Thrillist Produces Red White and Food Map – What Are the Most Iconic Fast Food Restaurants in Every State?
50 states, and 50 iconic fast food brands. The online magazine Thrillist compiled a map showing the most iconic fast food brand from each of the 50 United States. What made the list? Brands that were founded, headquartered or just emblematic of the state.
Some of the choices are spot on. Others, I have to argue with. Let's hop around the map:
Starting with New York. of course, Sbarro? Nothing against the mall and travel plaza pizza place, but is it iconically New York? More so than Coney Island's Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs? And since we know that New York State is more than just the city, how about a nod to Buffalo's Mighty Taco or my personal choice Rochester's DiBella's Old Fashioned Subs which is expanding rapidly across the country - but not Utica, c'mon!
My home state of Michigan is represented by Domino's Pizza. Detroit based Little Ceaser's has an equally valid claim. For that matter, so does Hungry Howie's. Who knew southeast Michigan was the home of so many national pizza chains?
Tiny Delaware has one of the best fast food chains I've ever eaten at. Wilmington based Capriotti's Sandwich Shop specializes in subs made with fresh homemade, slow cooked pulled turkey. There aren't words to tell you how much I love the sandwiches there.
Iowa: No argument on Maid-Rite. If you're ever in Iowa or Illinois, find a Maid-Rite. The loose meat sandwiches are different from any other hamburger you've eaten.
Next door in Nebraska, is a fast food chain that didn't made the map and it's one that's been on my to-go list for a long time, Runza. Like the Maid-Rite, the Runza sandwich is a very different take on ground beef. The sandwiches are maybe like what we would call a tunnel or roll around Central New York. The sandwich roll is baked around the meat.
Indiana's Steak and Shake is awesome and, if you go, be sure to 'takhomasak.' But try to go somewhere in the Hoosier state and not find a pork tenderloin sandwich on the menu. My favorite is the tenderloin topped with shredded cabbage and Wally sauce at Penguin Point.
The Thrillist article mentions that Georgia was a tough choice between Chick-fil-A and Waffle House. My favorite chain to come from the Peach State didn't have a chance, Zaxby's. They make chicken fingers like you've never had with a special dipping sauce that's, like their slogan, indescribably good. Finally, before we leave Georgia, we have to give special mention to the Atlanta area's The Varsity - What'll Ya Have?
That's my take. What do you think of the restaurants on this map? Who deserves to be there, who got left off? Let me know in the comments below.