restaurants The Best Southern Restaurant Chains  

Carly Kiel
Originally by
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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
309 137
Cracker Barrel is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
sheila-landress added Cracker Barrel Lebanon, Tennessee, USA - 600+ locations across the US, but mostly in the South

2
308 138
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
246 118
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
194 97
Bojangles' Famous Chicken 'n B... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Bojangles' Famous Chicken 'n Biscuits Charlotte, NC - 600+ locations across the Southeast, PA, MD, and DC

5
212 112
Zaxby's is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Zaxby's Statesboro, GA - 600+ locations across the Southeast, IN, MO, OK, and UT

6
146 86
Cook Out is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Cook Out Greensboro, NC - 150+ locations across GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV, and VA

7
195 128
Hardee's is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Hardee's Greenville, NC - 1,900+ locations across the Southeast and Midwest

8
153 129
Krystal is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Krystal Chattanooga, TN - 350+ locations across the Southeast

9
133 114
Shoney's is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Shoney's Charleston, WV - 230+ locations actross the Southeast and Midwest

10
119 100
McAlister's Deli is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
McAlister's Deli Oxford, MS - 300+ locations across the US, but mostly in the South

11
123 101
Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers is listed (or ranked) 11 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

12
82 64
Jason's Deli is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
zxray added Jason's Deli Beaumont, TX - 250 Locations in 29 States

13
92 88
Huddle House is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Huddle House Decatur, GA - 430+ locations across the US, but mostly in the South

14
87 83
The Varsity is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
The Varsity Atlanta, GA - 8 locations in GA

The Most Unhealthy Fast Food Items in America

15
58 54
Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
zxray added 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 

16
83 81
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
76 75
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
58 67
Braum's is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Braum's Tuttle, OK - 280+ locations in AR, KS, MO, OK, and TX

19
56 65
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
60 71
Gus's World Famous Fried Chick... is listed (or ranked) 20 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

21
41 47
Smithfield's Chicken 'N Bar-B-... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Smithfield's Chicken 'N Bar-B-Q Smithfield, NC - 35+ locations in NC

The Best Jeans and Denim Brands

22
50 65
Jim 'N Nick's BBQ is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Jim 'N Nick's BBQ Birmingham, AL - locations across the Southeast and CO

23
71 95
Taco Bueno is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Taco Bueno Abilene, TX - 175+ locations across the South, CO, KS, and NM

24
43 54
Biscuitville is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Biscuitville 50+ locations in NC and VA

25
40 55
Jack's is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Jack's Homewood, AL - 130+ locations across AL, GA, MI, and TN

26
38 56
Luby's, Inc. is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
zxray added Luby's, Inc. San Antonio, TX - 95 Locations in TX/OK/AR/MS

27
39 58
Taco Cabana is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
zxray added Taco Cabana San Antonio, TX - 166 Locations in TX/OK/NM

28
35 50
Red Hot & Blue is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Red Hot & Blue Arlington, VA - 25+ locations in MD, MI, MO, NC, NJ, TX, and VA

Chipotle Secret Menu Items

29
26 42
Cotton Patch Café is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
zxray added Cotton Patch Café Nacogdoches, TX - 41 Locations in TX/NM/OK

30
33 53
Dreamland Bar-B-Que is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Dreamland Bar-B-Que Tuscaloosa, AL - 8 locations in AL

31
39 58
Calhoun's is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Calhoun's Knoxville, TN - 7 locations in TN

32
32 53
Tudor's Biscuit World is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Tudor's Biscuit World Charleston, WV - locations in KY, OH, and WV

33
37 61
Taco Mac is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
maura-quast added Taco Mac 30 locations in GA, NC, and TN

34
23 39
Fatz is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
zxray added Fatz Cafe Spartanburg, SC - 48 Locations in SC/NC/VA/GA/TN

35
24 43
Copeland's is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
zxray added Copeland's of New Orleans Metairie, LA - 10 Locations in LA/TX/AR/GA/FL

TV Networks with the Best Shows

36
39 62
Torchy's Tacos is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Torchy's Tacos Austin, TX - 12 locations in TX and CO

37
33 53
Milo's Hamburgers is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Milo's Hamburgers Birmingham, AL - 15 locations in Alabama

38
32 57
Guthrie's is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Guthrie's Haleyville, AL - 25+ locations across AL, FL, GA, KY, OK, and TN

39
28 47
Newk's Eatery is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Newk's Eatery Oxford, MS - locations across the Southeast, KY, MD, OK, and TX

40
5 11
Buddy's BBQ is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
jonpiez added Buddy's BBQ Knoxville TN based barbeque chain

41
25 48
Beef O'Brady's is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
zxray added 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

42
34 65
Zoe's Kitchen is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Zoe's Kitchen Homewood, AL - 149 locations across the South, AZ, MD, MO, NJ, and OK

The Healthiest Fast Food Choices in America

43
3 10
Taco Deli is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
jonpiez added Taco Deli Austin TX chain with locations accross TX.

44
2 9
Mrs. Winner's is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Mrs. Winner's

45
27 55
Taco Casa is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Taco Casa Tuscaloosa, AL - 7 locations in AL

46
27 51
Mrs. Winner's is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
maura-quast added Mrs. Winner's 11 locations in GA, NC, and TN

47
29 57
Golden Chick is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Golden Chick San Marco, TX - 115 locations in SC, OK, and TX

48
17 39
Jack Pirtle's Chicken is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Jack Pirtle's Chicken Memphis, TN - 8 locations in TN

49
28 60
Burger Street is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Burger Street Lewisville, TX - 18 locations in TX and OK

50
16 40
Whitt's Barbecue is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Whitt's Barbecue Nashville, TN - 25 locations in KY and TN