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Hoke

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Reprise: Fast Food Chains you could eat at.

by Hoke » Tue May 29, 2012 12:34 pm

Stimulated by some comments in the neighbor thread about Dickey's BBQ and fast food chains, it's time to update our "What fast food chains are good enough to frequent".

Where do you go with fast foods? What's good enough to get by>
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Jeff Grossman/NYC

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Re: Reprise: Fast Food Chains you could eat at.

by Jeff Grossman/NYC » Tue May 29, 2012 12:58 pm

Subway's is the only chain I gladly eat at. The bread isn't very good but the sandwich fillings are varied and they basically heap a salad on top of it.

The fast food I eat most often (weekly) is pizza but here in NYC there are numerous Mom & Pop places so I don't have to pay for junk like Domino's, et alia.

I will occasionally (1-2 times/yr) get fried chicken from Popeye's.

If I want a burger I find a diner.

NYC does not have good Mexican food of any caliber (...I suppose there must be an exception somewhere but I haven't found it).

I think I've dispatched all the usual categories, eh?
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Re: Reprise: Fast Food Chains you could eat at.

by Salil » Tue May 29, 2012 1:02 pm

I don't mind eating at Subway and Chipotle every now and then.

If I lived on the west coast, I'd have no problem eating at In-n-Out Burger.

I have no problems making burgers myself when I feel like one, or ordering good pizza from the likes of Pepe's nearby rather than bothering with the standard fast food options for pizza. Getting good Mexican though is a problem (and if Jeff ever finds a good Mexican place in NY, I'd like to know more.)
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Re: Reprise: Fast Food Chains you could eat at.

by Robin Garr » Tue May 29, 2012 1:07 pm

Uncle Maddio's Pizza, an Atlanta-based chain with about 30 units, is pretty impressive. They do a quick-fresh concept akin to Qdoba or Moe's with burritos, but the end product is a pizza instead. They commit to using locally produced, hormone-free meats and veggies as much as they can, and it seems to be a high-quality product, given the compromises necessary (conveyor oven) to maximize speed, which makes a traditional crust well-nigh impossible. But still, it's one of the few chains where I'll break my usual Support Your Local Eatery rule.
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Re: Reprise: Fast Food Chains you could eat at.

by Hoke » Tue May 29, 2012 1:12 pm

There's some agreement here!

Chipotle---definitely.

Subway---yep. Amazing, really, how much better they've gotten in the last few years. General quality is definitely improved. They're in danger now of going a little to Quizno's, but they haven't jumped a shark...yet.

In 'n' Out Burger---oh, yeah.

Papa Murphy's Take and Bake Pizza---freshly asembled, bake it yourself; not all the ingredients are fantastic, but you can make your own and bake your own and it's okay.
(Compare PM to either Domino, Papa John or ---uck ptooie, the excresence that Pizza Hut has become---and the pizzas are stellar.)

Arby's---no, I AM serious. Just for the "market fresh" sandwiches. Try one. Amazingly fresh and tasty and relatively healthy. I had to try one to believe it, but now I believe it.
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Re: Reprise: Fast Food Chains you could eat at.

by Carl Eppig » Tue May 29, 2012 1:16 pm

Subway and KFC.
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Re: Reprise: Fast Food Chains you could eat at.

by Redwinger » Tue May 29, 2012 1:25 pm

About every 3 or 4 years, I get jonesing for a Big Mac....there I admitted it!
When I traveled more, I never hesitated to grab a Subway at the airport.
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Re: Reprise: Fast Food Chains you could eat at.

by David M. Bueker » Tue May 29, 2012 1:28 pm

Chipotle is my favorite.

I will confess to still liking the McD's fish sandwich. (A certain former editor of Saveur concurs, so at least I am not alone.)

Popeye's chicken and especially the red beans & rice are a personal weakness.

I can deal with Subway if I have to.

