Well Being

10 Fast Food Chains That Surprisingly Aren’t In NYC Yet

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beef burrito

(Image: Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock)

I think of New York City as the neutron star of America; a tiny island, densely crammed with just about everything you could dream of. That's why it's so strange that there are still a number of fast food chains that haven't made it onto the NYC scene. Some of them you've heard of, some you haven't, but all of them are welcome to the east coast as far as I'm concerned.

1. In-N-Out Burger

in-n-out burger sign

(Image: Ken Wolter/Shutterstock)

This California craze somehow hasn't found its way to the east coast yet, but everyone knows its legend. Not only do they have great burgers, they're one of the few fast food chains with an employee wage higher than minimum, starting them at $10.50 per hour. So there's two reasons to bring them over.

2. Habit Burger


(Image: Marie C Fields/Shutterstock)

This lesser known burger joint actually beat In-N-Out for Best Burger in a recent fast food survey conducted by Consumer Reports. Which means they must be good, and we need them here immediately.

3. Sonic Drive-In

oreo milkshake

(Image: Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock)

As a Jersey native, I'm truly shocked that my favorite high school lunch hour pastime hasn't been introduced to our neighboring city. Maybe I'm biased, but the shakes would prove a formidable competitor to Shake Shack.

4. Jack In The Box

burger and fries on tray

(Image: Isantilli/Shutterstock)

As of last year, Jack In The Box was ranked 14th best selling fast food chain in the country, so it's a little surprising that there isn't a single location in NYC. With burgers, tacos, and even egg rolls on the menu, it could easily be a one stop shop for people under the influence, or pregnant women.

5. Jimmy John's

jimmy johns store front

(Image: Ken Wolter/Shutterstock)

This sandwich shop was given a 7.7 on the Consumer Reports survey, and yet it's nowhere to be found on an island filled with Subway locations (which scored nearly last on the poll). What's up with that?

6. Carl's Jr.

carls jr store front

(Image: digitalreflections/Shutterstock)

This chain mainly operates in the west and southwest, but it has some health-conscious options that could surely appeal to the fit New Yorker on the go. They even have a ‘Gluten-Sensitive‘ menu, which I've yet to see at a fast food chain.

7. Portillo's Hot Dogs

hot dogs

(Image: Elena Shashkina/Shutterstock)

Portillo's is basically exclusive to the Chicago area, with a few other locations in California, Arizona, and Indiana. And yet it was rated number one in the Sandwiches & Subs category of Consumer Reports' survey! Surely now that the poll has illuminated its superiority, it can only broaden its horizons.

8. Firehouse Subs

roast beef sub sandwich

 (Image: Foodio/Shutterstock)

This Florida sandwich chain came in second to Portillo's on the survey, but there is good news: they're planning on a 60-store expansion into NYC over the next ten years. If you're wondering, the shop was actually founded by a pair of firefighter brothers in Jacksonville, and still donates money to fire houses. Now that's a morally-conscious sammich.

9. El Pollo Loco

chicken tacos

(Image: Joshua Resnick/Shutterstock)

This Mexican-style chicken franchise is a Los Angeles native, and scored second to Chick-Fil-A for best chicken on that survey I keep mentioning. But like Firehouse Subs, this popular chain has grand plans to expand to 2300 locations in the U.S. And at least one of them has to be in the Big Apple.

10. Schlotzky's

flatbread pizza

(Image: Francesco83/Shutterstock)

Another southern chain, this sandwich and pizza shop came in at number three for the Sandwiches & Subs category, right after Pontillo's and Firehouse Subs. Is there room in NYC for two sandwich shops with a Z in their name? I don't see why not.