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Dining at the Best Chain Restaurants
In Canada and the United States

Not the ones you may be used to elsewhere in the world.

A Burger King sign in Arabic in Aqaba Jordon. If in Canada & the United States try to seek out their regional cuisines, not those found in most chain restaurants. Here though are some of the best chains in North America.

Above: A Burger King in Aqaba, Jordon. Please go beyond worldwide chain food and dine often on distinctive American and Canadian cuisines while in North America.

Yes, I really would like you to avoid nearly the same chain food that you can find across the world while in Canada and the United States. Nevertheless, the convenience of chains and their prices may prompt you to use them at times.

The following I believe are the best inexpensive chain dining choices in Canada and the U.S.

Above: Although not a chain restaurant, Costco both in Canada and the USA offers snack bars open to non members that serve super value good quality fast food.

Costco's generous four cheese pizza slices in both countries fills you up cheaply and deliciously. In Canada nationwide, you find poutine on the menu, a traditional québécois dish. You'll either love it or hate it!

Both Canada and the States also have Ikea food courts. These offer fantastic values to budget travellers.

Chain dining in Canada

Tim Hortons — affectionately nicknamed "Timmy's" — a beloved national icon. Known for its coffee but also serves very decent hot eat in or take out during its breakfast and lunch hours. Quick service.

As of 2019, "Timmy's" now has hot vegan breakfast items served all day, as well as hot vegan items at the other meal times.

Other than Tim Hortons Canada has no distinctive nationwide chains.

In Alberta and British Columbia you find White Spot, a sit down restaurant, which makes a fine regional choice, in part because it uses a lot of fresh foods.

Note though White Spot has become significantly more expensive during in recent years.

For the most part, local small ethnic restaurants are the way to dine best in Canada on a budget. With traditionally high levels of immigration, ethnic choices are easy to find, even in small towns.

Chain dining in the United States

Some of the better U.S. chains, in various categories, include the following. Of course, the focus is on inexpensive food

  • Burger King - I mention this chain for one reason only.

    With its "BK Veggie," Burger King became the sole national burger chain that is truly vegan friendly. That means vegetarians now easily enjoy access to protein-based food they can enjoy throughout the U.S.

    This smart marketing move also provided a excellent product for people watching their fat intake. The BK Veggie delivers just 5mg of cholesterol compared to the Triple Whopper with 205 mg!

    In response to a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals request, Burger King rolled out its BK Veggie.
    Probably in shock over its victory, PETA featured BK's sandwich on its homepage.

    No positive news in yet from PETA's "Kentucky Fried Cruelty" campaign. Videos from that I felt were too disturbing to show here.

  • Chick-fil-A - Often considered to have the best fast food chicken menu in the U.S.

  • Culver's, a regional fast food chain mostly in the Midwest, Arizona and Colorado that you should seek out wherever you can find. Superb quality for a chain place.

  • Furr's Buffet (or sometimes Furr's Fresh Buffet), "down home" in Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. Nice family-style cooking.

    All in all, Furr's is an excellent place to have a balanced meal (if you have some willpower) at a fair price, and most travellers will want to eat here when they can for the variety.

  • In-N-Out - Cult California burger chain. Fiercely loyal fans!

  • Luby's Cafeterias Mostly in Texas: Excellent made from scratch meals. Nice atmospheres. Low prices. Easy to select balanced diet. Special price for reduced size entries at many locations.

    Be sure to visit these highly recommended self-serve restaurants, which are not expensive. The locals expect good food and they get it at Luby's.

  • Old Country Buffet (Also called HomeTown Buffet in parts of the States).

    American family-style dishes. Lots and lots of variety. Very popular with senior citizens, although most locations are patronized by all age groups.

    At these, one price includes all we care to eat, including drinks and a variety of desserts.

    As with all buffets and cafeterias, dine at peak mealtimes when food is likely freshest.

  • Pei Wei: Limited menu and service version of its parent PF Chang's below.

  • PF Chang's - Very good cooked fresh for you (not usually cooked in bulk) Chinese food and service in major U.S. urban areas. Surprisingly low cost for a sit down urban restaurant.

  • Shake Shack - More expensive than the other burger chains listed, but delicious.

  • Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen - Something different. Popeyes brought New Orleans tastes nearly nationwide in U.S. "Dirty rice," cornbread, etc.

  • Whole Foods Markets, not restaurants, but a natural food supermarket chain in Canada and the U.S. that usually has a cafe and carry out counter for picnics and snacks. Many have juice bars. Huge selection. Highly recommended for staying healthy while travelling.

Go To >> Part I, Experiencing the best foods

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