Getty Images; Credit: Bloomberg/Contributor

Anyone that lives in a different place from where they grew up knows the heartbreaking realization that your go-to grocery store or favorite fast food spot does not have locations in your new home. Every region in our country has some true gems that have cult followings and staple menu items that you can't get anywhere else, and we think it's time that these chains spread the wealth nationwide. From burgers to secret sauces to milkshakes, it's time that we let everybody in on the fun.

Arielle Weg
June 16, 2017

Upon learning that Wawa will be expanding into more locations, we couldn't help but to stir with unbridled joy. This all-in-one gas station that originates in the Northeast is branching out slightly south and opening stores in the D.C. area. If you've never been to one, you're going to have to take our word that this is a huge reason to celebrate. 

Let's face it—there is no better feeling than learning that the markets and chains that you grew up loving are finally spreading to unchartered territory so that the rest of the country can understand what makes them so great. With such exciting news at the forefront of our attention, it got us thinking—what are some all time favorite regional food destinations we wish would follow Wawa’s lead and expand cross country?  

Like any discussion about nostalgic, hometown food picks, things got pretty passionate pretty quickly. Here are our picks for the best regional supermarkets, restaurants, and rest stops we wish would go national.

1. Wawa

Nothing quite beats buying a Wawa hoagie, French vanilla coffee, and a F’real milkshake.

2. White Castle

Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle may have made these square sliders famous, but you can get your own burger and fries to recreate the magic.

Watch Now: How to Make the World's Best Burger

3. Friendly’s

This neighborhood ice cream and diner food joint has a warm, family feel and cold ice cream served in old school metal dishes.

4. Bojangles’ Famous Chicken ‘n Biscuits  

You can dive into classic comfort foods of fluffy biscuits and crispy fried chicken all the way down South.

5. Amato’s

Travel to Maine to enjoy these delectable Italian dishes; think masterful sandwiches, delicious pizzas and pastas, and calzones.

6. In-N-Out

No vacation to the West Coast is complete without a visit to the famous burger hub. Chow down on tasty burgers and fries that are social media gold.  

7. Whataburger

The Texas rivalry between Whataburger and In N Out is just too real. Try their burgers and fries to make your call on who makes the better burger. 

James Carrier

8. Carvel

Sure you look forward to the chocolate crunchy bits in your birthday cake every year, but you can only enjoy their killer milkshakes and ice cream by the scoop along the East Coast.

9. Krystal’s

This down South burger joint is like White Castle’s little brother. With similar square burgers, fries, chicken sandwiches, and frosty milkshakes, this chain is a sure winner.

10. Kroger Co.

Kroger supermarkets are one of the greatest supermarket chains in the country, and other brands under the company, like the trendy supermarket Harris Teeter are a great workday lunch spot.

11. Cookout

Barbeque is best down South. But beyond Cookout’s hamburgers, chicken, pork, and hot dogs are a whopping 40 plus flavors of milkshakes with free mix-ins that the whole country deserves to enjoy.

12. Culvers

Diners in the Midwest and Southeast can’t get Culver’s frozen custard and butterburgers out of their minds.

13. Piggly Wiggly

If the hysterical name itself doesn’t get you through the door, then we're not sure what will.

14. Publix

You’ll never throw shade at the deli counter of your local grocery store again after you’ve had your first Pub Sub. Publix is more than just a grocery store; it’s a way of life.

15. Wegman’s

The staff are the friendliest in the business, the choices are fresh; plus you can grab your groceries and stay for dinner!

16. Winn Dixie

#WINNing, amiright?

17. Stop N Shop

Stop N Shop is the grocery go-to of the Northeast, but head to the Mid Atlantic to get a taste of its identical twin sister store, Giant.

18. Cava

This Mediterranean-inspired fast casual restaurant lets you design your own pita sandwiches, rice bowls, and salads with fresh flavors and unbelievable dips, and that, my friends, is a beautiful thing.

19. Zaxby’s

Zaxby’s is famous for chicken sandwiches, Buffalo wings, and chicken fingers, but be sure to try their “plates”, which include dips, fries, toast, and chicken.

20. Waffle House

Rochelle Bilow

When it’s the middle of the night and you’re driving cross-country, where else would you stop other than the well known Waffle House?

21. Shake Shack

If you’ve never enjoyed a shackburger in shacksauce or dipped their crinkle cut fries in their frozen custard shake, you’re missing out.

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