Infographic: The first locations of 50 American fast food chains

We found one for all 50 states. Almost. Sorry, South Dakota.

The new movie The Founder got us thinking about fast food history. Though, as loyal readers of MeTV.com will know, our minds often wander to bygone fast food.

The film details the earliest days of McDonald's, which began as a brilliantly modernized but humble burger stand in southern California. Unsurprisingly, the Golden State is the birthplace of many beloved fast food chains, from Taco Bell to Jack in the Box. We wondered if we could find one notable fast food chain for each of the 50 states.

Turns out, yes. Well, just about. Try as we might, we could not find a significant fast food company that can trace its first location back to South Dakota.

Some of these results are widely known, some are regional, some are hyper-regional, and some are chains that saw their heyday decades ago. There were several options in some states, in which cases we tried to pick the most widespread — or our favorite. Like we said, we like talking about fast food of the past.

Graphic: Jeannine Riske

Here is the full list in text.

  • Alabama – Checkers
  • Alaska – Great Alaska Pizza Co.
  • Arizona – Cold Stone Creamery
  • Arkansas – TCBY
  • California – McDonald's
  • Colorado – Chipotle
  • Connecticut – Subway
  • Delaware – Capriotti’s
  • Florida – Burger King
  • Georgia – Chick-Fil-A
  • Hawaii – Zippy's
  • Idaho – Red Steer
  • Illinois – Jimmy John's  
  • Indiana – Burger Chef
  • Iowa – Maid-Rite
  • Kansas – White Castle
  • Kentucky – Long John Silver’s
  • Louisiana – Popeyes
  • Maine – Amato’s, Wild Willy's
  • Maryland - Ledo Pizza
  • Massachusetts – Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Michigan – Domino’s
  • Minnesota – Caribou Coffee
  • Mississippi – Backyard Burgers
  • Missouri – Panera, a.k.a. St. Louis Bread Co.
  • Montana – The Pickle Barrel
  • Nebraska – Runza
  • Nevada – Don Tortaco
  • New Hampshire – Moe's Italian Sandwiches
  • New Jersey – Blimpie
  • New Mexico - Blake’s Lotaburgers
  • New York – Shake Shack
  • North Carolina – Hardee's
  • North Dakota – Burger Time
  • Ohio – Wendy’s
  • Oklahoma – Sonic
  • Oregon – Taco Time
  • Pennsylvania – Auntie Anne's Pretzels
  • Rhode Island - Del’s Frozen Lemonade
  • South Carolina – Rush’s
  • South Dakota – ???????
  • Tennessee – Krystal
  • Texas – Whataburger
  • Utah – Arctic Circle
  • Vermont – Ben & Jerry’s
  • Virginia – Five Guys
  • Washington – Starbucks
  • Washington, D.C. — Taylor Gourmet
  • West Virginia – Tudor’s Biscuit World
  • Wisconsin – Culver’s
  • Wyoming – Taco John’s

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