5 On Your Side

Survey: The best fast-food is off the most eaten path

Posted July 7

Looking for the best fast-food burger? According to Consumer Reports, it’s not at any of the large chain restaurants.

The closest option for those in North Carolina is Five Guys Burger and Fries, which ranked third on Consumer Reports’ list of best and worst fast-food restaurants in America.

Two West Coast options, The Habit Burger Grill and In-N-Out Burger, ranked above the Virginia-based burger chain.

"Our survey found that many of the smaller chains are true regional gems,” said Tod Marks, senior projects manager at Consumer Reports. ”They outperform the big guys, so they're really worth seeking out if you're on the road and looking for a great meal."

As for chicken, Chick-fil-A ranked the best. Those surveyed said they received polite, speedy service and clean dining areas from the Atlanta-based restaurant chain.

Have a taste for Mexican food? Just like fast-food burger and chicken restaurants, the major chains received the lowest marks.

"Mexican chains are another area in which biggest definitely wasn't best,” Marks said. “Taco Bell, in fact, had the worst tacos and burritos of any of the Mexican restaurants in our ratings."

Chipotle Mexican Grill got the highest marks for burritos.

Want a deli sandwich instead? Jason’s Deli and Firehouse Subs ranked the best.

But Firehouse Subs’ large Sweet Thai Chili Pork Sub ranked the worst for fat, calories and sodium. The sandwich has more than 1500 calories, 95 grams of fat and more than 3400 milligrams of sodium.

Out of 65 fast food and casual restaurants, Italian restaurant chain Sbarro ranked the worst. Those surveyed didn’t think their food was of good quality or fresh.

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  • 68_dodge_polara Jul 8, 10:20 a.m.

    I like cook out but they would need to switch to fresh ground beef instead of frozen to compete to have the best burger. They do have really good shakes and 99 cent BLT's though.

  • ThomasL Jul 8, 10:10 a.m.

    I would agree on bad food at taco bell and one more disturbing thing me and my wife have seen there,plenty of people simply walking in with whatever drink cup and filling it up at the fountain(stealing)or they come in and ask for a water cup and go get drinks(again stealing)and a lot of mom and pop places around us have problems with "employees"giving fariends free food and drinks.

  • johnny9 Jul 8, 8:48 a.m.

    For fast food that doesn't taste like fast food no one can beat Smithfield Chicken n BBQ. In my top 3 for BBQ and absolutely the best fried chicken to be found. Try their fried chicken and ask for it to be dipped in their BBQ sauce, heavenly......

  • milesberger5 Jul 8, 8:36 a.m.

    Cookout, Bojangles & Smithfield's should be at the top of this list!!

  • claytontarheel Jul 8, 8:36 a.m.

    If you are going for a good cheeseburger Chargrill has all of these places beat! Chicken....man... View More

    — Posted by ncouterbanks69

    I've eaten at Chargrill twice just to give it a chance. It was ridiculously over priced for very poor quality. I'll never go back. My family actually laughs when I suggest it because we all had the same opinion.

  • 68_dodge_polara Jul 8, 8:34 a.m.

    "Chik fil a are the worst,Bojangles is better."

    That is a preference of dry chicken over moist... View More

    — Posted by 68_dodge_polara

    Dry rub is better,apart from real Homemade fried chicken.

    — Posted by mafiamic

    Well bojangles wasn't even mentioned. And I eat there at times as I like the chicken cajun filet biscuit as I like the occasional whopper from burger king if a coupon is available but I accept the gristly dry patty with the fake smoke taste for the price and all the toppings they put on it. I think these joints have a place but just not to be compared with great taste of some of the newer fresher options out there.

  • ncouterbanks69 Jul 8, 8:14 a.m.

    If you are going for a good cheeseburger Chargrill has all of these places beat! Chicken....man I just can't see Bojangles being beaten. Oh if only I could actually eat this stuff more than once in a blue moon. Yum!

  • Frank Downtown Jul 7, 7:58 p.m.

    None of them!

  • mafiamic Jul 7, 7:45 p.m.

    "Chik fil a are the worst,Bojangles is better."

    That is a preference of dry chicken over moist... View More

    — Posted by 68_dodge_polara

    Dry rub is better,apart from real Homemade fried chicken.

  • "Screen Name-8/20" Jul 7, 7:34 p.m.

    Oh, and for fried chicken, we always opt for Bojangles. Everything else tastes like what we can make at home. Their service is good, their help could be more courteous, but they aren't bad overall.

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