A List of Top Restaurant Chains in America. Famous restaurant chains from throughout the United States are included. Restaurant chains offer a familiarity through their decor and menu throughout all of their locations. As such, they tend to be most popular in areas where one would find travelers or tourists. This list focuses primarily on sit-down restaurants. Fast Food establishments will receive their own list. That said, a few fast food restaurant chains have been included. The idea of a chain restaurants is widely credited to Harland Sanders, more famously known as "Colonel Sanders". By "franchising" out his secret recipe, restaurants that served his food had an advantage as travelers knew what to expect. Today, nearly every cuisine imaginable has a restaurant chain attached to it.