America The Best Southern Restaurant Chains  

Carly Kiel
Originally by
9.8k votes 1.3k voters 69.9k 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
416 193
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
402 180
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
295 141
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
310 162
Whataburger is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Corpus Christi, TX - 700+ locations across the South, NM, and OK

5
268 133
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
210 109
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
245 172
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
162 126
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
147 123
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
185 169
Krystal is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Chattanooga, TN - 350+ locations across the Southeast

11
162 149
Shoney's is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Charleston, WV - 230+ locations actross the Southeast and Midwest

12
107 89
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
118 102
The Varsity is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Atlanta, GA - 8 locations in GA

14
117 110
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
105 93
Sonny's BBQ is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
120+ locations across the Southeast

16
100 98
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
74 74
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
68 77
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
73 84
Braum's is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Tuttle, OK - 280+ locations in AR, KS, MO, OK, and TX

20
88 112
Taco Bueno is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Abilene, TX - 175+ locations across the South, CO, KS, and NM

21
56 62
Smithfield's Chicken 'N Bar-B-... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Smithfield, NC - 35+ locations in NC

22
68 79
Corky's BBQ is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Corky's BBQ Memphis, TN - 8 locations in TN, AR, and MS

23
71 83
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
57 68
Biscuitville is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
50+ locations in NC and VA

25
54 71
Jack's is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Southern Restaurant Chains
Homewood, AL - 130+ locations across AL, GA, MI, and TN