Special Report

The Most Iconic Items at America’s Biggest Fast Food Chains

Source: Courtesy of Arby's

> Classic Roast Beef

Arby’s has experimented with venison sandwiches, and it offers a wide range of chicken, turkey, and pork options. The chain made its reputation with roast beef, though, and while it now offers such variations as Smokehouse Brisket, French Dip & Swiss, and Corned Beef Reuben, it’s the good old original Classic Roast Beef, with thin-sliced meat piled on a toasted sesame bun with ketchupy Arby’s Sauce or the horseradish-flavored Horsey Sauce, that continues to define the place.

Source: Courtesy of Jack in the Box

Jack in the Box
> Two Tacos

Some people think of Jack in the Box as a hamburger chain, but it’s the chain’s tacos – two to a serving – that are the most often-ordered item on the menu. Several years ago, the Wall Street Journal reported that Americans order 554 million of them a year. They’re not dissimilar to the hard-shell tacos at Taco Bell but are made with sliced American cheese instead of shredded cheddar, and they come with the taco sauce already added.

Source: Courtesy of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen
> Classic Chicken Sandwich

Popeyes turned the fast food world upside down in the summer of 2019 when it introduced its chicken sandwich – a thick chunk of white meat in crunchy buttermilk batter, served on a brioche bun with pickles and regular or spicy mayo. The item’s introduction launched the so-called chicken sandwich wars with Chick-fil-A and other competitors and spawned countless imitations, and the sandwich remains so popular that there are sometimes temporary shortages.

Source: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images News via Getty Images

> Original Recipe chicken

Fast-food menus constantly evolve to match consumer tastes and health concerns. Sometimes, though, the original is best. You could certainly order chicken tenders or chicken pot pie or (ahem, Popeyes) a chicken sandwich here – but why would you? It’s the Original Recipe chicken, seasoned with that famous “secret blend of 11 herbs & spices” that made the chain world-famous, and that remains at the heart of its business.

Source: Courtesy of Dairy Queen / Facebook

Dairy Queen
> Blizzard Treats

Sure, there are burgers, dogs, and chicken sandwiches here, but the “Dairy” part of the chain’s name is key. Its emblematic specialty is undeniably its array of “upsidedownright thick” Blizzard Treats (or simply Blizzards), introduced in 1985. These are dense concoctions of soft-serve ice cream in different varieties, loaded with pieces of various candies, baked goods, and/or miscellaneous sundae toppings. They are indeed so thick that they won’t flow out of the cup when turned upside down.

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