Food

The Best Southern Restaurant Chains

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.

Photo:
list ordered by
  • 700+ locations across the South, NM, and OK
  • 600+ locations across the US, but mostly in the South
  • 2,000+ locations across the US, but mostly in the South
  • 600+ locations across the Southeast, PA, MD, and DC
  • Zaxby's
    5
    600+ locations across the Southeast, IN, MO, OK, and UT
  • Cook Out
    6
    150+ locations across GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV, and VA
  • 150+ locations across the US, but mostly in the South
  • Hardee's
    8
    1,900+ locations across the Southeast and Midwest
  • 300+ locations across the US, but mostly in the South
  • 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 
  • Jason's Deli
    11
    250 Locations in 29 States
  • Krystal
    12
    350+ locations across the Southeast
  • Shoney's
    13
    230+ locations actross the Southeast and Midwest
  • Sonny's BBQ
    14
    120+ locations across the Southeast
  • 80+ locations across the Southeast, NE, and PA
  • The Varsity
    16
    8 locations in GA
  • Huddle House
    17
    430+ locations across the US, but mostly in the South
  • Braum's
    18
    280+ locations in AR, KS, MO, OK, and TX
  • 149 locations across the South, AZ, MD, MO, NJ, and OK
  • Torchy's Tacos
    20

    Torchy's Tacos

    12 locations in TX and CO
  • Biscuitville
    21
    50+ locations in NC and VA
  • Jack's
    22
    130+ locations across AL, GA, MI, and TN
  • 11 locations in AR, GA, MS, TN, and TX
  • Corky's BBQ
    24

    Corky's BBQ

    8 locations in TN, AR, and MS
  • Taco Cabana
    25
    166 Locations in TX/OK/NM