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Ahhhh, picture maps. They’re all the Internet rage these days.
Luckily for those of us who’ve passed the fifth grade in the American education system, we know how to read them. This is a good thing, because they’re a great tool to convey important facts and information that often prove helpful in aiding our society’s progress.
Case and point? This Red, White & Food map compiled by the people over at Thrillist. I mean, how else would we settle the debate over what burger chain reigns supreme, what pizza shop can say it dominates a certain geographic area, or what kind of fried chicken the South really does thrive on? We couldn’t…before now.
Feast your eyes on it, folks.
Now, I know you Floridians are asking, “What the hell was the criteria here? I hate Burger King, and the mascot is creepy as anything!” And I’m thinking, “What the fuck is a Space Aliens? I didn’t even know there were fast food chains in North Dakota.”
Well, it turns out the rationale behind the map, while not being purely scientific fact, is actually pretty historically based.
Alabama: The first Checkers opened in Mobile in 1986.
Alaska: The Great Alaskan Pizza Company has 11 locations and a bear logo. Enough said.
Arizona: Cold Stone Creamery started in Tempe and is headquartered in Scottsdale. And it’s hot there. They need ice cream.
Arkansas: Slim Chickens was founded in 2003 in Fayetteville and has grown to 10 locations.
California: The Cali competition was tough (hello, Taco Bell) but few chains are more synonymous with a state than In-N-Out is with California.
Colorado: Apologies to Quiznos, but Denver-founded Chipotle has you beat.
Connecticut: Subway was founded in Bridgeport and headquartered in Milford.
Delaware: Wings To Go started on the Dover Air Force base before expanding to more than 80 nationwide locations.
Florida: Apologies to Hooters and Red Lobster, but Jacksonville-based Burger King reigns.
Georgia: Another tough state, but in the end Chick-fil-A edged out late night staple that is Waffle House.
Hawaii: Zippy’s, the 24-hour mix of Hawaiian, Asian, and mainland American eats, is everywhere on Oahu.
Idaho: Yes, there’s a slightly more famous coffee chain in neighboring Washington, but Boise-based Moxie Java is moving up with 26 locations in six states.
Illinois: Technically the first ever McDonald’s was in California, but Ray Kroc made it what it is today, and the mega chain remains based just outside Chicago.
Indiana: Steak ‘n Shake actually started in neighboring Illinois, but is now headquartered in Indianapolis.
Iowa: Maid-Rite boasts more than 70 locations for loose meat sandwiches after starting in Iowa in 1926.
Kansas: White Castle actually started in Wichita, but Kansas no longer has any. No worries, though, because Pizza Hut also started there.
Kentucky: KFC requires no explanation.
Louisiana: Popeye’s shouldn’t require much, either.
Maine: Just mention Gifford’s ice cream to a Mainer and see what happens.
Maryland: Jerry’s Subs & Pizza was founded and remains based in Maryland, with more than 140 locations.
Massachusetts: Go to Massachusetts and try not to end up in a Dunkin’ Donuts at some point.
Michigan: Domino’s Pizza started in Ypsilanti and it’s headquartered in Ann Arbor.
Minnesota: The first Dairy Queen opened in Illinois, but it’s now based in Minneapolis.
Mississippi: Founded in 1983, Bumpers Drive-In now has 26 locations–all in Mississippi.
Missouri: Did you know Panera Bread started out as The St. Louis Bread Co.?
Montana: Okay, so Ted’s Montana Grill wasn’t founded in Montana, and it isn’t headquartered there, either–but it’s in the name, there’s a picture of a buffalo, and one finally opened there.
Nebraska: Herman Cain’s former employer, Godfather’s Pizza, was founded and remains based in Omaha.
Nevada: You can drink AND gamble at PT’s Pub locations around the Vegas area.
New Hampshire: Moe’s Italian Sandwiches’ 13 locations are all in the Granite State.
New Jersey: Blimpie got its start in Hoboken in 1964.
New Mexico: Blake’s Lotaburger started and remains headquartered in Albuquerque, having grown to 76 locations since 1953.
New York: Sbarro started in Brooklyn and remains New York-based to this day.
North Carolina: Bojangles started slinging chicken and biscuits in 1977 in Charlotte, where it maintains its headquarters today.
North Dakota: Space Aliens Grill & Bar only has four locations, but…well, it’s North Dakota.
Ohio: Wendy’s got her start in Columbus, and she’s still based there.
Oklahoma: The name “Sonic” first appeared on a group of Oklahoma drive-ins in 1959, and the company maintains a headquarters in Oklahoma City.
Oregon: The origins of Papa Murphy’s are split between Oregon and California, but its very beginnings came with Papa Aldo’s of Hillsboro.
Pennsylvania: Auntie Anne’s path to being a global pretzel powerhouse started as a farmers’ market stand in Downington, and it remains based in Lancaster.
Rhode Island: The hardest spot to make out on the map is Del’s Frozen Lemonade, which now reaches 36 states, but started in Cranston.
South Carolina: Denny’s has its origins in California, but it’s now based in Spartanburg.
South Dakota: The Millstone is a family restaurant with three South Dakota locations. Come on, Dakotas.
Tennessee: Krystal has been headquartered in Chattanooga since starting there in 1932.
Texas: Lone Star competition was stiff, but there’s no denying Corpus Christi-founded Whataburger is the winner.
Utah: Prevalent throughout the West, Arctic Circle started in Salt Lake City in 1950 and remains Utah-based.
Vermont: Ben & Jerry’s didn’t have much competition here.
Virginia: Five Guys has grown like crazy since starting in Arlington County in 1986.
Washington: If you’re ever there, you should check out this quaint coffee joint called Starbucks.
West Virginia: Gino’s Pizza & Spaghetti is everywhere here, with 40 locations.
Wisconsin: Of course Culver’s, a chain known for butterburgers and frozen custard, would call Wisconsin home.
Wyoming: There are more than 400 Taco John’s locations. The company started in Cheyenne in 1969.
I’m sure there will be some heated debate about this one, but I’m proud to call Auntie Anne’s a Pennsylvania staple. Those delicious, expensive pretzels will always hold a special place in my heart, reminding me of trips to the mall with my mom when I was, like, six.