Fast Food With Tater Tots

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Fast Food With Tater Tots. Tater Tots: the underrated, often forgotten about, but always delicious side that you can get for just a dollar at any fast food place. Nobody cares what kind of vegetable it is, just eat it. It’s time we give them the respect they deserve.

Fast Food With Tater Tots

At this point, “fast food” and “French fries” are practically synonymous. And far be it from us to downplay the crispy, salty deliciousness of this American staple, especially if those fries are from Shake Shack. Many of us have our fast-food order down pat and can recite it like a pro without looking at a menu, which is probably why so many fast-food sides don’t get the attention and love they deserve. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that some of these dishes are even available at the nation’s beloved chains.

From mozzarella sticks to yogurt parfaits, these are all of the fast-food sides that you should definitely give a try. After all, no matter how much you love fries, it can never hurt to mix things up once in a while. You might even discover a brand new go-to side dish. (And if you’re looking for more food discoveries, check out the 15 Classic American Desserts That Deserve a Comeback.)

Wendy’s Baked Potato

wendy's menu baked potato
Courtesy of Wendys

Fun fact: Wendy’s is the only fast-food chain that serves baked potatoes. They clearly take this responsibility very seriously, because the 11.5-ounce spuds sold at Wendy’s are seriously delicious.

The potatoes themselves are high-quality, and the topping options are the stuff of dreams. You can load up your potato with bacon, cheese, broccoli, chili, and chives and it can easily become a meal of its own.

Popeyes Red Beans and Rice

bowl of popeyes red beans and rice side dish
Courtesy of Popeyes

Add a taste of Louisiana to your meal with the seasoned rice and beans from Popeyes. Full of flavor, these beans are an option you won’t find at most fast-food restaurants.

We’re also fans of Popeyes mac and cheese, though it’s currently only available at some franchise locations of the chain. Even the late Anthony Bourdain loved this Popeyes dish.

Chick-fil-A Greek Yogurt Parfait

Chick fil a greek yogurt parfait granola
Courtesy of Chick-fil-A

Chick-Fil-A is best-known for its chicken sandwich and waffle fries, but if you’re in the mood for something lighter, you can’t go wrong with the Greek yogurt parfait. Topped with berries and your choice of granola or cookie crumbs, it’ll definitely satisfy your sweet tooth.

Pizza Hut Breadsticks

Pizza hut breadsticks
Pizza Hut/Facebook

Real talk: Pizza Hut’s pizza is… not that great. But you’ll be doing yourself a serious disservice if you write off this chain before sampling the breadsticks. They’re topped with just the right amount of garlic and parmesan, and don’t forget the marinara sauce—it’s a key component to the overall flavor of this savory side dish. If going to Pizza Hut to order multiple sides of breadsticks is wrong, we don’t want to be right.

Sonic Chili Cheese Tater Tots

chili cheese tater tots from sonic
Courtesy of Sonic

In case you needed additional proof that fries are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to potato-based side dishes, Sonic’s chili cheese tater tots are here to drive home the point in the tastiest way possible. In addition to chili and cheese, the tots come smothered with onions, pickled jalapenos, and ranch dressing. Honestly, we’re starving just thinking about it.

Arby’s Mozzarella Sticks

mozzarella sticks with marinara from arbys
Courtesy of Arbys

Arby’s mozzarella sticks are battered and fried to the perfect amount of crispiness, and we all know that texture is what makes or breaks a mozzarella stick. The cheese filling is just the right amount of stretchy, and it basically melts in your mouth. Don’t forget the marinara sauce for dipping!

Dunkin’ Hash Browns

dunkin hashbrowns
Courtesy of Dunkin’

The hash browns at Dunkin’ are made with a super-secret seasoning blend that includes sage, garlic, parsley, and other flavors that shall forever remain a mystery to those of us without access to the recipe. Although they were originally meant to be paired with a breakfast sandwich, feel free to be a rebel and get them to accompany your donuts. After all, sometimes you just need a mix of sweet and savory breakfast treats. Bless Dunkin’ for offering both.

