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11 Top Rated Southern Fast Food Chains

Southern fast food chains that you need to try for a taste of the south on the go.

The Southern US is saturated with fun things to do and amazing things to see. From Daytona Beach to Clarksdale at the Delta Blues Museum and the fascinating caverns at Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, you can never run out of scenic places to visit in the south.

Even better, the region is home to some of the best fast food restaurant chains globally. We all have a favorite fast-food chain. These locations are where most individuals run to for comfort food when they are feeling the blues or on their diet cheat days.

wide assortment of fast food items on a table

However, finding the best southern fast-food restaurant chains can be challenging, especially with so many options to choose from. That’s why I visited several joints in search of the best southern food joints, and thankfully, I’ve found a number of few restaurants that are worth every minute and penny spent. Check out this compilation for amazing restaurants to try out.

11 Best Southern Fast Food Restaurants

  1. Bojangles’ Famous Chicken ‘n Biscuits
  2. Zaxby’s
  3. Biscuitville
  4. Krystal
  5. Waffle House
  6. Whataburger
  7. Cook Out
  8. KFC
  9. Jack’s
  10. Raising Cane
  11. Popeye’s

Bojangles Famous Chicken ‘n Biscuits

I had to start with arguably the biggest chain on the list. For all fried chicken lovers, Bojangles it is. The fast-food chain has been in the market for decades, so you should be confident about its recipe by now.

I mostly loved their fast customer service and how keen they are on details. Their chicken arrives fresh at each joint and is marinated for up to 12 hours. Pepper lovers will enjoy the heavy dosage of mild, lip-tingling pepper in the chicken to add taste. 

If you have a large family, worry not. Grab the 12 piecer and six-biscuit box to compliment the chicken, and your lunch or dinner will be sorted out within a few minutes.

Besides their chicken, Bojangle’s is known for its sweet tea. They offer an all-day breakfast menu, so you can pull up at any time for a solid breakfast to kill hangovers.


Zaxby’s

I passed by Zaxby’s on my way to a friend’s graduation party, and I have to admit that this chain has outdone itself. 

I’ve never had anything close to their crunchy and perfectly seasoned chicken. Their salad is mind-blowing. So, I can confidently vouch for Zaxby’s that no matter what you order from their menu, the chances are high that you will love it.

Their customer service is amazing too. I was in and out within a few minutes, so you can rest assured of their speediness.

The restaurant has over 600 locations, so you will most likely bump into it wherever you go. Be sure to try their chicken wings or fingers, and then come back with a testimony.


Biscuitville

Biscuitville has branches in Virginia and North Carolina. When I first read the name, the first thing to come to my mind was biscuit, and I was right.

The chain food is not just known for its clever name. Their foods are made at the restaurant from scratch and served within 15 minutes. While you’re waiting, I definitely recommend doing what I did and watching the whole preparation process through the biscuit window.

Depending on your preference, your biscuits are served along with other specialties such as country ham, flaky fried catfish, steak, or fried pork chops. I couldn’t settle on one, so I ordered nearly everything on the menu. I’m very happy to say that I was not disappointed with my selection.

I also ordered fluffy pancakes with meat for my little ones, and they loved them. Biscuitville is my top selection for comfort foods, especially on weekends or after a long day at work when you just want to feel good and relax. 


Krystal

Krystal is my top choice for crispy fries. They recently introduced a new recipe with additional breading for maximum crunch, and I love it. 

This fast-food restaurant has a variety of fast treats choices to suit everyone’s preferences. Anyone who has been here will attest that no other fast-food chain can match Krystal’s flavored Itty-bitty burger.

I also loved their packaging. Their foods come in small packages, which I think is very thoughtful considering that most individuals eat fast foods on the go.

From their chicken sandwich chicks to signature burgers, you will certainly want to pass by often. Their customer services are unmatched. The restaurant is known for its small-sized square hamburgers with steamed-in onions, but there is more.

I ordered the 4 Cheese Krystal Combo that features a slice of American cheese, and I’m never going back. I later had to pass by the store to get the cheese and try out their recipe.

They also offer a three-piece ‘chik’ combo that features two chicken patties stacked between steamed buns and fries and a drink on the side. This combo is like ordering everything you love about Krystal in small bits.


Waffle House

The first thing I noticed when I got to Waffle House was their amazing working team – super-efficient, friendly, and professional. They follow up with their customers through the service process to ensure they don’t miss your order.

The place is also clean and well-kept, which is a big deal for me when choosing places to eat. While visiting with my friend, we were quickly provided with our order, hardly having to wait at all! It’s definitely not something you regularly experience in most restaurants, that’s for sure.

Their pancakes are fresh and delicious, not to forget their reasonably priced services. They have breakfast, lunch, and dinner packages, all of which are prepared for all nutrition requirements.


Whataburger

Whataburger is the go-to burger joint in the south. I was mostly impressed by the restaurant’s personalized menu options. A friend recommended this place to me, and I visited to see if it lives up to the hype, and I have to admit it’s worth it.

With over 790 locations in 10 states, this fast-food chain lives up to its customers’ expectations with its sumptuous and freshly prepared meals. You can add avocado, and jalapeños toppings, hence the just like you like it slogan.

