The Best Fast Food in America

The 25 most fulfilling things to order at the drive-thru

All fast foods are not created equal. Among the sad-sack burgers and other vile mass-produced foodstuffs a few true culinary gems stand out—lauded by gourmet chefs even as they satisfy the simple cravings of on-the-move diners. These winning entrées—yes, they deserve the title—sides, desserts, and drinks can all be found at establishments with at least five locations and one drive-thru (naturally), yet they're anything but homogeneous, showcasing a range of distinct regional flavors. Consider this your Michelin Guide to the food you can eat while changing lanes.

1. In-N-Out Burger's 2x4, Animal Style

Even Eric Schlosser, the muckraking author of Fast Food Nation, is down with the burger served at this West Coast chain, once saying, "It isn't health food, but it's food with integrity. It's the real deal." You won't find any frozen ingredients or a single paper-wrapped sandwich waiting under a heat lamp. Diehards know to order this tricked-out specialty, which masterfully marries the following ingredients: two patties cooked in mustard and topped with caramelized onions, pickles, extra "spread" (In-N-Out's lingo for its Thousand Island–style dressing), and four slices of American cheese. It carries the name 2x4, because it packs a wallop. Locations: 233, in four states

Photo: Michael Schmelling
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