Most other fast food literally disagrees with me.
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Re: Reprise: Fast Food Chains you could eat at.

by Tom Troiano » Tue May 29, 2012 2:00 pm

Boston Market
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Re: Reprise: Fast Food Chains you could eat at.

by Mark Lipton » Tue May 29, 2012 2:31 pm

Yeah, Chipotle or, once in a long while, Subway.

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Re: Reprise: Fast Food Chains you could eat at.

by Jeff B » Tue May 29, 2012 2:36 pm

McDonalds for me. LOVE the fries and always have (I hope my arteries forgive me). And sometimes a Big Mac is the only thing that will hit the spot. And the coffee is also quite good. Usually.

I've also been known to devour several hard tacos from Taco Bell. They must have the crunch. Soft tacos just aren't the same...:)

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Re: Reprise: Fast Food Chains you could eat at.

by Mike Filigenzi » Tue May 29, 2012 2:59 pm

When we want fast food burgers, we usually go to local joints like Willie's (for smallish burgers loaded with glop) or The Squeeze Inn (for big burgers with enormous "cheese skirts" wrapped around them). For Mexican, we also go to local burrito shops rather than someplace like Chipotle. For large chains, I like Subway. Not really a fan of Chipotle although they're certainly much better then places like Taco Bell.

I don't think I've been to a national-chain burger or pizza place in the last five years.
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Re: Reprise: Fast Food Chains you could eat at.

by Robert Reynolds » Tue May 29, 2012 3:05 pm

McDonalds for Egg McMuffins if I need breakfast on the go. Otherwise nothing there I can stand anymore (too many Big Macs in my college years). Braums is an Oklahoma-based dairy store that went the burgers and ice cream route, and they do a pretty good burger. Subway is ok once in a while. Chic-Fil-A is always good (especially their lemonade). Hideaway Pizza started in the university town of Stillwater, OK, and has the best chain pizza in these parts. That's about it for me.
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Re: Reprise: Fast Food Chains you could eat at.

by Jenise » Tue May 29, 2012 3:09 pm

Jack in the Box but only for the tacos. Qdoba (a northwestern chain) for a healthy grilled chicken burrito. About once a year, KFC. McDonalds for sausage muffins and decent coffee if we have to get on the road with an early start.

In California, In n Out and Baja Fresh are both located close to LAX and we often grab meals there pre-flight.

A question for you Popeye's people: what's so good about it? I'm aware that this chain has a legion of fans (including Anthony Bourdain), but one opened here and we didn't care for it at all. Others seemed to agree as it closed in less than a year.
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Re: Reprise: Fast Food Chains you could eat at.

by Mark Lipton » Tue May 29, 2012 3:52 pm

Jenise wrote:Jack in the Box but only for the tacos. Qdoba (a northwestern chain) for a healthy grilled chicken burrito.


Well, we've got Qdoba out here, too, Jenise. In a head-to-head with Chipotle, I prefer the salsas at Qdoba but the meats are superior at Chipotle. And of course we should note that what both chains serve is now known as the San Francisco burrito. :D

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Re: Reprise: Fast Food Chains you could eat at.

by Tom Troiano » Tue May 29, 2012 4:02 pm

Qdoba is also in Massachusetts.
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Re: Reprise: Fast Food Chains you could eat at.

by Jeff Grossman/NYC » Tue May 29, 2012 4:03 pm

Jenise wrote:A question for you Popeye's people: what's so good about it? I'm aware that this chain has a legion of fans (including Anthony Bourdain), but one opened here and we didn't care for it at all. Others seemed to agree as it closed in less than a year.

It's a franchise and the franchisee near you was incompetent.

The chicken pieces are fresh and a good size, and the pieces really are crisp and well-drained of fat. That's what attracts me; I don't pay much attention to their sides, although it is nice to be able to get rice instead of fries. If I'm near home, I will take the chicken home and warm up a pot of Sal's Sauce.
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Re: Reprise: Fast Food Chains you could eat at.

by Frank Deis » Tue May 29, 2012 4:04 pm

Jenise wrote:A question for you Popeye's people: what's so good about it? I'm aware that this chain has a legion of fans (including Anthony Bourdain), but one opened here and we didn't care for it at all. Others seemed to agree as it closed in less than a year.


