Where you can get it: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wyoming
Why it's amazing: This Wisconsin-born chain fittingly made its name with impossibly creamy frozen custard, golden-fried cheese curds, and butter-enhanced burgers. Culver's has expanded exponentially in recent years, like a missionary preaching the virtues of Midwestern comfort. The counter-service spot's signature ButterBurger -- a patty griddled in butter until it's crisp on the edges and tender in the middle -- is one of the wonders of that fast-food world, made all the better by crisp crinkle fries. But lest you forget this place has Midwestern roots, it also serves dinner plates like pot roast and fish & chips, transporting the traditional, belly-warming VFW fare to a drive-thru window. Should you spring for a cup of Culver's velvety-smooth custard? You betcha…. Especially if you're in a state that has no idea what the hell frozen custard is otherwise.
Where you can get it: California, Arizona, Colorado, Guam, Illinois, Louisiana, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, Utah, Washington
Why it's amazing: Think a hot dog is just a hot dog? Think again. The SoCal-based chain has been putting its spin on America's favorite oblong snack since 1961, and now claims to the be the world's largest hot dog chain. And since the iconic A-framed franchises apparently serve up more than 120 million a year, we're going to take its word for it. The star of the Wienerschnitzel show is, without a doubt, the chili-cheese dog, a grilled dog (original, all-beef, or Polish sausage), swaddled in slice of gooey American cheese, smothered in the restaurant's super-secret, world-famous chili sauce, and served atop either a pillowy-soft steamed bun or a chewy, salty pretzel version. Chili not your bag? Eight other styles await, including a sweet, crispy corn dog and the Bacon Strip Street Dog, a tantalizing mix of bacon, mayo, ketchup, mustard, and grilled onions. Burgers, sandwiches, and Tastee Freez ice cream products are also up for grabs, but with a name like Wienerschnitzel, the dogs inevitably come out on top.
Where you can get it: Mid-Michigan
Why it's amazing: At the risk of angering the entirety of Philadelphia, one of the best variations of the cheesesteak can be had at this mid-Michigan counter and drive-thru chain. What's the secret? It starts with fresh-sliced rib-eye, which is grilled with onions and -- if you're smart -- banana peppers. The tangy signature red steak sauce is a must (buy a bottle, it's great on BBQ). And while there's a fantastic Italian sub on the menu as well, when you're facing down 16in of one of America's truly great steak sandwiches -- and sometimes ordering it through bulletproof glass in Flint -- there's really no room for cold cuts.