A&W is a classic fast food joint, reminiscent of diners of the 1960s and waitresses on roller skates.
While almost every A&W location has moved past the drive-in atmosphere and is settling for a classic fast-food vibe, it doesn’t mean that the food is any lower in quality than in the past!
You might know A&W for their root beer, sold in packaging that looks like wooden barrels. It’s one of the most popular root beer brands in America and continues to grow.
However, the company has long been a fast food restaurant, as well. It started in 1919 in California and has grown into the worldwide phenomenon it is today.
If you’ve never been to A&W, you’re in for a treat! It’s been around for over a hundred years and continues to please customers to this day.
Check out my list of the best A&W menu items below! Whether you’re stopping by on a road trip or checking out your hometown restaurant for the first time, here’s what to get at A&W!
Of course, the first item on this list is root beer. It’s what A&W is famous for, and they’ve earned their fame.
This company knows the root beer game–it’s tangy, sweet, and fizzy. In my opinion, A&W is the best root beer available, and it just tastes better in an A&W restaurant.
Of course, along with root beer, they have root beer floats. If you like root beer floats, it’s impossible to resist these: they come in a frosted mug and everything!
The perfect, nostalgic way to end a summer evening is to run to A&W and get some fries and root beer float. The bottom line: you need to get the root beer at A&W.
Speaking of fries, A&W french fries are pretty great, too. Although fries come with almost any meal, you can also order them a la carte.
You don’t need to stick with ketchup either–any dipping sauce works well with fries (they’re the perfect vehicle for the sauce, after all). You can also get chili cheese fries if you prefer your potatoes loaded.
Try A&W’s Papa sauce, Spicy Papa Sauce, Honey Wu (like a honey barbecue but sweeter), ranch, or any of the other signature sauces.
I’m not saying the fries need a sauce to taste good–they don’t. These fries are delicious on their own. However, I am saying that dipping fries in sauces (or milkshakes) is an excellent idea, as well.
Of course, you can’t just get fries and a shake and call it good (I mean, you can, but there is more good food to be had).
A&W also makes hot dogs, other sides, and of course, cheeseburgers.
If you’re outside of the United States (specifically in Canada or European countries), A&W has a special offering for you.
Instead of cheddar cheese on your burger, you can get mozzarella with your Mozza Burger. It’s a different flavor and changes the entire taste.
However, it’s not available in America, so you might have to take a road trip to try one!
If you’ve had enough fries or want a second side to go with your meal, you have to try the cheese curds.
Although these are usually midwestern classics, even a California-based company like A&W can do them correctly.
I mean, what’s better than fried cheese? Not much, in my opinion.
Cheese curds come as a side or a shareable and can be ordered with any sauce (but you have to get ranch dressing with them because that’s the best combination).
They’re hand-battered Wisconsin cheddar deep fried to crunchy, gooey, stretchy goodness.
A&W is a fan of the classics, and so am I. if you’re not looking to try something new and adventurous, don’t worry.
You can get a classic cheeseburger and not feel bad about it. After all, it’s a classic for a reason, isn’t it?
The cheeseburger comes with ketchup, mustard, pickles, and cheddar cheese. As I said, it’s a classic.
There’s nothing new or strange about it, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not exciting! Like all A&W burgers, it comes with a white bun.
A meal will include a side and a drink, and I recommend root beer and fries if you’re looking for a truly classic meal.
Chicken strips are a childhood classic but still taste delicious when you’re an adult.
Some people scoff at chicken strips as grown-up food, but I still eat them regularly and enjoy them just as much. So, if you want chicken strips, fries, and a root beer float, you go right ahead and get them.
While nothing at A&W is particularly healthy, chicken strips might be a lower-calorie option.
After all, they’re mostly protein, and it’s just the breading and frying that makes them unhealthy at all!
With that logic, chicken strips might the best food at A&W, especially if you’re trying to avoid higher fat foods.
One of the classic menu items at A&W is the Papa burger. It’s two patties, pickles, mustard, ketchup, mustard, and Teen sauce–for those of you wondering, this sauce is a combination of barbecue sauce and thousand island dressing.
