1. Chick-fil-A's Grilled Market Salad
Greens: This seems like the type of lettuce that a rabbit would love, and the munchability is off the charts.
Protein: It isn't quite Chick-fil-A's breaded chicken, but the grilled option still stands out as the best protein of the fast-food salad canon. The grill marks give it a dose of extra flavor that makes me consider ordering its Grilled Chicken Sandwich on my next visit. I don't think I actually will, but that's a serious achievement in itself.
Extras: Here's where this salad truly shines. The holy trinity of berries make a bold appearance (blue, straw, and cran). The apples are tart and seem recently sliced. Strings of radish and carrot add color and texture. The dressing choices are above and beyond (honey sesame was my jam, and I assure you it jams hard). Plus, they give you little packages of granola and roasted nuts to spruce things up.
Overall: When tackling this salad test, I hoped there'd be a few surprises. I won't pretend it was easy to stare at a fast-food menu board and choose the wimpiest options. Burger King, Wendy's, and Carl's took their salads seriously, but Chick-fil-A was the only chain that seemed to truly excel at the bunless option. My one complaint is that Chick-fil-A undersells this thing, as it's not clear from the menu that you're basically getting a salad and a fruit cup in one. But overall, regardless of which side of historic Supreme Court cases this chain aligns itself with, love is love. And I loved this salad.
Dan Gentile is a staff writer on Thrillist's national food and drink team. He knows that he omitted several major chains from these rankings, and it was out of consideration for their feelings and not because he forgot that Arby's existed. Follow him to trying not to piss people off at @Dannosphere.