Phantom Gourmet: Great 8 Fast Food Restaurants
Who says fast food can’t be fresh, cooked with care, and incredibly tasty? Phantom picks the eight greatest places to get great food quick. Only the best make it to the Great 8.
Chicken Connection, Haverhill & Plaistow
Kicking off the Great 8 is the Chicken Connection in Haverhill, Massachusetts and Plaistow, New Hampshire. Here, poultry is king with crispy fried chicken, seasoned just right, and juicy rotisserie birds cooked perfectly. But nothing beats the Chicken Connection’s selection of sides. With 14 to choose from, you can have everything from stuffing and mac and cheese to butternut squash and mashed potatoes.
“Not many people make their own mashed potatoes, but that’s one of our things. For 22 years we’ve always made our own mashed potatoes. There’s a big difference. You know when you have a bite of real mashed potatoes.”
Wahlburgers in the Hingham Shipyard is the brainchild of Chef Paul Wahlburg and his famous brothers, Mark and Donnie. Their all-natural burgers are griddled on the flat-top, and served up with lettuce, tomato, and homemade pickles, on a fresh baked roll. Plus, there are three specialty burgers, one for each brother. If you look closely, you’ll see that the toppings are actually on the bottom, so you get all the right stuff in every mouthful.
“What we do is we stack all of the condiments on the lower part of the bread, and then put the burger on top because when you bite into it, you taste the components and the burger at the same time.”
The Feisty Greek, Norwood
Another Great 8 winner is The Feisty Greek in Norwood. This family-run eatery serves Greek food whether you’re on the go, or want to eat in n their big comfortable dining room. They offer all of the classics like Pastitsio, spanakopita and a variety of kabobs. But the signature dish is the gyro, a Greek street food sandwich made with fresh-shaved marinated pork, tomatoes, onions, and cucumber yogurt spread, wrapped inside warm, fluffy pita bread, with a little fried surprise inside: French fries.
“The French fries just give it a little bit different texture. The gyro itself is salty, the tzatziki is the cream part to it, and the French fries give it a little bit of crunch.”
You don’t know good fries, if you don’t know UBURGER. This mini fast food chain with three Boston locations stands out for their made-from-scratch, made to order menu. There are crispy onion rings, creamy shakes, West Coast style griddled burgers, and absolutely no heat lamps allowed. UBURGER’s shoestring fries are hand cut, fried gorgeously golden, piled high, and underpriced, for well under 3 bucks.
Burger Boys, Lincoln, RI
Burger Boys in Lincoln, Rhode Island is part Five Guys, part Johnny Rockets, and all good. The 50s themed dining room features red and white tiles, vinyl booths, and a neon soaked counter complete with swivel stools, while the kitchen turns out old fashioned burgers that all cost the same – no matter what you add to them.
“You can get as many toppings as you want: mayonnaise, lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup, mustard, relish, chopped onions, sliced onions, grilled onions, sautéed mushrooms, jalapeno peppers, green peppers, of course pickles, A1 sauce, the honey mustard, barbecue. No cost for any of that. Just put whatever you want on it.”
Otto Pizza, Greater Boston & Southern Maine
Another great 8 winner is Otto Pizza. With four locations in Greater Boston and three in Southern Maine, Otto offers 24 signature pizzas. They are all cycled throughout the day, so you can always try a slice of something new. There’s Pulled Pork and mango; mashed potato and bacon; even apple, bacon, and red onion. But the biggest head-turner is the Three-Cheese Tortellini Pizza, which believe it or not, is incredibly flavorful and remarkably light.
“Pasta on a pizza. It is a ricotta-filled pasta and it stays moist. It’s very tasty and there’s just the right amount on the pizza. It doesn’t get overly starchy.”
Sandwich Hut, Providence, RI
The Sandwich Hut in Providence has been run by the Kammerer family since 1963. After decades of slicing, stacking, and serving, they still take each and every sub seriously. The meatball sub is an overloaded feast, and the Allitatlia sandwich filled with top quality Italian meats and cheeses is more than a mouthful.
“It’s a big sandwich. If you get a large AllItalia that’s two meals of your day.”
Uncle David’s, Whitman
Rounding out the Great 8 is Uncle David’s in Whitman. At first glance, this may look like a typical small town sub shop. But once you sink your teeth into one of their hearty sandwiches, crispy pizzas, or juicy burgers, you’ll know that this is way beyond any ordinary Mom and Pop.
That’s because they kitchen likes to get creative, with dishes like Asian Pork Burger spiked with ginger, grilled onions and Chinese Cabbage. And while first time customers are usually confused by the Goober Burger, Uncle David swears it’s sensational.
“They see it on the menu and they look at it and are like MAYONNAISE? PEANUT BUTTER? REALLY? And I say – ‘you have to try it’.”
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