Consumer Reports Names the Best and Worst Fast-Food Restaurants in America, and the Results are Surprising

Last week we published an article about good, old-fashioned, roadside-style Texas burgers, and in this story, we might have insinuated that there are a lot of crappy fast-food burgers out there. One commenter called us out on it, writing: "I would also argue that McDonald's does not serve a poor excuse for a cheap burger. They serve the gold standard for cheap burgers. The McDouble is a good burger, especially for $1.19."

Well, friend, I'm sorry, but the latest study by Consumer Reports begs to differ.

The online shopping resource conducted a study in which they asked readers to rank fast food meals on a scale of one to ten (ten being the best thing they've ever eaten). According to the report, readers ate "53,745 burger chains' burgers, chicken chains' fried or roasted chicken, Mexican chains' burritos, and sandwich chains' sub -- or heroes, hoagies, grinders, or wedges, depending on where you call home."

In the burger category, McDonalds came in dead last, and not by a narrow margin.

More surprising, though, is the burger category's winner...

...The Habit Burger Grill.

Sorry, what?

Apparently this is a national chain (defined by Consumer Reports as having outposts in six or more states) that started in Santa Barbara in 1969. Only when you look at the list of locations online, it appears the Habit Burger Grill has storefronts in California, Utah and Arizona, exclusively, and one coming soon in New Jersey. So maybe the math is a little off, but what upsets us most is that the closest Habit Burger to Houston is 1001.8 miles away in Tempe, Arizona.

We're also a little perturbed at Whataburger (our state's claim to burger fame) came in at seventh place, after spots like In-N-Out and Five Guys.

As far as sandwiches and subs are concerned, a restaurant called Portillo's Hot Dogs came in first place. The hot dog chain appears to have started in Illinois, home of the Chicago dog. The closest outpost to us here in Houston? Also in Tempe, Arizona, which seems to be some sort of fast food mecca.

Unsurprisingly, Chick-Fil-A came in first in the chicken category, while Chipotle took the top spot for burritos. If locations in three states is enough to be on the list (coughHabitBurgercough) where the heck is Taco Cabana? We have no idea.

This study proves little more than the fact that different people have different tastes, but it is a tad disappointing to see so many California chains unavailable to us Texans on the list.

Oh well. Maybe that just means we have better food in general. Or we spend less time in our cars.

Anyone ever had a Habit Burger? Let us know how it is!

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Kaitlin Steinberg