America’s Favorite Fast Food Joint in Every State (#13 Has a Happy Meal for Adults)

From coast to coast, explore the local fast-food flavors that steal hearts nationwide.
Updated April 11, 2024
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Fast food has come a long way since White Castle opened its doors in 1929, becoming the first official chain in the U.S. Today, it's a booming industry, feeding nearly 37% of Americans daily.

But beyond the national giants, a vibrant landscape of regional favorites thrives across the country.

So, grab your top travel credit cards and join us as we explore the most beloved fast food destinations in each state.

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Alabama: Milo’s Hamburgers (Birmingham)

Joshua Resnick/Adobe woman eating vegan meatless burger

This counter-service destination is a classic destination known for its juicy burgers, fries, and sweet tea.

This fast-food restaurant has several locations, all in Alabama. You’ll have to try the signature sauce to really find out why people come here.

Alaska: Max Burger (Anchorage)

Astarot/Adobe attractive woman eating burger

It’s a smaller location, and you could consider it a bit more upscale than a local dive, but Max Burger is one of the best fast food options in the state.

Noted for their freshly made burgers just the way you like them, it’s a go-to destination for fast, good food.

Arizona: Angie’s Lobster (Glendale)

f11photo/Adobe Maine lobster roll

Pull up or walk up to Angie’s Lobster for a different take on fast food with a seafood spin.

The menu is exactly what you expect, with lobster, shrimp, and snow crab rolls. They also have breakfast sandwiches.

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Arkansas: David’s Burgers (Little Rock)

Анастасія Стягайло/Adobe african american woman eating burger

David’s Burgers is a well-loved counter-service destination with destinations around the state.

The simple menu is intentionally designed by what you could expect from a butcher shop of the 1950s with fresh, cut-and-ground-daily burgers.

California: Peach Pit (Fresno)

Joshua Resnick/Adobe gourmet cheeseburger with pepper jack

With plenty of chains here, Peach Pit, a small destination in Fresno, stands out as a big-burger destination with the best chili cheeseburgers around.

They also offer other goodies like chicken teriyaki for those who are a bit more choosy.

Colorado: Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custard (Denver)

timolina/Adobe chicken burger with lettuce and tomatoes

This statewide fast food joint is noted for its decadent burgers and chicken sandwiches.

The frozen treats are the perfect ending to a very comfort-focused meal.

Connecticut: Ted’s Restaurant (Meriden)

escapejaja/Adobe asian girl eating cheeseburger

A regional destination since 1959, Ted’s Restaurant is known for offering steamed burgers.

An award-winning destination, you have to try the shakes alongside your burger here.

Delaware: Kick n’ Chicken (Lewes)

Atlas/Adobe fried chicken bucket with fries

Kick n’ Chicken serves simple, really good fried chicken. They never use frozen chicken, which is unique for a quick service destination.

Be warned — it takes more than a few minutes, but it's well worth it.

Florida: The Counter Burger Location (Miami)

Лидия Нагорная/Adobe fancy hamburger with fork

Why are we choosing an option in a Miami Airport? The Counter Burger Location is a top destination offering gourmet, build-your-own burgers with outstanding quality and service.

It’s one of the best fast food options for the millions traveling through the international airport.

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Georgia: Willie's Wee-Nee Wagon (Brunswick)

5second/Adobe Hot dogs with mustard and ketchup

Willie’s Wee-Nee Wagon offers a simple menu with the perfect hot dog, freshly made tea served by the gallon, and pork chop sandwiches (with a few other must-try options, too).

It’s better than anything you’ll find at a drive-thru lane, especially the friendly faces.

Hawaii: Lahaina Chicken Company (Honolulu)

Brent Hofacker/Adobe Homemade Barbecue Platter with Ribs

Lahaina Chicken Company doesn’t have anything to do with messy burgers but specializes in roasted chicken, roasts, and ribs, all served with the sides you like.

Choose what you want, they carve it for you right there, and you’re well on your way to a fast, ready-to-eat meal.

Idaho: Scotty’s Drive-In (Idaho Falls)

Robert/Adobe chef preparing burger on grill

This is how fast food used to be, with a drive-in venue-style lineup of the best cheeseburgers around.

The retro-themed destination is also a hot place for classic car lovers, thanks to the displays.

Illinois: Choppers (Chicago)

Georgii/Adobe american hamburger with two beef patties

Choppers opened in 1987 and has provided the Chicago area with the best burgers around.