White Castle Chicken Rings

white castle chicken rings
Courtesy of White Castle

We’ll admit that the phrase “chicken rings” doesn’t necessarily evoke the same mouth-watering reaction as “onion rings.” But we changed our tune when we sampled this White Castle side dish. It’s the perfect substitute for those of us who love fried chicken but have always dreamed of eating it in the form of an onion ring. (OK, that’s a very specific dream, and frankly, we weren’t creative enough to think of it ourselves. That’s why we’re forever grateful to White Castle for putting chicken rings on the culinary map.)

Taco Bell Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes

taco bell cheesy fiesta potatoes
Courtesy of Taco Bell

They say money can’t buy happiness, but the money we spent on Taco Bell’s cheesy fiesta potatoes definitely made us question that assertion. The basic dish is fairly simple: potatoes, nacho cheese sauce, and sour cream. If you’re willing to pay a few extra bucks, there are toppings galore—guacamole, creamy jalapeno sauce, beans, rice, and meats are some of the most popular options. After having to say goodbye to this item for a bit before its return to menus, we’ve come to love and appreciate the side dish even more.

The Best Side at Every Major Fast-Food Chain

“You want fries with that?” It’s become part of the American lexicon at this point, so much so that we usually just nod and say yes, zombified by hunger and routine. And as a result, we’re being sold short on the next-level fast-food sides lurking beneath the starch. Nobody, after all, ever says “You want cheese sticks with that?” Well, no more. Here are the very best sides at most major chain restaurants. Surprisingly, you won’t find very many fries on it.

Arby's mozzarella sticks

Arby’s mozzarella sticks | Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Arby’s: Mozzarella sticks

You thought we were going to say curly fries, didn’t you? Well, if it was a few years ago, you’d be right. Except Arby’s has the best damned mozz sticks in the fast-food game (also, Arby’s might low-key be fast food’s biggest and best innovator). We’d put them up against any dive bar’s take, because they’re probably from the same generic frozen-food emporium. And they’re perfect. Even better, you usually get a couple curly fries in the box by mistake. It’s a win-win.

A&W Cheese curds

A&W Restaurants

A&W: Cheese curds

This is the first time you’ll see cheese curds on this list, but not the last. Because they’re the perfect, and probably most underrated (outside Wisconsin) side there is: They’re squeaky. They’re salty as hell. And they’re crunchy. It’s basically a poppable mozzarella stick, and they’re perfect pretty much every time, and pair wonderfully with root beer.

Burger King onion rings

Burger King onion rings | Steven Depolo/Flickr

Burger King: Onion rings

Burger King, benevolent ruler that he is, has chicken nuggets listed as a side. And while we appreciate this vision of a pressed-meat utopia, we just haven’t reached an era where we’ll accept the idea of a nugget as a side dish. Instead, we’re going to name the onion rings as the King’s crown jewel, mostly because you don’t see onion rings on nearly enough fast-food menus, and we’re willing to look past the overly thick breading. But we’re definitely making that call while eating a box of chicken nuggets and calling them dessert.

Carl's Jr. fries

Flickr/Alejandro C

Carl’s Jr.: Crisscut Fries

Props to Carl’s for including batter-dipped, deep-fried zucchinis on the menu and giving a loophole to every smartass kid arguing with his or her mom about eating vegetables. But these seasoned waffle fries are too good to sacrifice for anything green. And hey, potatoes are kind of vegetables too, right?

Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Chick-fil-A: Waffle fries

If waffle fries have taught us anything, it’s that everything tastes better in waffle form. Everything.

Chipotle Guac

Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Chipotle: Chips & guac

Everybody has a friend who complains about guac being extra at Chipotle. Well, tell that friend they should be eating alone if they complain about trivial shit like paying for products at restaurants. Or advise them to get more bang for their buck by ordering chips & guac as a side, saving a little of the green stuff for their burrito, and then enjoying the rest as a dip. Probably alone. Nobody likes a whiner.

