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I always get a little frustrated when I see an ad on TV for a restaurant with delicious food, but it’s not a restaurant located in my area. Why even advertise? I get that some of these are national ads, but why the tease? In that spirit, I was recently thinking about fast food restaurants we want to see in Pennsylvania.

Before we get to these hot spots that we’d like to see come to Pennsylvania, let’s look at some of the state’s most popular fast food restaurants. Foodandwine.com recently did a story highlighting the best fast food spots in every state. In it, they state, “Fast, easy, typically quite affordable, and nearly always imbued with a deep sense of place, these restaurants often end up pulling double duty as ambassadors for their place of origin — they can be a great introduction to an unfamiliar place, the perfect place to tune in to the local vibe.” In Pennsylvania, they picked Wawa as the top. Moreover, they praise the restaurant’s “breakfast sandwiches, the soft pretzels, the iced teas, the ice cream, and the nearly limitless TastyKake reserves.” Also, looking next door, in New Jersey, they picked Jersey Mike’s. That’s actually my dad’s favorite.

Another outlet, TasteofHome.com, also did a story about the best fast food in each state. For this article, they actually highlighted regional and local chains, not the super national ones. “Move over McDonald’s and Chipotle—these treasured regional fast food spots should be on your bucket list!” they state. They picked the combination gas station / fast food restaurant Sheetz, Altoona as the best in Pennsylvania. Love me some Sheetz. “They offer made-to-order sandwiches that let you pile the toppings high, along with some pretty killer sides,” the article states.

Now, let’s get into five fast food restaurant we want to see in Pennsylvana.

  • Steak 'n Shake

    Steak ‘n Shake delivers just that: tasty shakes and steak. The chain was founded in 1934 in Normal, Illinois, so they’ve been around for more than 85 years. According to their website, “The word ‘steak’ stood for STEAKBURGER. The term ‘shake’ stood for hand-dipped MILK SHAKES.” They were in Pennsylvania for a while but closed locations during the pandemic. Hopefully they come back.

  • Culver's

    If you like your ice cream made with custard, then Culver’s is your haven. This spot is known for its ice cream and shakes, as well as fast food cuisine. It was founded in Wisconsin and is mainly found in the middle of the U.S., and not in Pennsylvania.

  • Whataburger

    Whataburger is a burger favorite across America. The chain is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, and has more than 900 locations. Pennsylvania is not one of them. Maybe one day.

  • Jack in the Box

    Jack in the Box has made the news lately for expanding into new states. But, they aren’t coming to Pennsylvania. Yet. Please come.

  • Wingstop

    Wingstop is all about the great wings and chicken items. “What began as a small buffalo-style chicken wing restaurant in Garland, Texas, continues to soar to great heights,” they state on their website. Right now, Wingstop has more than 2,000 restaurants open. When you go to their official website, it says they don’t have any Pennsylvania locations, but they actually do have some, including in Allentown and Easton. We want to see more, and we’d like them to proudly list them on their site.