They’re famous for their “happy meal for adults,” called The Choppak, which is a juicy double cheeseburger and fries.

Make sure to bring your best travel card on your next trip to the wind city and use it to order this (very) happy meal.

Indiana: Punch Burger (Indianapolis)

eskstock/Adobe friends eating at fast food restaurant

The burgers at Punch Burger are made with local, grass-fed Angus beef to create the freshest sandwich around.

It’s all about the smash0style burger on a grill top here, and you’ll love the waffle fries as a side, too.

Iowa: B-Bop’s (Des Moines)

Belokoni Dmitri/Adobe Assorted delicious burgers on dark table

B-Bop’s is a fun destination, a true retro-style drive-thru with all the favorites on the menu.

You’ll love the vibe here, and of course, the vintage tunes playing in the background sets the mood.

Kansas: Spangles (Wichita)

ManuPadilla/Adobe double cheeseburger with tomato and onion

Spangles, a state-based fast food restaurant, has been the place to go since 1978, with its mudslides, tornado shakes, and tasty sandwiches.

Try out the sourdough garlic parmesan bacon steakburger for something decadent.

Kentucky: Taco Tico (Lexington)

Joshua Resnick/Adobe mexican enchilada platter with red sauce

Here’s a fast food destination for those who love enchiladas and burritos cooked with care and served with heaping portions.

Stop in to pick up a family pack on your way home for an easy dinner they’ll love.

Louisiana: Smalls Slider (Baton Rouge)

Ivan Zhdan/Adobe child eating mini cheese burger

For smaller food with a big taste, check out Smalls Slider. With destinations throughout the region, it is a simple place with ample flavor.

Aside from the sliders, the waffle-cut fries and fantastic shakes make this a fun place for a family meal.

Maine: Rapid Ray’s (Saco)

Masaki/Adobe lobster roll on wooden board

Ray’s is a family-owned destination serving steamed hot dogs, burgers, and lobster rolls.

The destination, established in 1953, is all about speedy service with good food.

Maryland: Chaps Pit Beef (Baltimore)

fahrwasser/Adobe Bbq brisket sandwich

Here’s fast food that takes a long time to cook, low and slow. Don’t worry, it’s ready for you fast.

The pit beef destination offers it all up, including beef, turkey, pork, and chicken, with all sides you want.

Massachusetts: Clover Food Lab (Cambridge)

Christian/Adobe woman holding burrito covered with guacamole

At Clover Food Lab, you’ll find a 24-hour destination perfect for the best coffee in the area and great vegetarian food options.

This is a higher-end quick service establishment in a high-tech infused environment, perfect for the professional or student.

Michigan: Zo’s Good Burger (Dearborn)

Jacob Lund/Adobe happy african american woman eating burger

Zo’s Good Burger is as Michigan as you can get, with some huge burgers with a wide range of styles, including BBQ, Lebanese, Southwest, and even a chipotle bean burger.

Couple this with onion rings and a shake for a meal full of flavor.

Minnesota: My Burger (Minneapolis)

Cavan/Adobe waitress taking fresh burgers to serve

My Burger is an upbeat counter service destination for, of course, burgers. They have a burger of the month club that launches new options to tempt your tastebuds.

It’s a modern destination with never-frozen beef and fresh ingredients that make a difference.

Mississippi: Johnie’s Drive-In (Tupelo)

Mat Hayward/Adobe Eggs bacon and French Toast plate

You won’t be able to use a credit card here, but you will find a vintage, Elvis-inspired fast-food destination that’s an exceptional testament to old-style American eats.

This drive-in offers a fun menu of goodies, including breakfast, salads, barbecue, and the best ribeye steak sandwich in the state.

Missouri: Town-Topic Hamburgers (Kansas City)

korchemkin/Adobe woman holding burger in hands

Town-Topic Hamburgers has been the city's best destination for fast food since it opened in 1937, selling burgers for 5 cents.

Today, you’ll find the same counter service destination with great breakfast and dinner food. It’s open 24 hours, too.

Montana: Ford’s Drive-In (Great Falls)

Astarot/Adobe woman eating burger in restaurant

An iconic establishment from the car-hop days, Ford’s Drive-in gives you the fast food vibes of the 1950s — greasy burgers and shakes.

It’s so nostalgic, you have to give it a visit if you’re in town just to check out the super-friendly people.

