Fast Food The Best Southern Restaurant Chains  

Carly Kiel
Originally by
10.8k votes 1.4k voters 73.6k views 62 items

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
450 210
Cracker Barrel is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
sheila-landress added Lebanon, Tennessee, USA
600+ locations across the US, but mostly in the South

2
434 197
Waffle House is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Avondale Estates, GA
2,000+ locations across the US, but mostly in the South

3
326 154
Zaxby's is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Statesboro, GA
600+ locations across the Southeast, IN, MO, OK, and UT

4
295 141
Bojangles' Famous Chicken 'n B... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Charlotte, NC
600+ locations across the Southeast, PA, MD, and DC

5
336 174
Whataburger is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Corpus Christi, TX
700+ locations across the South, NM, and OK

6
230 124
Cook Out is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Greensboro, NC
150+ locations across GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV, and VA

7
258 189
Hardee's is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Greenville, NC
1,900+ locations across the Southeast and Midwest

8
174 137
Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Baton Rouge, LA
150+ locations across the US, but mostly in the South

9
157 134
McAlister's Deli is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Oxford, MS
300+ locations across the US, but mostly in the South

10
176 159
Shoney's is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Charleston, WV
230+ locations actross the Southeast and Midwest

11
194 182
Krystal is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Chattanooga, TN
350+ locations across the Southeast

12
127 113
The Varsity is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Atlanta, GA
8 locations in GA

13
112 100
Jason's Deli is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
zxray added Beaumont, TX
250 Locations in 29 States

14
123 121
Huddle House is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Decatur, GA
430+ locations across the US, but mostly in the South

15
111 103
Sonny's BBQ is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
120+ locations across the Southeast

16
109 108
Back Yard Burgers is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Cleveland, MS
80+ locations across the Southeast, NE, and PA

17
80 84
Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
zxray added 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 

18
72 88
Jim 'N Nick's BBQ is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Jim 'N Nick's BBQ Birmingham, AL
locations across the Southeast and CO

19
64 77
Biscuitville is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
50+ locations in NC and VA

20
60 73
Smithfield's Chicken 'N Bar-B-... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Smithfield, NC
35+ locations in NC

21
75 95
Braum's is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Tuttle, OK
280+ locations in AR, KS, MO, OK, and TX

22
74 94
Gus's World Famous Fried Chick... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Memphis, TN
11 locations in AR, GA, MS, TN, and TX

23
59 80
Jack's is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Homewood, AL
130+ locations across AL, GA, MI, and TN

24
89 126
Taco Bueno is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Abilene, TX
175+ locations across the South, CO, KS, and NM

25
69 90
Corky's BBQ is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Corky's BBQ Memphis, TN
8 locations in TN, AR, and MS