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When coronavirus turned the restaurant industry upside down, diners turned to delivery and takeout from local shops, but also fast food joints. From the time COVID-19 began to rapidly spread in March, one chain, in particular, saw a steady incline in traffic because of its 1950s-style carhop service. Here’s the lowdown on where each state in the contiguous United States is getting greasy eats during the pandemic.
Market research company Top Data analyzed the year over year average percent change in the number of visits experienced by each fast food restaurant chain. This particular data set compares June 2019 to June 2020. Alaska and Hawaii were not included.
Alabama is the easiest state to social distance in, and diners are doing it from the comfort of their car at Sonic.
Arizona is all-in on Sonic, where you can get a Cherry Limeade, a cult-favorite menu item.
It doesn’t take long to grill hot dogs, but if you’re without a barbecue, you can pick them up at Sonic, Arkansas’ No. 1 fast food pick.
California’s fast food joint of choice is McDonald’s, home to one of the most iconic breakfast foods of all time: the Egg McMuffin.
Chick-fil-A is the fast food of choice in Colorado. For those craving a Chicken Biscuit, you better get there before 10:30 a.m, when the chain stops serving breakfast.
The cheeseburger is one of the most iconic foods in Connecticut, and while some local places are closed, residents are flocking to Wendy’s for their fix.
The people of Delaware are disproportionately crazy about french fries, and it looks like many are getting their fill at Chick-fil-A.
Floridians can’t go to Disney right now, but they can go to Chick-fil-A.
Georgia’s preferred fast food for the pandemic is McDonald’s. The chain serves Coca-Cola, which was invented in the Peach State.
Idaho’s favorite fast food restaurant is Sonic. Beyond burgers and dogs, the chain sells french fries — the most-ordered food on Uber Eats amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Illinois loves Wendy’s, which once sold a Premium Lobster & Caviar Sandwich.
The star of the show at Indiana’s favorite fast food restaurant, Chick-fil-A, is fried chicken — one of many dishes you didn’t know you could make in your cast-iron pan.
You won’t find the best tacos in Iowa at Taco Bell, but this state loves the chain nonetheless.
With everyone at the Sonic drive-in, Kansas is looking more like an American summer in the ’50s and ’60s.
The future of social distance dining likely includes patios on sidewalks and in parking lots, but Sonic, Kentucky’s go-to spot, is already set for success in those aspects.
Louisiana is showing up for Popeyes in its home state. The chain’s chicken sandwich is still widely considered one of the best in America.
Mexican food is what Americans were craving in quarantine, and that’s quite evident in Maine, where the fast food of choice is Taco Bell.
Chick-fil-A is Maryland’s go-to fast food spot. It’s also one of the best places to stop for a bite at the food court when they’re back open.
Massachusetts is looking to Taco Bell for burritos, quesadillas and other items inspired by popular Mexican foods.
Michigan quiere Taco Bell. The chain has all the Baja Blast, Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes and Crunchwrap Supremes residents’ hearts desire, but maybe not these Mexican dishes you’ve never heard of.
Instead of making their favorite Mexican dishes at home, Minnesotans are headed down the drive-thru at Taco Bell.
Are hot dogs and burgers sandwiches? Yes, and the people of Mississippi are eating them at Sonic.
Missouri — renowned for its must-try gooey butter cake — is all in on Sonic.
Montana is here for the Baconator, one of the most famous fast food menu items of all time.
While Sonic isn’t the one restaurant in Nebraska you absolutely need to visit, it is the state’s favored fast food chain.
Beyond Ronald McDonald, the Golden Arches birthed the Hamburglar, Grimace and a bunch of iconic fast food mascots. McDonald’s is Nevada’s favorite fast food spot.
Tacos are the best, and New Hampshire is on board with Taco Bell as its favored fast food place.
New Jersey might be eating Taylor ham for breakfast, but when lunch rolls around, people are headed to Wendy’s.
The most romantic adventure in New Mexico is at White Sands National Monument, though some might argue it’s a trip to Sonic.
When they’re not out sampling some of the best pizza in America, New Yorkers looking to get down with greasy eats are excited by what Wendy’s has to offer.
North Carolina’s favorite fast food joint is McDonald’s, famous for its Egg McMuffin among many things. Here’s how to make the beloved menu item in your own kitchen.
When diners in North Dakota are craving a burger and fries or chicken nuggets, they go to McDonald’s.
The most famous person from Ohio was Neil Armstrong. The most famous fast food restaurant in the state right now is Taco Bell.
The top natural wonder in Oklahoma is the Great Salt Plains. Some might say that the top unnatural wonder is Sonic.
Oregon is living mas at Taco Bell. Expert tip: If you get a side of guacamole, here’s how to make it last longer.
You won’t find the best burger in Pennsylvania at McDonald’s, but residents love this fast food restaurant anyway.
On their way to take in the prettiest sights in the state, Rhode Islanders are stopping for grub at McDonald’s.
Take it from South Carolina: Why plan a fancy social distancing date night when you can just take your partner to Sonic?
South Dakota is known for some pretty spectacular views — one being exactly what you see before you bite into a meal at Culver’s.
Tennessee is famous for its love of fried chicken, but you won’t find anything Nashville hot on the menu at its most visited fast food restaurant: Sonic.
Texas is totally with Sonic’s carhop-style service. For added nostalgia, the state is also home to vintage drive-in movie theaters that feel like stepping back in time.
Utah’s preferred fast food restaurant is Wendy’s, known for its fresh, never frozen burgers. You can’t order your beef medium-rare here, but that’s OK — most Americans prefer their meat well-done anyway.
Taco Bell is the No. 1 fast food chain in the family-friendly state of Vermont.
Virginia loves McDonald’s, where you may have noticed the McFlurry spoon’s weird shape. Little did you know, there’s a reason for that.
It takes 10 minutes or less to grill the perfect burger, and about the same to complete a trip down the drive-thru at Wendy’s, Virginia’s favored fast food place.
A Frosty is not the official state food of West Virginia, but Wendy’s is officially the state’s favorite fast food place during a pandemic.
Although the record for most McDonald’s Big Mac burgers eaten in a lifetime goes to Wisconsin resident Donald Gorske, most people in this state prefer Culver’s.
In the snowy state of Wyoming, Wendy’s reigns superior. If you’re playing it cool as a cucumber at home but are missing some of your chain restaurant favorites, get cooking with these fast food copycat recipes for Chipotle, Taco Bell and more.
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