Chain Restaurants

The Best Southern Restaurant Chains  

Carly Kiel
Originally by
12.5k votes 1.7k voters 83.3k views 57 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
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
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
Whataburger is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Corpus Christi, TX
700+ locations across the South, NM, and OK
4
Zaxby's is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Statesboro, GA
600+ locations across the Southeast, IN, MO, OK, and UT
5
Bojangles' Famous Chicken 'n B... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Charlotte, NC
600+ locations across the Southeast, PA, MD, and DC
6
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
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
McAlister's Deli is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Oxford, MS
300+ locations across the US, but mostly in the South
9
Krystal is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Chattanooga, TN
350+ locations across the Southeast
10
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
Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Baton Rouge, LA
150+ locations across the US, but mostly in the South
12
Jason's Deli is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
zxray added Beaumont, TX
250 Locations in 29 States
13
Huddle House is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Decatur, GA
430+ locations across the US, but mostly in the South
14
The Varsity is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Atlanta, GA
8 locations in GA
15
Sonny's BBQ is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
120+ locations across the Southeast
16
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
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
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
Dreamland Bar-B-Que is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Dreamland Bar-B-Que Tuscaloosa, AL
8 locations in AL
20
Jack's is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Homewood, AL
130+ locations across AL, GA, MI, and TN
21
Biscuitville is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
50+ locations in NC and VA
22
Braum's is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Tuttle, OK
280+ locations in AR, KS, MO, OK, and TX
23
Gus's World Famous Fried Chick... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Memphis, TN
11 locations in AR, GA, MS, TN, and TX
24
Corky's BBQ is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Corky's BBQ Memphis, TN
8 locations in TN, AR, and MS
25
Guthrie's is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Haleyville, AL
25+ locations across AL, FL, GA, KY, OK, and TN