The Papa and Mama burger both come on sesame seed buns.
If you love the idea of that burger but aren’t quite so hungry, the Mama burger is the same, but with one patty!
The Teen sauce (sometimes called Papa sauce at A&W) is really what makes this burger. Grab a Papa or a Mama, some loaded fries, and a milkshake for the perfect meal.
Original Bacon Cheeseburger
What’s better than a classic cheeseburger? A bacon cheeseburger, of course. If you believe that bacon makes everything better, you are in luck.
A&W’s original bacon cheeseburger is exactly what you need for a pick-me-up lunch.
A slice of cheddar cheese, fresh onions and lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, mayonnaise, and of course, bacon make this burger–these are the toppings on the bacon cheeseburger.
It is served on a white bun, but you can get it wrapped in lettuce if you have gluten issues (because people who can’t eat gluten need some bacon in their lives).
If you live in America and want a bacon cheeseburger with Teen sauce on it, you will have to order it specially.
However, Canadian A&Ws offers this as a regular menu item–the Teen burger. It adds a sweet and tangy taste to a classic bacon cheeseburger that just can’t be passed up!
It’s just as good as it sounds–bacon, cheddar, lettuce, onion, pickle, tomato, burger, and that delicious Teen sauce.
In my opinion, the Teen sauce does for the burger what root beer does to floats–it makes it delicious in a new and unique way. This particular menu item is a must-try!
Bacon Double Cheeseburger
Since A&W offers a regular cheeseburger and a bacon cheeseburger, it stands to reason that they also offer a bacon double cheeseburger.
It comes with all the fillings: lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, mayo, ketchup, and mustard as well as double the bacon, double the cheese and double the burger.
The only thing that this burger doesn’t double is the buns (that would be weird).
It’s huge and delicious and goes perfectly with cheese curds or onion rings and a large soda.
If you’re going to get a bacon double cheeseburger anywhere, you might as well get it at A&W.
Chocolate Ice Cream
What is a meal without dessert? Not a complete meal, if you ask me.
If you are visiting A&W with multiple people and not all of you like root beer, the soft-serve chocolate ice cream is a delicious second option.
You can get it on a cone, in a cup, or as a twist cone with vanilla.
Chocolate ice cream is also an option for A&W’s rich and creamy milkshakes.
Only slightly less preferable than their root beer floats, these shakes are thick and delicious and come in the classic milkshake flavors of chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla (with rotating seasonal specialties).
Chubby Chicken Sandwich
The Chubby Chicken Sandwich is sometimes called the Chubby Chicken Burger.
This is because the patty is shaped like a burger instead of being a classic chicken breast shape. However, it doesn’t make it any less delicious.
Chubby Chicken is your favorite fast-food chicken sandwich, taken up a notch.
On a toasted sesame seed bun, the Chubby Chicken sandwich is a breaded and fried chicken patty with mayonnaise, lettuce, and spices.
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the ingredients–you don’t need a lot to make this sandwich satisfying.
Coney Cheese Dog
I would be very remiss if I didn’t include a hot dog on this list.
After all, there’s an entire section of the A&W menu dedicated to hot dogs. You can get plain hot dogs, Chicago-style, or chili dogs.
However, in my personal experience, the best hot dog at A&W is the Coney Cheese dog.
I love cheese. This is no secret. For me, a regular hot dog is good, but you add cheese, and it suddenly becomes a gourmet meal.
The best part about the Coney cheese dog is that you can also add all of the toppings–make it a chili cheese dog for the full hot dog experience!
A&W might be one of the more underrated fast-food restaurants in America.
Although it’s been around for over a century, it gets overlooked in the shadow of the bigger, more flashy fast food places. However, this former drive-in still holds a lot of charm and delicious food.
If you like root beer, A&W is a must-stop on any road trip.
From the frosty mugs to the chili cheese dogs, you can find something for the whole family for dinner and dessert. Like it says on the sign, A&W really does serve All American Food!