restaurants The Best Southern Restaurant Chains  

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List Rules Vote up your favorite restaurant chains that started in The South and are still considered "regional" - i.e. no Chick-Fil-A, no Schlotzsky's, etc. Only restaurants with more than five existing locations.

Fried chicken, biscuits, barbecue, tacos... The American South covers a lot of area, and the variety of food its inhabitants love is just as wide. This is a list of the best Southern restaurant chains, including fast food, fast casual restaurants, and even single-state hole-in-the-wall-type places that only have a handful of (much beloved) locations. Is your favorite on the list? Here, you'll find the kind of places Southern ex-pats dream about - and drop in to visit whenever they're back "home." 

What boundaries would you draw around the South? Which fast food chains are officially "Southern"? The list includes restaurant corporations that originated in the Southern states as defined by the U.S. census bureau: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. While some of these states fought for the Confederacy, others were heavily influenced by the cultures of Mexico, France, and, even just the Northern part of the U.S. Some are lush with trees and mosquitoes, and others have alligators or mountains or crabs or deserts. All of them will deep-fry just about anything. All of them.
list ordered by

1
+ - 242 98
Cracker Barrel is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Cracker Barrel Lebanon, Tennessee, USA - 600+ locations across the US, but mostly in the South

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2
+ - 248 106
Waffle House is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Waffle House Avondale Estates, GA - 2,000+ locations across the US, but mostly in the South

3
+ - 201 94
Whataburger is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Whataburger Corpus Christi, TX - 700+ locations across the South, NM, and OK

4
+ - 164 90
Zaxby's is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Zaxby's Statesboro, GA - 600+ locations across the Southeast, IN, MO, OK, and UT

5
+ - 145 82
Bojangles' Famous Chicken 'n B... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Bojangles' Famous Chicken 'n Biscuits Charlotte, NC - 600+ locations across the Southeast, PA, MD, and DC

6
+ - 158 102
Hardee's is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Hardee's Greenville, NC - 1,900+ locations across the Southeast and Midwest

7
+ - 101 68
Cook Out is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Cook Out Greensboro, NC - 150+ locations across GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV, and VA

8
+ - 110 84
Shoney's is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Shoney's Charleston, WV - 230+ locations actross the Southeast and Midwest

9
+ - 125 98
Krystal is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Krystal Chattanooga, TN - 350+ locations across the Southeast

10
+ - 58 44
Jason's Deli is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Jason's Deli Beaumont, TX - 250 Locations in 29 States

11
+ - 92 84
McAlister's Deli is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
McAlister's Deli Oxford, MS - 300+ locations across the US, but mostly in the South

12
+ - 99 85
Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers Baton Rouge, LA - 150+ locations across the US, but mostly in the South

13
+ - 45 33
Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon Winston-Salem, NC - 152+ Locations (Including Texas Land & Cattle Restaurants) in AK/AZ/AL/CA/CO/DE/FL/IA/IL/IN/KS/LA/MI/MO/MS/NC/ND/NM/OH/OK/PA/SD/TN/VA/WV 

14
+ - 71 69
Huddle House is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Huddle House Decatur, GA - 430+ locations across the US, but mostly in the South

15
+ - 69 65
The Varsity is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
The Varsity Atlanta, GA - 8 locations in GA

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16
+ - 70 66
Back Yard Burgers is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Back Yard Burgers Cleveland, MS - 80+ locations across the Southeast, NE, and PA

17
+ - 58 57
Sonny's BBQ is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Sonny's BBQ 120+ locations across the Southeast

18
+ - 61 76
Taco Bueno is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Taco Bueno Abilene, TX - 175+ locations across the South, CO, KS, and NM

19
+ - 43 49
Corky's BBQ is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Corky's BBQ Memphis, TN - 8 locations in TN, AR, and MS

20
+ - 31 37
Luby's, Inc. is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Luby's, Inc. San Antonio, TX - 95 Locations in TX/OK/AR/MS

21
+ - 39 51
Jim 'N Nick's BBQ is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Jim 'N Nick's BBQ Birmingham, AL - locations across the Southeast and CO

