10 Foreign Chain Restaurants We're Glad Came to the U.S. (Slideshow)

You can learn a lot about a country from its fast food

10 Foreign Chain Restaurants We're Glad Came to the U.S.

Fast food may seem like a strictly American tradition, but just about every country has fast-food and fast-causal chains of its own nowadays. For better or for worse, some of these chains have come to the United States. Here are 10 that we welcome with open arms.


This chain is hugely popular in the Philippines, and has locations scattered around the U.S., largely in California. Aside from burgers, they offer fried chicken, spaghetti, noodles, and unique breakfast dishes like Spam, beef tenders, or sweet pork with rice. 

Pie Face

Founded in 2003 in Sydney, Australia, Pie Face is best known for its wide variety of savory and sweet pies, each represented by a different facial expression. A handful of Pie Face outlets have opened in the U.S., including six in New York City. Their funky pies, in flavors like Thai chicken curry; bacon, egg, and cheese; and Philly cheese steak, are turning a lot of people on to the glories of hand-pies. 

Pret a Manger

This British chain with a French name was founded in 1984. Today there are locations in New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Boston. Busy urbanites love their pre-made sandwich, pastries, and coffee—and the fact that at the end of each day all leftover food is donated to charity. 


This vegetarian falafel chain was founded by two Israelis in Amsterdam in 1991. By 1996, the duo had already expanded outside The Netherlands. Today, franchises are open in seven U.S. cities, including New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia, as well as Barcelona, Paris, and São Paulo. Falafel sandwiches and platters from here can be topped with your choice of more than a dozen toppings from their salad bar. 

Pollo Campero

Founded in Guatemala in 1971, there are today more than 300 locations of Pollo Campero around the world. The first U.S. location opened in Los Angeles in 2002 and sales took off, and now there are more than 50 outlets in 15 states. Menu items include grilled and fried chicken, empanadas, and rice bowls. 

Paris Baguette

Founded in South Korea in 1988, Paris Baguette’s authentic French creations and techniques led it to success there before expanding to China in 2004, Los Angeles in 2005, and New York in 2010. The chain offers breads, pastries, desserts, coffee, and sandwiches. 

Tim Hortons

Nothing short of a behemoth, Tim’s operates nearly 5,000 locations in Canada and more than 800 in the U.S. Its doughnuts and coffee have a major cult following, and with its recent takeover by Burger King we can probably expect to be seeing more of them soon as well. 

YO! Sushi

British entrepreneur Simon Woodroffe opened the first location of YO! Sushi in London’s Soho neighborhood in 1998. Within four years it became the U.K.’s market leader in sushi restaurants. The traditional sushi bar model is a ton of fun: Customers sit alongside a conveyor belt and can grab whatever they want to eat right off of it. Locations have since opened in Washington, D.C. and New York, and the company has recently announced the opening of 50 more U.S. locations soon.

Nando’s Peri Peri

Founded in 1987 in Johannesburg, South Africa, Nando’s specializes in flame-grilled chicken cooked in peri peri sauce, a chile sauce with origins in Mozambique, as well as burgers, salads, wings, and wraps. There are currently 18 locations in the Washington, D.C. area, with more in the works. 

Go Go Curry

The number 55 is a big deal for Go Go Curry, which got its start in Japan’s Ishikawa prefecture and specializes in Japanese curry (fried cutlets of meat covered in a rich curry sauce). The curry reportedly contains 55 ingredients, takes 55 minutes to stew and another 55 to “mature.” It’s named after Ishikawa’s own Hideki Matsui, a left-handed baseball star who rose to fame in Japan, then played seven seasons with the New York Yankees, and whose jersey number was 55. Oh, and “Go Go” translates to 55 in Japanese. There are currently four New York locations and one in Boston.