Church's Chicken

Church’s Chicken

Church’s Chicken: Honey Butter Biscuits

The vastly overlooked southern comfort chain rolls deep with a roster of sides just like grandma used to make, if your grandmother was a gigantic fried-chicken chain. The lineup includes standards like crinkle-cut fries and mashed potatoes, but where it gets unexpected (for fast food, anyway) is with seemingly home-cooked offerings like a baked mac & cheese (complete with slightly burned cheddar up top), fried okra, spicy rice, green beans, and corn two ways: on the cob or in little deep-fried creamed corn nuggets. Still, a southern plate’s only as good as its biscuit, and Church’s famous Honey Butter Biscuits manage a balance between sweet, savory, and salty that pairs up with anything on this surprisingly thick menu. Even better, they’re great if you decide to stuff a couple chicken fingers in there for a makeshift sandwich. 

Culver's cheese curds

Culver’s

Culver’s: Cheese curds

Everything we said about A&W at the top of this article. But about 38x more enthusiastically. Because Culver’s basically tastes like Wisconsin in a bag — a bag stained with excess butter. Culver’s keeps expanding. And as it does, so do those who are lucky enough to live in its orbit. Such is the power of Butterburgers and, arguably, the best side in all of fast-fooddom.

 

Del Taco potato poppers

Del Taco

Del Taco: Cheddar potato poppers

These can be best described as the Mexicanish cousin of Arby’s (underrated) potato cakes, but with added cheese and jalapeno chunks. And yes, that’s a delicious combo.

Dunkin' breakfast

Dan Gentile/Thrillist

Dunkin’: Hash browns

Why Dunkin’ won’t just call these “flat tots” or “crispy crowns” is just another weirdness in its long lineage of confounding semantic decisions that we can’t really care too much about, largely because our brain power has been drained as a direct result of pairing these “hash browns” with miniature donuts.

Five Guys double burger, soft drink, ketchup and cup of fries

Flickr/PROHåkan Dahlström

Five Guys: Fries

There’s an old adage that we just made up: “If you’re only gonna have one side at a burger place, it had better be damn good.” Obviously, this isn’t true, because In-N-Out continues to operate deep fryers. But at Five Guys, the fries are pretty great: Hand cut, salty, and served in paper bags that don’t stand a chance. Sure, you might trip over a bag of potatoes en route to order them, but that’s a small price to pay.

Hardee's fries

Flickr/Steve Petrucelli

Hardee’s: Crispy Curls

There’s a lot of confusion about the difference between Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s. It’s honestly a little confusing. But the most important thing to remember is that Hardee’s has these on-point seasoned curly fries. And ham sandwiches. But honestly, the Crispy Curls are the things that matter most. 

In-N-Out Animal Fries

Cole Saladino/Thrillist

In-N-Out: Animal-style fries

Yeah, the fries at In-N-Out are terrible. They’re limp, unless you have the foresight to order them “well done,” in which case they’re burnt. But hey, you could probably drizzle secret sauce, caramelized onions, and cheese on an old bandage and it would be pretty good. And since you can’t just order a cup of that stuff, this will have to do. (Side note: In-N-Out should introduce a new item called Animal Parfait that’s just a cup of sauce and onions.)

The Most Popular Menu Items at Sonic Drive-In

Try the best food and drinks at Sonic

Spend any amount of time on the highways throughout the United States and you will see countless fast-food restaurants along your way. Whether it’s McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, or Subway, they are usually packed with hungry travelers, at all times of the day.

sonic menu items, drinks, tots

One popular fast-food joint is Sonic Drive-In. The best Sonic menu items range from creative milkshakes to deep fried favorites.

With so much to choose from, we wanted to make it easier for you the next time you head to Sonic Drive-In.

That is why we have compiled a list of the most popular Sonic Drive-In menu items.

And, surprisingly, the most popular meals here are not necessarily the best items on the menu.

So, let’s find out more so you can get that order in on your next road trip.

The Cherry Limeade 

Perhaps the most famous food item that Sonic Drive-In is famous for is the cherry limeade.

Okay, in truth, this is a drink but it’s just so delicious, we couldn’t leave it off of our list. 

This cherry limeade is just one of Sonic’s seemingly unlimited supply of beverage options. You can choose drinks from sodas, teas, slushes, lemonades, limeades, and water with an almost endless list of mix-in options and varying flavors. 

However, out of all these drinks, the cherry limeade reigns supreme. This drink has the perfect combination of sweet and tangy.