22
+ - 44 54
Braum's is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Braum's Tuttle, OK - 280+ locations in AR, KS, MO, OK, and TX

23
+ - 31 42
Taco Cabana is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Taco Cabana San Antonio, TX - 166 Locations in TX/OK/NM

24
+ - 33 43
Biscuitville is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Biscuitville 50+ locations in NC and VA

25
+ - 28 37
Smithfield's Chicken 'N Bar-B-... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Smithfield's Chicken 'N Bar-B-Q Smithfield, NC - 35+ locations in NC

26
+ - 42 59
Gus's World Famous Fried Chick... is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken Memphis, TN - 11 locations in AR, GA, MS, TN, and TX

27
+ - 19 30
Cotton Patch Café is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Cotton Patch Café Nacogdoches, TX - 41 Locations in TX/NM/OK

28
+ - 18 29
Copeland's is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Copeland's of New Orleans Metairie, LA - 10 Locations in LA/TX/AR/GA/FL

29
+ - 29 46
Taco Mac is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Taco Mac 30 locations in GA, NC, and TN

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30
+ - 26 42
Tudor's Biscuit World is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Tudor's Biscuit World Charleston, WV - locations in KY, OH, and WV

31
+ - 25 37
Red Hot & Blue is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Red Hot & Blue Arlington, VA - 25+ locations in MD, MI, MO, NC, NJ, TX, and VA

32
+ - 22 37
Mrs. Winner's is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Mrs. Winner's 11 locations in GA, NC, and TN

33
+ - 27 45
Jack's is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Jack's Homewood, AL - 130+ locations across AL, GA, MI, and TN

34
+ - 24 38
Newk's Eatery is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Newk's Eatery Oxford, MS - locations across the Southeast, KY, MD, OK, and TX

35
+ - 22 40
Dreamland Bar-B-Que is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Dreamland Bar-B-Que Tuscaloosa, AL - 8 locations in AL

36
+ - 18 34
Beef O'Brady's is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Beef O'Brady's Brandon, FL - 234 Locations in AL/AR/FL/GA/IL/IN/KY/MD/MI/MN/MO/MS/MT/NC/OH/SC/TN/TX/VA/WI

37
+ - 27 45
Calhoun's is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Calhoun's Knoxville, TN - 7 locations in TN

38
+ - 25 44
Golden Chick is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Golden Chick San Marco, TX - 115 locations in SC, OK, and TX

39
+ - 28 49
Torchy's Tacos is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Torchy's Tacos Austin, TX - 12 locations in TX and CO

40
+ - 12 27
Fatz is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Fatz Cafe Spartanburg, SC - 48 Locations in SC/NC/VA/GA/TN

41
+ - 10 24
Jim's Restaurants is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Jim's Restaurants San Antonio, TX - 19 Locations in TX

42
+ - 22 44
Guthrie's is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Guthrie's Haleyville, AL - 25+ locations across AL, FL, GA, KY, OK, and TN

43
+ - 25 49
Zoe's Kitchen is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Zoe's Kitchen Homewood, AL - 149 locations across the South, AZ, MD, MO, NJ, and OK

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44
+ - 21 44
Taco Casa is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Taco Casa Tuscaloosa, AL - 7 locations in AL

45
+ - 26 49
Burger Street is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Burger Street Lewisville, TX - 18 locations in TX and OK

46
+ - 15 32
Frenchy's Chicken is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Frenchy's Chicken Houston, TX - 30+ locations in TX

47
+ - 19 42
Milo's Hamburgers is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Milo's Hamburgers Birmingham, AL - 15 locations in Alabama

48
+ - 13 32
Whitt's Barbecue is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Whitt's Barbecue Nashville, TN - 25 locations in KY and TN

49
+ - 14 34
Ward's Restaurants is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Ward's Restaurants 45+ locations in MS

50
+ - 12 31
Jack Pirtle's Chicken is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Jack Pirtle's Chicken Memphis, TN - 8 locations in TN