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6 Small Town Fast Food Chains to Try If You Can

Culver’s Menu Prices

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There are literally tens of thousands of fast food chains in the US. This isn’t too surprising since American food culture is greatly reliant on quick service and convenient food items. With people’s hectic schedules, they offer practical solutions for everyday needs. 

However, not all of these chains are as massive as the ones we all know and love. Fast food chains don’t have to have hundreds of locations around the state to be considered one. They also don’t have to be a large corporation in order to be worth visiting.

If you want to try something new without getting out of your comfort zone, we strongly suggest that you try a local small town fast food for your next meal. They can be just as great as your favorite chain and have something more unique and appealing since it’s a local brand. 

Where should you start? Here are a few of the most highly recommended small town fast food chains that you might want to know about.

Original Tommy’s

Number of stores: 33, mostly around Southern California and Las Vegas

What to get: Chili burger, Chili cheese dog, Chili fries, practically anything with the chili

If you’re not from LA, there’s a very good chance that you haven’t caught wind of Original Tommy’s yet. However, if you’re from an area where they have a location, it can be quite frustrating to learn that they’re not as easily available elsewhere. Why? This hamburger chain’s food is definitely worth the calories.

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This LA fast food icon is famous for its chilli burger. In fact, it’s said that there are more knockoffs of their recipe than locations of the actual restaurant that thought it up. It definitely says a lot about the kind of food they serve, no?


Number of stores: 358

What to get: Animal-style burger, Well-done fries, anything from the secret menu

With how wildly popular In-N-Out is, it would be easy to assume that it’s something as big as McDonald’s or Taco Bell. However, that’s definitely not the case since this burger chain from the West Coast didn’t really focus on expanding when it first opened. The owners wanted to make sure that their food is great, so instead of working on their franchising, they paid closer attention to the quality of their menu items and service instead.

Despite not expanding their size or menu, however, In-N-Out still managed to become very popular. Today, it’s one of the buzziest fast food chains on social media. It’s a trendsetter with its secret menu but also managed to go against the grain as it maintained the status quo when healthy food was becoming all the rage.

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Number of stores: 760

What to get: Butterburger, frozen custard

Culver’s is possibly the largest chain on our list but it’s still pretty much considered by many as a small town chain since it’s stores are still concentrated in the Midwest. Nonetheless, their continuous growth sparks hope that they’ll soon reach other parts of the country after a while.

What makes Culver’s worth the wait? Their Butterburgers. As the name suggests, their recipe is a bit different from other fast food chains’ since they have a smidge of butter in them. This gives them a different flavor, making them more enjoyable for diners. Paired with their famous frozen custard and you have a satisfying meal.

Luke’s Lobster

Number of ‘shacks’: 39

What to get: Lobster rolls, chowder

Lobster isn’t exactly a common offering of American fast food chains but there are definitely a few that offer quick lobster and seafood meals. Luke’s Lobster is one of them and is quite the definition of fast-service. Since it’s founded in New York and its locations are primarily housed in ‘shacks’, you can definitely expect quick order fulfilment in this chain.

With its seabed-to-table operation, this chain is definitely not your run-of-the-mill fast food chain. This makes it quite worth keeping an eye on, especially since they are rapidly expanding, not just within the US but in other parts of the globe as well.

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Number of stores: 215

What to get: Breadsticks (they’re unlimited!), Baked Lasagna, or build your own pasta

Love Italian food but want to dine somewhere that’s more relaxed? Fazoli’s can be the perfect pick for such situations since it’s an Italian-themed fast food chain. Sure, some folks don’t really consider it to be fast food due to the table service and unlimited breadsticks but in essence, it’s still classified as one.

The food here is hearty and will definitely give you your Italian fix, 

The Varsity

Number of stores: 7

What to get: Frozen orange, chili dog

The Varsity is a major food and tourist destination in Atlanta, Georgia. It has been around and serving tens of thousands of people on the regular for more than 90 years now so it can be quite surprising why it hasn’t really expanded outside the Peach State yet. Whatever the reason is, however, they have a great thing going in the Big Peach so it doesn’t really matter.

Best known for having the world’s largest drive in, it’s also popular for its food lingo, chili dogs, and their Frozen Orange. Eating here is like taking a bite off of history, so if you love to learn about the local culinary past, make sure to include this place to your itinerary when visiting Atlanta.

Philip Okoye
the authorPhilip Okoye
Your favorite recipe author, faithful to every course. Mail me at

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