If you’re on a long summer’s drive and in need of the best possible refreshment, then this is the drink for you. To be honest, it’s ideal for any time of the year!

Even Sonic’s official website describes the cherry limeade as “iconic.” And, it’s hard to argue. Made with freshly squeezed lime juice along with a cherry flavoring to satisfy any taste buds, this is then poured over Sonic’s famous nugget ice.

Non-alcoholic, this is the perfect drink to drive along and keep you hydrated. There is also a diet version if you’re counting the calories.


Mozzarella Sticks

Okay, as we promised, let’s look at Sonic Drive-In’s food options. Our favorite, and many others too, is their mozzarella cheese sticks. 

More of a snack, these sticks are extremely delicious but they do come in a variety of sizes to suit your level of hunger. They also come with a packet of marinara sauce to add a little extra flavor as you dip your sticks in.

You could opt for the ranch dressing, too. These are a great alternative to the marinara sauce but we recommend trying both separately to see which one you prefer.

There is nothing magical about these mozzarella sticks. As Sonic’s menu states, these are “crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside.” Just what you would expect from your standard mozzarella stick.

However, we believe this is underselling the tasty sticks. Even MyRecipes rated Sonic Drive-In’s mozzarella sticks as the best around.

MyRecipes claims “the cheese can stretch for miles (we exaggerate), but you’ll satisfy your cheese pull itch most certainly. You don’t even need the marinara sauce.” (But, we highly recommend getting the marinara sauce!)

While there is an abundance of snacks to choose from at Sonic Drive-In, we suggest trying the mozzarella sticks first. We wouldn’t be surprised if you kept going back for more. 


The Sonic Blast 

If you’re in the mood for a sweet treat, then the Sonic Blast is a delicious option.

You can choose from a variety of slushie flavor options as well as milkshakes, hot fudge sundaes, and vanilla cones. If you’re a dessert person, you will be in heaven at Sonic Drive-In with a huge variety to choose from. 

While there are a lot of options, the jewel in the crown has to be the Sonic Blasts. These are like the dairy Queen Blizzard but Sonic’s unique version.

Rich and creamy vanilla ice cream are swirled magnificently with your personal choice of cookie or candy toppings to finish it off.

Just head to Sonic’s review sections and you’ll see countless positive remarks on their desserts. One actually describes the Sonic Blast as “one of America’s favorite ice cream choices.”

With every spoonful, you are likely to enjoy a bite of candy. And there is a large blend of candy to enjoy! Also, don’t be afraid to customize your Sonic Blast as you can try something different every time you head to Sonic Drive-In. 


The Soft Pretzel Twist

Many of us live busy lives. It can be hard to find time in the day to sit down and enjoy a meal for a half-hour or so.

If you’re too busy running errands for a large meal, then a snack will at least fill your belly for the time being. Luckily, Sonic Drive-In has your needs covered with an array of snacks that are perfect for on-the-go individuals.

While you can try the classics such as corn dogs and tater tarts, we highly recommend trying Sonic’s Soft Pretzel Twist. Unsurprisingly, reviews online glorify this simple yet delectable snack. 

We all love a warm, soft pretzel, right? But, we bet you have never tried one like Sonic’s. They are the perfect size to satisfy your hunger and cravings but not fill you up completely.

Furthermore, they are usually cooked to perfection with a soft, fluffy inside and a slightly crispy outer layer. 

Topped with large flakes of salt for an additional zing and tanginess, the magic happens when you dip the pretzel in the accompanying cheese sauce.

If you ever want a simple but fulfilling snack, head to Sonic Drive-In and try these pretzels. You will not regret it. 


Onion Rings 

You can probably guess by now that Sonic Drive-In specializes in snacks rather than whole meals.

But that’s not to say their snacks will not satisfy your cravings. It’s simply what Sonic does best – snacks and side dishes. Oh, and slushies. And, desserts. 

One snack they excel in is their onion rings. Whether you eat these as a standalone snack or add them to a main meal such as a hamburger, Sonic’s onion rings are perfect. 

