtesy photo / Facebook

The Texas-founded bakery-café is best known for its Original sandwich, which features “smoked ham, Genoa and terracotta salamis, and melted cheeses of cheddar, mozzarella and Parmesan” on a sourdough bun. . They also sell Cinnabons if you want double the carbs.

Runza

Runza, a Nebraska favorite.

Runza, a Nebraska favorite.

Germany/Flickr Creative Commons

A Nebraska classic, a runza is a doughy pocket of bread filled with meat, cabbage, and onions, which sounds like the perfect hangover fare. If your interest has been piqued, you can get their food delivered to you, but it will set you back $140 for a pack of 12 frozen Runza sandwiches.

Culver’s

Culver's Deluxe Double Bacon Burger.

Culver’s Deluxe Double Bacon Burger.

Helen L. Montoya/San Antonio Express-News

The Midwest-based chain is famous for its ice cream and ButterBurgers, which are burgers topped with a buttered bun. They also have fried cheese curds if you fancy a county fair meal.

Tropical Pollo

A range of dishes from Pollo Tropical.

A range of dishes from Pollo Tropical.

Tropical Pollo

A Caribbean alternative to Pollo Loco’s Mexican-style cuisine, Pollo Tropical offers plantains, yuca and its namesake chicken dishes.

Belly sandwich

An Italian sandwich from Potbelly Sandwich Shop.

An Italian sandwich from Potbelly Sandwich Shop.

Belly sandwich

In San Francisco, you may struggle to find an inexpensive classic deli sandwich. Potbelly offers the usual sandwiches, plus chillies and malts.

McAlister’s Deli

The grilled chicken club sandwich at McAlister's Deli.

The grilled chicken club sandwich at McAlister’s Deli.

Greg C. via Yelp

A Southern favorite, McAlister’s is famous for its sweet tea, which can be purchased by the gallon.

At Zaxby’s

Zaxby's, the cult favorite known for its chicken wings, tenders and signature sauces.

Zaxby’s, the cult favorite known for its chicken wings, tenders and signature sauces.

Courtesy, Zaxby’s

College football fans will have heard of Zaxby’s, a Southern chain that sometimes sponsors bowling games. The chain is known for its chicken wings, and with mediocre choices like Buffalo Wild Wings here, it would be nice to have another option in the mix.

cookieville

A meal from Biscuitville.

A meal from Biscuitville.

SouthsideCentral/Flickr Creative Commons

The Virginia and North Carolina chain offers fried okra, sweet potato casserole and other Southern treats. They also have a “healthy” menu, but if you’re eating in Biscuitville, why bother?

Bojangles

Chicken at Bojangles.

Chicken at Bojangles.

Larry Miller/Flickr Creative Commons

Chicken and Cookies: Need we say more?

whataburger

Whataburger, the highly publicized Texan classic.

Whataburger, the highly publicized Texan classic.

Courtesy of Whataburger

If you have friends in Texas, you’ve no doubt heard the hype around Whataburger. Unlike the clean, simple menu at our beloved In-N-Out, Whataburger is endless customization. According to our sister site in Houstonyou can create 36,864 different command combinations.


Whataburger has over 700 locations across Texas, but none in California. And we’d love to try it, if only to measure it at the Double Double.

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