Nebraska: Runza Restasurant (La Vista)

EWY Media/Adobe Runza Restaurant meal with Runza sandwich

Here’s a fast food chain that bucks the trend by serving German-style sandwiches.

This regional brand has over 75 years of experience offering tasty treats like the French onion dip.

Nevada: Farmer Boys (Las Vegas)

Grafvision/Adobe melted cheese hamburger

Farmer Boys is a regional fast food destination that does things a bit differently — they use the freshest ingredients possible from local farmers.

Great ingredients and some flavorful burgers (check out the parmesan-crusted sourdough cheeseburger) make for a must-try destination.

New Hampshire: The Common Man Roadside (Hooksett)

Volodymyr Shcerbak/Adobe burger and fries plate at restaurant

The Common Man Roadside is a regional location with handcrafted food, including lobster rolls, pizza, and freshly made sandwiches.

You can also stop by for breakfast and enjoy the cafe for a mid-day break.

New Jersey: The Hot Grill (Clifton)

DenisNata/Adobe hand holding hot dog outdoors

The Hot Grill calls itself the “world’s tastiest Texas Wieners” and has been serving up all kinds of combinations of goodness on hot dogs since 1961.

Their hot dogs are a custom blend with the perfect “snap” when you bite them.

New Mexico: Blake’s Lotaburger (Las Vegas)

Kzenon/Adobe Waitress serving in American restaurant

Blake’s Lotaburger is such an iconic destination. Established in 1952 with simple, good fast food, they continue to impress with burgers and chicken made your way.

This regional destination is noted for its green chile cheeseburgers and huge brownies.

New York: Essen Fast Slow Food (New York City)

urdialex/Adobe sushi on table in japanese restaurant

Essen Fast Slow Food is a different take on fast food. Stop in, enjoy the hot and cold food bars to make your own meal, and get on your way in no time.

It’s a large selection of goodies, including higher-quality options like sushi.

North Carolina: Snoopy’s Hot Dogs & More (Raleigh)

DenisNata/Adobe hot dog garnished with pickles

In Raleigh, you’ll find a small building with lots of people standing outside. That’s Snoopy’s Hot Dogs & More.

This old-style, counter-service fast food location offers BBQ, hot dogs, and some of the juiciest burgers around.

North Dakota: Scotty’s (Bismark)

Fischer Food Design/Adobe Burger with fries on wooden board

Scotty’s is a long-established fast food joint known for The Rebel Burger. It’s common to see classic cars here, but the food really is what drives people to this location.

Big sandwiches, secret sauce, and fries with perfectly seasoned gravy make it a hardy meal.

Ohio: Swenson’s (Seven Hills)

volff/Adobe burger with cola and potato fries

A true old-style drive-in (they still come running out to your car when you arrive), Swenson’s is a top stop for burgers like The Galley Boy.

This Midwest regional fast food location was established in 1934 with the goal of serving the best hamburger possible.

Oklahoma: Trucker’s Onion Burgers (Oklahoma City)

Goncharuk film/Adobe grilled chicken burgers in craft box

Burgers, fries, and shakes done the old-fashioned way is the promise of Trucker’s Onion Burgers. The menu is simple, but the burgers are hot and made fresh when you order them.

From fresh fries and lemonade to their combination of beef and turkey burgers, it’s different enough to bring you back over and over again.

Oregon: Mike’s Drive-In (Oregon City)

Natalia/Adobe classic burger and fries combo

Mike’s Drive-In is a true old-style burger joint that’s very simple and basic from the outside, serving up big burger portions with lots of topping options.

They’re also known for their ice cream cone for $1.49 every day, all day — the perfect ending to your meal.

Pennsylvania: John’s Roast Pork (Philadelphia)

Emojibb.Family/Adobe The Classic Philly Cheesesteak

John’s Roast Pork is a fixture in the cheesesteak world. Established in 1930, this family-run business serves roast pork on buns.

Huge cheesesteaks-style sandwiches made fresh on a grill top, the food here is exceptional and easily craveable (good thing they offer nationwide delivery).

Rhode Island: Olneyville New York System (Providence)

Pixel-Shot/Adobe Woman squeezing sauce on hot dog

At Olneyville New York System, you have a local staple serving some of the region's best hot dogs, burgers, and steak sandwiches and noted for its celebrity sightings.

Their wiener sauce is legendary, and the cheese fries are truly over-the-top good.

