• Food

The Top 7 Fast Foods with Cult Followings

It's McRib season, ladies and gentlemen. While some people are suspicious that McRib's limited availability is a mixed conspiracy of exploiting low pork prices and creating artificial demand by limiting supply, others keep their mouths shut and only open it to eat as many glorious BBQ sandwiches as humanly possible.  In honor of this week's return of the McRib, here's a list of the 7 fast foods with the largest, most rabid, dedicated and seemingly inexplicable cult followings.

These followings pine for these foods and franchises in the same way all of America pines for those special three words every single year: "McRib is Back." These foods are especially popular with stoners, (for example the White Castle crave craze).

What are the best fast foods with cult followings? You may be surprised to learn of some the foods on this list, yet you really shouldn't be knowing the diehard fans that these restaurants have.
  • 1

    White Castle

    Video: YouTube

    Small slider hamburgers (that can also be purchased at your local supermarket if you don't happen to live in an area with White Castle establishments) that are inexpensive and supposedly some of the greatest stoner/drunk food around. Why? Because they're greasy, EXTREMELY inexpensive and can be consumed almost like popcorn.

    When you have a whole movie named and set about your product and store, you know you've touched "cult" level of popularity.

    The natural thing to call them? Cravers. Besides the slightly creepy zombie-like connotation, their menu can reach crazy proportions of consumption-implication. Known for their sliders (named so because they’re so small that they can just slide down your esophagus in one gulp), the chain offers prescription food to the addicted craver in big sizes.

    By "craver", for the most part, what is meant is "stoned or high individual", at least in popular culture. Much like Taco Bell has gotten a reputation for being a great stoner food, White Castle is the end-all, be-all of stoner foods... supposedly.

    But more on their portions: If you want it bad enough, you can get a Crave Case or even a Crave Crate. 30 sliders for 15 dollars or 100 sliders for 50 dollars, respectively.

    Only fast food restaurants can get away with selling that much food to cure an addiction, and only one with such a loyal following (enough for one of the most iconic Stoner Movies of all time to be built around the establishment/food product) can continue to operate on a platform of such extreme excess.

    One thing the White Castle consuming community has adopted which is notable is the building of impressive structures using their used hamburger cases like so: A White Castle castle.
    Does this deserve a cult following?
  • 2

    In-N-Out Burger

    Video: YouTube

    Absolutely delicious hamburgers that are made fresh, not from pre-shaped meat. Great french fries that are made to order from potatoes that are cut right in front of you.

    This popular (Mormon) California fast food chain has converted thousands of followers, who will pass a thousand other commerical chains in order to reach an In-N-Out. Case in point: When In-N-Out expanded to other states, the good people of Scottsdale, AZ waited in line for four hours while helicopters whirred above capturing footage of the almighty In-N-Out finally opening its doors to the public.

    People love the taste of the burgers, the "secret sauce" (thousand island dressing with relish in it), and the freshness of the entire franchise. Also, the fact that the uniform hasn't changed since its 1948 inception and the fact that their menu has remained extremely minimalistic and simplistic since, are staples of the In-N-Out dining experience.

    And, of course, people flock to In-N-Out (after their first time) to partake in being "in" on the (now not-so) secret menu that includes a Neopolitan milkshake, lettuce instead of buns, cheese fries with sauce and grilled onions on them, and a hamburger containing up to 100 burger patties and 100 slices of cheese. Take THAT, hungry children in the Third World!

    A 100x100

    Check out the embedded video for an explanation of In-N-Out's "secret" menu.

    The cult of In-N-Out has been strictly word-of-mouth and they really spend minimal time advertising, so much that catching an In-N-Out commercial on television is extremely rare. When it DOES happen, though, you get a taste of the minimalism you'll get when you get to a restaurant itself. How?

    The In-N-Out commercial (that has been ostensibly running for YEARS) is just a camera panning around an amazing looking hamburger while an abbreviated version of their jingle plays in the background which simply says "That's what a hamburger's all about." Brilliant.

    Even the popular online video site CollegeHumor.com pulled its April's Fools prank on the East Coast by announcing that In-N-Out Burger would be coming to New York in 2010... and then revealed that it was a cruel, cruel joke. The fact that one of the most popular websites on the internet, frequented by millions of people every month, would base its entire April's Fools prank on teasing this restaurant is testament to its word-of-mouth glitz, glamour, hype and, most importantly, cult status.

    Does this deserve a cult following?
  • 3

    Chick Fil-A

    Video: YouTube

    A fast food franchise that serves chicken, kind of like KFC, only "better" and with more sandwiches.

    To start off, the employees are a bit fanatical. Unofficial motto of the company is: "if you don’t plan on being here for life, you needn’t apply". And the official corporate mission emblazoned on the company plaque at headquarters? "Glorify God." Which explains why it's closed on Sundays. The company believes that wholesome marriages and relationships fuel good business and for the most part, franchise owners are happily married. In that case, Chick-fil-a doesn’t butt into their lives, which its been known to do if they suspect an employer. You can’t moonlight if you work at a Chick-fil-a. It may be delicious, but it is watching you.

    Read the article from Forbes.

    Aside from this, and being a Taco Bell-esque "Stoner Food", Chick Fil-A enthusiasts honestly just believe that it is the best fried chicken experience and that it is better than any other chicken franchise.

    It might come from brand loyalty, it might come from the hype, but either way people like the ones in this embedded video (who stood and camped out in front of a Chick Fil-A for 24 hours to get some free food) will go to great lengths to get the food that they are so loyal to.
    Does this deserve a cult following?
  • 4

    Sonic Burgers, Drinks and Shakes

    Video: YouTube

    If you live on the West Coast, you most likely see the commercials on TV, and they look absolutely delicious. They seem to have the best shakes, the best slushies and the most inventive and succulent, savory, satisfying hamburgers in all of creation... but you’ve never actually seen a Sonic franchise anywhere (see commercial).

    The company says they have 168,894 flavor combinations possible. Which might explain the reaction San Diego county had when a Sonic opened in their whereabouts. Previously, they drove all the way up to neighboring Orange County (about 2 hours away) to get their fix.

    But to the rest of us on the West Coast, driving 50 miles to get a Cherry Limeade doesn’t seem appealing... a lot of other people feel VERY differently.

    Aside from the insane flavor-possibilities of the drinks, the popularity of the chain stems partly from its carhop service, which features service on skates at some sites -- reminiscent of old drive-ins from the 1940s and '50s (kind of like in The Flintstones' Intro)

    All of this overhead, as well as competition from a lot of regional chains, explains why you don’t see many Sonics in the West Coast, or near Coastal Cities in general, but hear about them often anyway: because there are crazy people who will journey HOURS to get a cool drink in a classic way. And if you're among their fans, check out our list of the best items at Sonic

    The full story on West Coast California City San Diego getting a Sonic.

    Does this deserve a cult following?