In honor of how quick and unsatisfying last night was I thought I would focus in on my favorite fast food restaurants of all time. The places below transcend the normal, boring fast food and make food that I crave.
- Chick-Fil-A - Was there any doubt what would come in at number 1? Chick-Fil-A is the best of the best when it comes to fast food. The fact that they only offer chicken sandwiches is a plus in my opinion. Some restaurants try to offer everything and end up being mediocre in a bunch of things. Chick-Fil-A perfected the chicken sandwich and every product offering is based off of that. Back in high school I would eat one or two of those chicken sandwiches before every basketball game. Now when I am back in the South it is almost required to make a visit to Chick-Fil-A. And one of my favorite things about the chain is that all the stores are extremely clean with extra friendly staffs. I think some of that has to do with Chick-Fil-A being a private brand with a very tough franchise application process. It only costs $5,o0o to start a Chick-Fil-A franchise, but less than 1% of applicants are accepted. From my experience at the chain you can see the quality in the owner, the staff and the food. *Just writing this makes me wish I could easily get one here in Minneapolis. *There is one Chick-Fil-A on the University of Minnesota's campus on 300 Washington Avenue
- Skyline Chili - Along with Chick-Fil-A this is another private franchise that is absolutely amazing. Also, like Chick-Fil-A this chain focus on doing one thing well and that is chili and cheese. I absolutely love the chili cheese conies (3 if I'm hungry and 4 if I'm starved) and wouldn't mind eating the same thing meal after meal. Something about the flavor and the stack of cheese makes me want to text my friends to brag about how I am at Skyline. (And I normally do text two friends in particular when I am at Skyline.) For those of you who don't know Skyline is a Cincinnati based chain with restaurants primarily in Ohio. There was one location in my college town of Oxford, Ohio and I was known to go there after the bars closed at 2am for the $1/coney special. Between that and Bagel & Deli there might not be better eating in the world than what is offered at 2am in Oxford. Since college it isn't a stretch to write that I have been to Skyline on average once per trip back to Ohio. It is a go to spot now and for the foreseeable future.
- In-N-Out Burger - I have only been to In-N-Out Burger (another private franchise) once on a trip to Las Vegas, but I came away very impressed. The excellent, cheap burger definitely lived up to the considerable hype. This chain also doesn't try to do too many things and instead just works on perfecting burgers, fries and shakes. They do a great job of that and next time I'm on the west coast I will probably have to go back to In-N-Out Burger.
- Chipotle - The only thing better than a well-timed Chipotle burrito is if you would have bought Chipotle stock (CMG) a year ago (up 128%). A lot has been written and said about Chipotle and let be another one to chime in on how much I enjoy eating one of those 1000 calorie burritos. It is basic, simple and excellent. Notice a theme? I enjoy fast food restaurants that do one thing and do that well.
- Quiznos - This is the first fast food place that I don't go out of my way for, but there is a good reason why it made my top 5 list. The reason is that back in my senior year of college I worked 9 hours a week at Quiznos. Most people probably hate working in the fast food industry, but I loved it. My boss was excellent (she gave me a lifetime 50% off coupon to that Quiznos as a graduation present) and I loved making sandwiches for people. A lot of the work that is done in the corporate world is so far removed from the end customer that you can sometimes get jaded. At Quiznos there was a lot of satisfaction in making something that you could see brought joy to the end customers. Also, another point in Quiznos favor is that I actually liked the subs. When I worked there I would make up my own combinations and enjoy my own creativity. Now I have to settle on the normal sandwiches, but still I enjoy what is offered and don't mind going back to Quiznos.