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Off the plane and straight to the chains

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Am I the only person here who gets excited about exploring the chain restaurants of a particular area when traveling? My family moved to Texas a few years back and I was overwhelmed by the new options while driving down the main strip of the town (Lubbock). Three visits in and I haven't even made a dent in the local fast-food scene. My mom was horrified that I was more interested in eating at Whattaburger than having a home-cooked meal (for good reason--my mother is a fan of the cream of mushroom soup/cassarole school of cooking). Bring on the curly fries and save me from another round of tater-tot hot dish.

How about you--what's your favorite regional chain restaurants? Where do you eat when stuck in the airport? And any TX chain recommendations--I'm hitting Austin and Lubbock for Thanksgiving.

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  1. Do they still have cafeteria (probably now called all you can eat buffets) chains? Luby's comes to mind in TX. As to other places, folks in the Northeast crave Sonic when they drive south, and I am partial to Ryan's (called a steakhouse but really a southern themed buffet) in the southeast. In Florida, there is a chain called Pollo Tropical (actually owned by the Carrols Corp., which used to be a burger chain in upstate NY). In the Miami Airport, the local La Carreta chain is where I go, but you can't go wrong at CPK, and many airports have Chili's To Go, in a pinch.

    3 Replies
    1. re: nickdanger

      I still haven't been to sonic and definitely plan to go next time I'm away. Anything off the menu you recommend?

      1. re: erikka

        Most of sonic's food is pretty much off in taste. In other words, nothing tastes the way you would expect it to, not even the ice cream.

        Having said that, I personally do like the taste of their breakfast bistro sandwich with bacon, minus the cheese (too many calories and cholesterol). Most of the items on the menu are realllllly bad for you.

        I would also like to note that although most of the sonics are the same, some do stand out. Seems the ones decorated in the red theme are worse than the one sonic I've seen painted in white. The white sonic was actually not bad. The burger tasted like meat and the fries tasted like potato. (I have kids and they like for me to stop there. Otherwise, I wouldn't.)

        1. re: erikka

          Fries, the rickeys - cherry and lime - and the shakes are ok. I go because my family likes the food, not necessarily do I eat, but I guess I'd rather support sonic than McD's or BK. And they do have old time drive-in service!!

      2. Whenever we go to Santa Fe the first place I go to after we leave Sunport is Blake's Lottaburger in Bernalillo and have a green chile cheeseburger, then I'm ready for wonderful Santa Fe dining.

        1. I live on the East Coast and have never had the pleasure of eating at an In & Out or Fatburger. This Web site is lousy with people who say that, for a chain, they make amazing burgers so if I'm ever on the West Coast those two places will definitely be visited.