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The Best Southern Fast-Food Spots

Southerners really lucked out in the fast-food department. Check out these regional restaurants locals swear by.

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Biscuitville biscuit sandwich and drinkBiscuitville via Facebook

Biscuitville

Locations in North Carolina and Virginia

No matter what time you stop in at Biscuitville, you’re sure to get a fresh-baked biscuit—this family-owned chain makes a new batch every 15 minutes! Be sure to get there by 2 p.m., though: this is just a breakfast and lunch joint. Running late? Stay home and pop open a can of our favorite brand of biscuits.

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Bojangles' chicken strips, biscuit and friesBojangles' via Facebook

Bojangles’ Famous Chicken n’ Biscuits

Locations in 13 states across the South

Southerners love Bojangles, whose famous fried chicken is never frozen. The cooks marinate it for 12 hours before finishing it off with a flamin’ hot breading. If you don’t live near any of their 600+ locations, make our Bojangles copycat recipes at home.

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cook outvia @cookout/instagram

Cook Out


Locations in 10 states across the South

Described as the In-n-Out of the South, Cook Out has a cult following around the United States. Get a burger, barbecue or chicken a la carte or go crazy with one of the build-your-own combos, where the possibilities are practically endless. Side of hushpuppies? Yes, please.

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Dat Dog hotdog beside a drinkDat Dog via Facebook

Dat Dog

Locations in Louisiana

If you’re in the Big Easy, you’ve gotta eat at Dat Dog at least once. Sure, you could get a classic hot dog, but since you’re there, we suggest ordering one of the regional specialties, like alligator sausage and crawfish hot dogs. Go wild with toppings by asking for “chef’s choice.”

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Jack's food on a picnic tableJack's via Facebook

Jack’s

Locations in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee

Sometimes the simplest food tastes the best. Case in point: Jack’s. Originally a hamburger joint, this spot now serves handmade Southern standards, from biscuits and gravy for breakfast to a killer fried chicken sandwich for any time of day.

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Krystal burger, fries and sodaKrystal via Facebook

Krystal

Locations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee

If Harold and Kumar had known about Krystal, we’re not sure they ever would’ve made it to White Castle. It’s tempting to order a whole tray of their tiny, square burgers, but make sure it has room for a side of grits! Here are more grits recipes you need to try.

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newk's eateryvia @newkseatery/instagram

Newk’s Eatery


Locations in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia

A relative newcomer to the restaurant scene, Newk’s Eatery has been taking the South by storm since 2004. The fast-casual menu includes everything from sandwiches and pizza to mac and cheese. But the thing fans are really talking about? Newk’s vast array of condiments.

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Outside of a Pal's Sudden ServicePal's Sudden Service via Facebook

Pal’s Sudden Service

Locations in Tennessee and Virginia

Known for its lightning-fast drive-thru, Pal’s blue buildings, complete with outdoor food art, make them local landmarks. You won’t find much variety on the menu, but Pal’s burgers are some of the best in the business. Here’s how to make the best burger in your own kitchen (or on the grill).

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PDQ fries, burger and shakePDQ via Facebook

PDQ

Locations in Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York and South Carolina

PDQ—aka People Dedicated to Quality—really stands by its name. Thanks to the open kitchen, you can watch the cooks hand-bread and fry the chicken you just ordered. They make the sauces from scratch, too. 

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Taco Bueno big box of tacosTaco Bueno via Facebook

Taco Bueno

Locations in MissouriKansasArkansasLouisianaOklahoma, Alabama and Texas

Taco ’bout value: Taco Bueno combo meals start at less than $3. The huge burritos and their best-seller, Mexidips and Chips—a layered dish with corn tortillas, guacamole, queso and refried beans—can’t be missed. Here’s what you should be eating on Taco Night.

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Outside of a Waffle HouseWaffle House via Facebook

Waffle House

Locations in 25 states across the South and beyond

When you live in the South, you know this chain will always be open—seriously, 24/7/365. Any Waffle House fan will tell you, there’s nothing better than getting hash browns your way (smothered, scattered and chunked, please)! If you just don’t feel like going out, these Waffle House copycat recipes are sure to please.

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Whataburger food on a trayWhataburger via Facebook

Whataburger

Locations in 10 states across the South

Whataburger! It’s what you’ll say when you eat one of theirs. In addition to the classic Whataburger, you can get favorites like taquitos with cheese or chicken biscuits with honey butter sauce. Check out the best burger in every state.

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Zaxby's sandwich in a take-out container with friesZaxby's via Facebook

Zaxby’s

Locations in 15 states across the South

A Southern institution, Zaxby’s makes amazing fried chicken and Texas toast, with the perfect amount of garlic, we may add. On your way out, snag some packets of sauce—it’s good on just about anything.

Ellie Martin Cliffe
Now a deputy editor at Taste of Home, Ellie has been writing about food and parenting for the last decade. When she isn't at TOH HQ, she's likely trying gluten- and dairy-free recipes, canning whatever's in season, listening to anything with a fiddle, or playing Uno with her family.
Lindsay D. Mattison
After years of working in professional kitchens, Lindsay traded her knives in for the pen. While she spends most of her time writing these days, she still exercises her culinary muscles on the regular, taking any opportunity to turn local, seasonal ingredients into beautiful meals for her family.

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