South Carolina: Zesto (Columbia)

Sevendeman/Adobe man eating fried chicken at restaurant

Zesto isn’t just an ice cream shop but a burger and chicken fast-food restaurant as well. The locally owned location opened its doors in 1945 and hasn’t stopped creating fantastic food.

It’s a simple menu, and they aim to keep prices as low as possible, too. Have the corn dog or the Zestoburger with fries and slaw.

South Dakota: Zesto (Pierre)

beats_/Adobe fish and chips with potato lemon

Zesto (no affiliation with the South Carolina location) is a fantastic ice cream shop serving fish and chip baskets, barbeque, and a pizza burger that’s on point.

Whether you choose one of the slushes or a float, you’ll certainly love the flavor and the smiling staff here.

Tennessee: Hugh-Baby’s (Nashville)

Ezume Images/Adobe Pulled Pork Burger on wooden board

It doesn’t look like much more than a shack, but what they do inside is magical. Fantastic BBQ and burgers, freshly made fries, and sweet-as-can-be shakes make it a must.

This small, fast-food chain offers surprisingly good slow-smoked pulled pork and lots of exceptionally prepared options that go beyond the average fast-food destination.

Texas: Top Notch (Austin)

BGStock72/Adobe multi ethnic friends at restaurant

Top Notch, a two-location old-school burger joint and drive-in, is known for more than its food. They have live music and car shops you have to check out.

A staple in the area since 1971, the menu has plenty of options, including fried pies for dessert.

Utah: Golden Gyros (Salt Lake City)

kerkezz/Adobe mother daughter eating food on street

For fast food prepared in authentic Greek fashion, check out Golden Gyros.

They have a lot of fast food favorites, like mushroom Swiss burgers and bacon cheeseburgers, but they also offer options like the feta burger and, of course, gyros.

They’re a simple destination using old-school recipes to create fantastic meals.

Vermont: Beansie’s Bus (Burlington)

Leart/Adobe Boy eating barbecue grilled hot dog

It’s a retrofitted school bus that opened in 1944, offering fries and Michigan hot dogs from April through September each year, but Beanie’s Bus is a true local favorite.

It’s fast food but made with attention to detail from passionate owners.

Virginia: Bo Bo’s Fine Chicken (Virginia Beach)

Johnstocker/Adobe hand dipping fried chicken in ketchup

BoBo’s Fine Chicken isn’t a 99-cent burger type of place because it serves local fried chicken made from scratch.

It’s a simple destination that offers family-style seasoning and hardy portions no matter if you want to come in to sit and chat or go through the drive-thru.

Washington: Lil Woody’s Burgers & Shakes (Seattle)

ktianngoen0128/Adobe fries with milkshake at restaurant table

A local fast food chain, Lil Woody’s Burgers & Shakes is a fun, upbeat burger joint with an environmentally conscious focus.

They source everything they can locally, including Royal Ranch grass-fed beef, and hand-cut the fries on-site.

West Virginia: Tudor’s Biscuit World (Charleston)

Jennifer/Adobe homemade buttermilk biscuit with country ham

At Tudor’s Biscuit World, you can step up to the counter to order from a large menu of breakfast, lunch, and dinner choices. The stacked ham sandwich is just one of several must-try options.

For breakfast, nothing beats a biscuit sandwich prepared with what you love on it.

Wisconsin: JD’s Drive-In (Appleton)

romaset/Adobe man eating saucy cheeseburger

Since 1968, JD’s Drive-In has served American grub counter service style. The burgers are tasty, and the fries are packed full.

What you’ll really want to check out, though, is the frozen custard to end your meal — super sweet with lots of flavor options.

Wyoming: Hamburger Stand (Casper)

ivandanru/Adobe saucy burger on wooden board

Hamburger Stand is the type of fast food location you want when you want comfort food at its best.

This regional fast food destination offers burgers, chili cheese dogs, and corn dogs that are sure to bust any craving.

Bottom line

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe couple eating fries near food truck

While the specific forms of fast food may vary across the country, they all share a common purpose: providing quick, convenient meals while helping you keep more cash in your wallet.

From classic options to more adventurous creations, there's no denying the appeal of a satisfying and familiar meal, especially after a long day.

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Sandy Baker Sandy Baker is a has over 17 years of experience in the financial sector. Her experience includes website content, blogs, and social media. She’s worked with companies such as, Bankrate, TransUnion, Equifax, and Consumer Affairs.

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