The staff is proactive and always ready to come through whenever you get stuck. They will help you select the best burger toppings and even make it precisely how you love it. Within five minutes, I had my food with me, which is quite commendable. 

The interior decorations are something else to love about Whataburger. It matches a fast food joint ambiance. On the wall are nicely-done versions of the original Whataburgers. The seating setup is pretty old-school but lovable for a fast-food chain. It’s no wonder why this southern fast food chain is one of the best in the country.


Cook Out

Have you ever been to a mall food court? Cook Out feels like walking in one. They have a variety of fast food choices to meet everyone’s needs. You may head there with your entire family, and rest assured that each of you will find their favorites.

This fast-food chain has you covered whether you are into chicken nuggets, pork BBQ, salad, or char-grilled burgers.

Cook Out offers a mix and match style combo that features a big double burger and two sides. I only had this and left the place absolutely stuffed. I included a Cheerwine float to the burger and vanilla soft serve, and it was good to go.

Their customer service is top-notch – a few minutes after ordering, and the food is served hot and fresh.

Cook Out is also famous for its signature milkshake. Pass By anytime for freshly prepared milkshakes at an affordable price.

For many years, Cook Out was known for its classic and accessible drive-out locations. But they recently introduced more sitting-in restaurants for convenience. As you walk into the rustic restaurant, you are welcomed by gentle strains of romantic music over the speakers to create a relaxed ambiance.

The menu is quite extensive, and the best way to sample it is by ordering a Cook Out Tray. Besides your entree, you get a free corn dog and quesadilla, which is a thoughtful way to attract customers.


KFC

Now the most famous fast-food chain across the US is KFC. This fast-food chain has been famous for its signature crispy fried chicken since the 1940s. The fact that the restaurant has been operating for more than 80 years says a lot about their customer service and how great their chicken is.

The desserts, biscuits, and sides are another reason to want to go back to KFC. The restaurant offers competitive prices, and the food quality is worth every penny. My kids are obsessed with KFC chicken, which goes to show how good it is.

Their customer service gets 5 stars from me. I have been to KFC in different states, and for the many times I have been there, I never experienced a service delay. Their staff is always ready to help and even guide you in making your order.


Jack’s

The most outstanding aspect about Jack’s is how well the products are organized. It’s a pretty decent and clean environment. Last month was my first time dining at the restaurant, and I have to admit I’m happy I had a chance to experience their amazing food selections. 

My favorite was their wings. I ordered the 12 piece BBQ wings that come with soda and fries, which took less than five minutes to get to the table.

Everything, from the wings to the fries were warm and fresh. The servers were friendly yet professional. I was mostly impressed by the manager, who took his time to check on us to ensure our expectations were met, and was surprised to hear that this level of service was just a part of their high standards.

You should try out their shrimp and fish plate with salad and fries. The prices are quite reasonable compared to most restaurants down the street. I highly recommend Jack’s for family eat-out days.


Raising Cane

I visited Raising Cane, the fastest-growing fast-food restaurant chain, and what I discovered should terrify the fast-food pioneers.

The restaurant’s chicken fingers will blow your mind, and their customer services more than live up to the hype. Soon, this restaurant will take over the nation.

Raising Cane features a minimalist menu that focuses on chicken fingers, and I think the idea has helped them maximize their potential. They also have a kid’s combo, so you can comfortably head there with your little ones. The ambiance is just what you need after a stressful day at work or school.

Your food will be ready in less than five minutes. And other than the speedy services, the staff is always looking out for their customers’ best interests.

I ordered one sandwich combo and a three-finger combo, which is the best I’ve ever had since I started reviewing fast food restaurant chains. I’m definitely going back soon.


Popeye’s

Popeye’s has nearly everything to love, from its extensive food selection, tasty foods, and quality customer service.

Out of all the fast-food fried chicken places, their fried chicken is easily some of the best in the entire United States. The stores are clean and well-kept, which is a big deal when dealing with food joints.

The food came in warm and fresh. The staff was exceptionally helpful and friendly, serving with a smile and making suggestions on the latest deals and offers.

However, the restaurant is a bit expensive compared to most restaurant chains that I’ve reviewed before, but I found the prices worthwhile.

Make sure you order their red beans and rice. You will have to make room for the sides like the cheddar cheese and bacon. Popeye’s biscuits are way too good. You will never want to go elsewhere.

I have been there twice. The first time I went alone and the second time I took a friend along. She still thanks me for introducing her to this amazing joint.


Final Thoughts

Whether you are looking for a regular place to eat on weekends with your family or an accessible food joint to pass by as you head to work for a quick breakfast or lunch takeaway, you cannot go wrong with fast food restaurant chains. Check out any of the above places for tasty foods without breaking the bank.

Did I miss anything? Let me know if I left out your favorite restaurant chain in the South. I’d be happy to take a look and give it a review the next time I’m in the area.

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Written by Rocco Smith

Rocco is from Sanibel Island, Florida, and a recent graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor’s in Editing, Writing, and Media. With seven years’ experience in the restaurant industry as a cook, server, bartender, and more, he is deeply passionate about intertwining his fondness for food with his love of language.