We ate fast food back when Tom was young enough to want the happy meals etc. Since then, we rarely have an occasion. I was drawn to Popeye's by the side dishes, notably a credible approximation of red beans and rice (RBR), the standard Monday meal in New Orleans. The fried chicken also seems to have more flavor and crunch than KFC. When I went through my brief phase of craving the RBR I happened to go around mid-day on a Sunday. The place was full of African-American families dressed in their Sunday best, fresh from church. So Popeye's probably has a variety of constituencies, depending what part of the country you're in. There aren't many of them around here, but the ones we have seem to be doing just fine.
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Re: Reprise: Fast Food Chains you could eat at.

by GeoCWeyer » Tue May 29, 2012 4:11 pm

For pizza I am a Papa Murphy's fan. I love the "delite" thin crust. For sandwiches other than hamburgers, I like Potbellies and Jimmy Johns. For burgers, I have always like Fuddruckers. ...and of course my secret passion White Castle!! Boston Market every once in a while is great also.

For Ice cream, I am a custard fan instead. I like Culvers. I find their pot roast sandwich edible as well.
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Re: Reprise: Fast Food Chains you could eat at.

by David M. Bueker » Tue May 29, 2012 4:51 pm

Mike Filigenzi wrote:When we want fast food burgers, we usually go to local joints like Willie's (for smallish burgers loaded with glop) or The Squeeze Inn (for big burgers with enormous "cheese skirts" wrapped around them). For Mexican, we also go to local burrito shops rather than someplace like Chipotle.



Must be nice to have those options. We have a really good true Mexican place near us, but they are anything but fast.
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Re: Reprise: Fast Food Chains you could eat at.

by Rahsaan » Tue May 29, 2012 4:55 pm

Interesting to hear the talk about Subway improving in recent years. I haven't eaten there in years and always considered it equal to all the other wretched sandwich places with fake vegetables placed on cardboard bread. I.E. edible when there are no other options. Nice to know that it is distinguishing itself for something more than those Jared commercials.
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Re: Reprise: Fast Food Chains you could eat at.

by Dale Williams » Tue May 29, 2012 5:19 pm

The only fast food chain around here I've eaten at in last 5 years is the Popeyes a couple of times-I find the chicken quite good.
I like In n Out when on interstate in CA. The only time I really eat fast food from a national chain is long car trips, which is the closest I get to "food as fuel". I generally then prefer Wendys or in a pinch MacDs to the godawful BK, Subway (I can't get past that bread), etc. Frankly we choose those as national chains tend to be quicker and more likely to have clean restrooms than non-chain options/
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Re: Reprise: Fast Food Chains you could eat at.

by Howie Hart » Tue May 29, 2012 6:09 pm

Dale Williams wrote:... The only time I really eat fast food from a national chain is long car trips, which is the closest I get to "food as fuel"... I generally then prefer Wendys or in a pinch MacDs to the godawful BK, Subway (I can't get past that bread), etc. Frankly we choose those as national chains tend to be quicker and more likely to have clean restrooms than non-chain options/
Hit the nail on the head Dale. Another thing I considered is if I'm going to eat while driving. I once tried to eat a Subway while driving and and half the sandwich ended up in my lap. Burgers with lettuce and tomatoes can be a problem. I think the easiest food to eat while driving is Arby's.
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Re: Reprise: Fast Food Chains you could eat at.

by Lou Kessler » Tue May 29, 2012 10:02 pm

Jeff B wrote:McDonalds for me. LOVE the fries and always have (I hope my arteries forgive me). And sometimes a Big Mac is the only thing that will hit the spot. And the coffee is also quite good. Usually.

I've also been known to devour several hard tacos from Taco Bell. They must have the crunch. Soft tacos just aren't the same...:)

Jeff

You must be among the great underprivileged of the world :( and have never eaten a decent taco. Taco Bell is a tenant on a piece of property I own but I can't force myself to eat their food. Not on a bet. They do pay their rent on time and are fine tenants.
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