But, what makes these humble onion rings so special? Well, former Sonic employees have reported that an employee will have a specific duty to slice fresh onions and hand-bread them in Sonic’s special batter.

This means the onion rings are ultra-fresh and, of course, supremely delicious. 

This secret batter recipe includes a tinge of sweetness and vanilla. Why? Because the onion rings are simply dipped in vanilla ice cream. While this sounds very odd, it definitely works and it’s certainly making us hungry here at Restaurant Clicks. 


Tater Tots 

There’s no surprise that Sonic Drive-In’s Tater Tots makes an appearance on our list.

While Sonic’s French fries are tasty but not the best around, you may think that the tater tots are not all that. But, they really are all that

Even a self-confessed tater-tot lover ranked Sonic’s tater tots as the best they have ever eaten in their lives. For someone whose life revolves around tater tots, that’s a pretty impressive feat to conquer. But, we are not surprised by such glowing reviews.

Sonic’s tater tots are the perfect blend of salty, crunchiness on the inside with smooth, and soft goodness on the inside. And, whatever sauce you choose, they will go very well with it. 

You can order the tater tots with chili and cheese but they are just as good on their own. We suggest keeping the chili cheese (which is also excellent) back for French fries to give them that extra boost of flavor. 

After trying Sonic’s tater tots, you may swap French fries out for them when you order a hamburger or hot dog next. As a snack or a side dish, the tater tots at Sonic Drive-In are a dream come true. 


Ched ‘R’ Peppers

As we mentioned, Sonic Drive-In is not famous for its French

However, it doesn’t need to be when they have so many other great snacks on their menu. One snack that will grab your attention is the Ched ‘R’ Peppers. Talk about a game-changing food item to take your breath away. 

Not all of us enjoy spicy snacks but we reckon you should try these out, at least once. You never know until you try!

These peppers are half loaded with jalapeno and jam-packed with cheddar cheese. They are encompassed by a deep-fried crispy coating and are exquisite when dipped in ranch dressing. 

Yes, they are certainly not healthy (probably one of the unhealthiest items on Sonic Drive-In’s menu) but, when it comes to a sizzling taste, you can’t beat the Ched ‘R’ Peppers.

And don’t be put off by the jalapenos. All of the seeds are removed by Sonic staff meaning they are virtually spiceless. 

What they lack in spice they make up for in flavor, however! Moreover, the Ched ‘R’ Peppers are one of the cheaper side dishes on the menu at Sonic Drive-In but can still fill you up nicely.


Corn Dog 

We know many of you are corn dog lovers so we had to include Sonic’s delicious version on our list today. When you compare these corn dogs with others around, they are pretty hard to beat. 

Just reading the description of Sonic’s corn dogs on their website is enough to leave you drooling. “A delicious beef hot dog wrapped in sweet corn batter and fried to a crispy golden-brown.” Okay, we are hungry now!

As with most things Sonic, their perfection often stems from simplicity. We mean, these are just your regular corn dogs but they are in another league.

Furthermore, they are very cheap at most Sonic locations and many frequently have deals on offer where the corn dogs go for half price. 

But, what makes these corn dogs stand out from the rest? Well, we just need to read online reviews once again.

One satisfied customer wrote that the corn dogs are “a heavenly union of deep-fried sweetcorn bread wrapped around a salty wiener.” If that doesn’t sell them to you, we don’t know what will.

And, you don’t need mustard or ketchup with these corn dogs. They are simply perfect without. 


Burgers 

Where would a fast-food menu be without burgers? Well, it just wouldn’t be fast-food!

Not many food items satisfy our cravings like a good, juicy burger. Whether you want a classic hamburger or something with more of a twist like a Bacon Double Cheeseburger, Sonic have you covered.

The burgers here are surprisingly delicious and, even better, most come at a relatively low price. Some have even gone as far as to say that the burgers at Sonic Drive-Ins are superior to Burger King’s. And, yet again, we tend to agree.

While the burgers may not be made from Wagyu beef or contain restaurant-quality additions such as truffles, etc, they are more than enough for their price.

Most people are pretty surprised by how good Sonic’s burgers are. Even if you’re a burger connoisseur or just a big fan of burgers, you will enjoy Sonic’s options.

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