Regional fast-food chains that need to be everywhere, immediately
Sometimes, the cable company pulls the worst of all food faux pas: they'll air a commercial for some wonderful-looking fast-food wonder that isn't available within 1000mi of your couch. Suddenly, all you can think about is that ButterBurger. Or that steak & cheese hoagie. Time to take action. Below are 11 regional fast-food restaurants that need to be in every single part of the country; write your congressman NOW, then keep your fingers crossed that you'll soon know the power of the Umami Burger.
Jack in the Box (West Coast)
Everybody should have a Jack in the Box just so they can act on the bizarro, stoner-baiting commercials (seriously, look at this), but Jack's also amazing because it straight-up gives the finger to anything remotely resembling healthy. It is a magical place where burgers cause lockjaw, waffles take the place of bread, and two tacos are a side rather than a meal.
Biscuitville (North Carolina & Virginia)
With perhaps the exception of Confederate flag tramp-stamps, nothing speaks to Southern awesomeness quite like the biscuit, and this mostly-breakfast chain makes a solid case that everything tastes better on one. Biscuitville: it's like Pleasantville, but more delicious, and in color.
Midwesterners are a jolly people. A lot of that can be attributed to Culver's, whose signature dish is called the "ButterBurger", which is somehow 10x better than you can imagine. Oh, and there're cheese curds, custards, and root-beer floats... go Midwest, young man.
Chick-Fil-A (The South & Midwest... and expanding randomly elsewhere)
Chick-Fil-A's kind of like the senile aunt who, every time she invites you over for dinner, can't help but assert her politics and religious views at the table. But dammit, she makes great chicken. Everyone has an aunt like this, but not everyone has a Chick-Fil-A. This needs to change.
Big John Steak & Onion (Mid-Michigan)
The most addictive thing to emerge from Flint, Mich., (which is really, really saying something), Big John takes the concept of a Philly and simplifies it down to the basics: shaved rib-eye, onions, and white American, all piled onto a springy seeded bun and drenched in the joint's signature red sauce. They've also got a hell of an Italian sub, but it's hard to imagine eating anything but the namesake.
In-N-Out Burger (West Coast)
Every Lebowski fan's favorite fast food that they may or may not have tasted is glorious in its simplicity: burgers, shakes, and fries. That's it, and they're perfect. Throw in a not-so-secret menu (Animal Style isn't just a weird move for Muppet fetishists anymore) and a legion of cooks in goofy hats, and you've got a national obsession despite the fact that most of the nation can't get it.
Jet's Pizza (The Interstate 75 Corridor)
Jet's specializes in thick, heavy, greasy, deep-dish pies, where pepperoni grease serves to crisp the sides and cheese is laid on so thick, it's all but guaranteed to slip off the slice and scald your chin. Throw in some Turbo Sticks (which are pretty much pizza, just with more cheese instead of sauce) and some signature wings, and you've got an addictive meal that'll ensure you're not gonna lift too far off the ground.
Shake Shack (East Coast... and Florida)
Located primarily in NYC (including at JFK!) and a bunch of other random-ass locations, Shake Shack might as well be called Shake-Then-Jiggle Shack, because that's what you're gonna do after you gorge on their signature burgers, super-thick "concrete" shakes (with mix-ins like cheesecake blondies), and flat-top hot dogs. That they have a Shake Shack in Turkey but none further West than Philly is a travesty.
Umami Burger (LA, SF, NYC, Florida)
Giving Cali and New York another reason to brag, Umami Burger's signature is loaded with shiitake mushrooms, caramelized onions, roasted tomatoes, Umami ketchup, and, instead of melted cheese, a Parmesan crisp. They also have duck fat burgers. And cheese fries. And full bars. Screw you, Umami Burger. Share the love and fatness with the rest of us.
Whataburger (The South)
50,000,000,000,000 Texans can't be wrong. The same state that gave us Jessica Simpson and the word "strategery" has also spread Whataburgers across the South. If there's one thing Texans know, it's beef, and In-N-Out's charming, drawling brother is infinitely customizable and endlessly juicy, and pairs wonderfully with chicken tenders & gravy. Let's hope the South rises again... into more markets.
White Castle (Midwest & East Coast)
Sure, you can get microwaveable White Castle sliders in your grocer's freezer, but they've got nothing on the original steamed hams (sorry, Skinner) served up in a restaurant that looks like Bowser might be holding princess-hostages inside. And that's to say nothing about the chicken rings (whatever those are), or the fact that you can buy a "crave case" of 30 of the two-bite wonders... something that you could also do with the ones from the grocery store, but you're totally gonna ruin your briefcase.