7 West Coast Fast-Food Chains So Good, People Are Willing to Travel for Them
The West Coast is known for many things like beaches, great weather, and national landmarks— just to name a few. It's also home to regional fast-food chains that people will travel far and wide to visit. You can't find these quick eats anywhere else and the food is too good not to make the trip.
The fast food out West includes lots of authentic Mexican food, old-fashioned burger joints, and the occasional sandwich with a special twist or exciting ingredient.
If you're traveling out West—or just want to take a foodie trip—seek out these 7 fast-food chains that are so good, people return again and again for another taste!
Roscoe's House of Chicken & Waffles
This Southern California spot (mainly the L.A. area) has had somewhat of a chokehold on West Coast natives—even before the chicken and waffle combination became a nationwide phenomenon. Roscoe's House of Chicken & Waffles, which first opened in 1975, cooks up legendary fried chicken and fluffy waffles that get hefty servings of Louisiana-style hot sauce and warm maple syrup. Popularity for the chain grew so much, the brand came out with frozen versions of its chicken wings at select grocery stores, according to Thrillist.
And as one Tripadvisor traveler put it, "Roscoe's chicken and waffles is worth every bit of the hype, in our opinions. During our weekend trip to LA, we visited it 3 times total."
Dick's Drive-In is a Washington favorite, due to the chain's old-fashioned burgers, fries, and hand-dipped milkshakes. The burger joint has only eight locations out West and frequent customers will vouch for the fact that it's a meal worth traveling for. Not only does Dick's use the freshest ingredients—including hand-cut fries on a daily basis and high-quality beef products—but the menu has some of the most affordable, low-priced items in the industry, USA Today reports.
"If you [are] in the area definitely check this diner out. The food is good and you don't want to miss out! Oh and a definite plus for staying open SOOO late!" One satisfied Yelp reviewer wrote.
You may have never imagined enjoying a plate of authentic and delectable tamales from a fast food chain, but if you're ever on the West Coast, King Taco might just be the place that changes your mind. Started in 1970, one single taco truck transformed into a 20-location selling this beloved Mexican staple. Diners have the choice of burritos, tamales, and nachos on the menu, but the true gem of King Taco is right in the name. The chain's tacos can satisfy all your cravings, with nine different meat options available on any given day.
Here's what one Yelp reviewer eagerly had to say about the West coast chain: "I love king taco so much !!!! All the food is AMAZING, and the staff is nice. Can get busy but the workers are efficient in getting the food out in a timely manner. never disappoints.!! I recommend to anyone and everyone you will not regret it!"
Eggslut first caught West coast hype in 2011, as a result of its buzzworthy egg-loaded burgers. Food reviewers and happy customers rave about the egg component being cooked to perfection in every dish. Plus, the sandwiches are made with shiny, soft brioche buns that defy description. Be prepared to experience high prices, with sandwiches ranging from $12 to $23, but also know you're in for a unique fast-food breakfast.
Eggslut has the "Best egg sandwich worth visiting from wherever you're in the world," said one Tripadvisor reviewer.
Ike's Love & Sandwiches
The Bay Area was first blessed with Ike's Love & Sandwiches in 2007, and it seems likely locals will be forever thankful. Today, the sandwich chain has expanded to a few other states outside of California and everywhere it moves to, fans continue to follow. Ike's Sandwiches is most known for its unique Dutch Crunch bread, unique combos, and "dirty sauce"—which is a garlic aioli-style sauce with a secret blend of seasonings and spices.
There are an extensive number of people on Twitter who praise Ike's Sandwiches. This one sums it up: "Laying in my bed dreaming of animal fries and Ike's sandwiches… it might b time for a lil trip home."
You probably knew this one was going to be on the list. In-N-Out Burger has a nationwide reputation as a "must-visit" for anyone who goes to the West Coast for the first time. Ranked at #10 in the USA Today's 10Best Reader's Choice for 2022, In-N-Out Burger is what's considered a "cult classic." "No visit out west is complete without a visit," 10Best contributor, Gerrish Lopez, said. The old-fashioned drive-thru keeps it simple with basic cheeseburgers, fries, and shakes— but it also has a not-so-secret menu filled with "Animal-Style" items with the signature spread.
While Del Taco has been referenced as the West Coast equivalent of Taco Bell (even though they have those too), the chain is rated highly by locals and travelers alike. If you do end up making the trip, note that the Mexican-inspired establishment has much more to offer than the expected tacos, burritos, and tortas. Del Taco also makes delicious chicken strips, hamburgers, and salads.