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We’ll just come right out and say it: sometimes we’re impatient. When your stomach is rumbling with the ferocity of an untamed grizzly, you don’t have time to sit around and wait 20-plus minutes for food to be prepared. It’s all about feeding the beast right now.

Obviously, there are plenty of places you can turn when time is of the essence and you’re lookin’ for some fast-food, but we’ve rounded up some of the lesser known gems. Everyone knows you can’t go wrong with In-N-Out, but these less acclaimed but equally outstanding fast food restaurants are also a great place to quench your hunger.

Broward-Palm Beach

Jack’s Old Fashion Hamburger House

There was a time in this country when fast food meant something other than overprocessed, frozen, globally distributed chunks of sodium (that should probably not be called “food”). The old concept was a brilliant one: fresh, hot food for the working folks who put in long hours and didn’t have…More >>

A classic burger from Jack’s Old Fashion

Dallas

Pollo Campero

You’d be hard pressed to find better fast-food chicken than what they’re serving up in the Dallas branches of this Guatemala-based chain. If you’re used to KFC and Church’s, the pressure-cooked fried chicken is a revelation, from the crispy, nearly greaseless batter to the juicy, tender meat…More >>

Denver

Viva Burrito

Take one Mexican restaurant, add a drive-thru, and what do you get? Another Best of Denver award for Viva Burrito. This spot is a great at virtually any hour of the day — breakfast burritos in the morning, enchiladas in an unbelievably good red chile after work, deep-fried tacos on the way…More >>

Los Angeles

Li’s Wok Express

Strip-mall Chinese joints that charge $1 an entrée might be a thing of the past, but at this San Fernando Valley establishment, a few dollars can go far. Located near Northridge Hospital, Li’s Wok Express serves Chinese fast food. All the usual staples are here, Kung Pao chicken, chow…More >>

Miami

Pepper’s Burrito Grill

We don’t claim burritos, tacos, and the like can be categorized as healthful food; that’s why we call the category Healthful Fast Food. And, yes, compared to cheap, deep-fried birds and the stuff you get at those robber baron burger chains, a soft flour tortilla wrapped around strips of…More >>

Great tacos at Pepper’s Burrito Grill

New York

Saigon Banh Mi Bakery / Ba Xuyen

RobtS: I’ve got to admit that whenever I want some fast food, I get on my bike and pedal to the best banh mi shop in town. SarahDG: Hey, you were just telling me about how dull Vietnamese food had become! RobtS: A real banh mi, untinkered with, is still a joy to behold. Luckily, I don’t often…More >>

Orange County

Royal Donuts

A hamburger combo meal will set you back $6.15 at this aging snackbar-looking joint, but it’ll be the last $6.15 you’ll have to spend for a while. The burger–greasy, generous, hot–is standard independent fast-food fare, and the combo includes a soda and a large order of…More >>

The Chippy Fish & Chips

You’d think it would be easy enough to find a fish-and-chip joint that uses real fish, not that cubed, reformed stuff sold by Sysco. But you’d be wrong. That’s why the Chippy Fish & Chips is special. This fast-food stall, located in a food court a short walk from John Wayne…More >>

Seattle

Lorena’s Tamales at the 9 Pound Hammer

It’s really nothing more than a storage space with a Dutch door for service, but Lorena’s Tamales at the 9 Pound Hammer offers well-spiced, corn-husk-wrapped packages of wholesome goodness. The masa is a blank foil for the spicy chicken mole ($3.50)–the most complex and delicious of the three…More >>

Inside Seattle’s 9 LB Hammer

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